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Monday, July 27, 2009

About Forks, Part II

One of our earliest posts was called About Forks. Later, we added a post called Luncheon, Place & Dinner Size - What's the Difference?. Both posts dealt with the various sizes of forks one might find within a single pattern. This post adds additional information along the same line.

Sticking with our old friend, Chantilly by Gorham, for yet another example, we remind you that in the Chantilly pattern, there are two basic fork categories that are about 7.5 inches long - a "place" fork and a "dinner" fork (called "table" fork in early Gorham literature). The place fork is slightly narrower and lighter than the dinner fork. On the back of place forks in several patterns, Gorham imprints the letter, "P", inside a diamond shape.

The heavier dinner fork does not have any special marks regarding its size. Now, here's the rub, at least in the Chantilly pattern - Gorham has made at least two different dinner forks. Look at the picture below. The dinner fork on the bottom is the one we see most often. It has tines that are 2 inches long. The dinner fork on top has tines that are 2 3/8 inches long. Since both forks are 7.5 inches long overall, the top fork has a slightly shorter handle than the one on the bottom and the base area of the tines is also slightly shorter. The fork on top is about 1/16 inch wider than the one on the bottom.

So, if you are buying additional dinner forks, especially in the Chantilly pattern, make sure you understand how long the tines are. Most sellers, us included, will make sure that you know about it if the tines are 2 3/8 inches but we might not mention it if the tines are 2 inches. If it's not specified for some forks you're considering buying, ask the seller about it.

Here's another reminder - many sellers state in their ads that they are selling dinner forks when, in reality, they are selling luncheon forks, dessert forks or place forks. Always understand the overall length, width and tine length of forks you're considering. And, in the case of Gorham patterns, understand the distinction between place and dinner forks.

If you would like to see all our posts about forks at one time, look in the right column under "Labels" and click on "Forks".

Click on any picture to see a larger version. By clicking on "Comments/Questions" below, you can see posted comments and add your own questions and comments. Or, you can send us an email by clicking on "Email Silver Jim" in the right column.


John said...

If cold meat forks (a seemingly popular item in most patterns) are used for serving cold cuts and cold meat, what do you use to serve HOT meat, e.g. roast, tenderloin, turkey, etc? And what is an "English Server" anyway?

Silver Jim said...

Great question, John!

One answer is the two-tined fork in a carving set.

Another answer would be to use the cold meat fork.

I have no idea what an "English server" is. I suggest reading our posts related to made up pieces. Look at the terms under "Labels" in the right column and click on the "Made Up" term to see those posts at one time.

Maybe others will leave comments to enlighten us.


regina said...

Can anyone tell me how to discern a bird fork (and knife) from a fruit fork (and knife)? I have seen sets of what appear to be the same items, but are called different names. I always thought a fruit knife was small (6.0 inches or less), but these knives are quite large, resembling what I always thought were bird (game) knives.