Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

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Traintime
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Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:38 pm

Many manufacturer adverts. show their patterns with the dessert and dinner forks having tines cut flat accross. This Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. sample of Sterling "Stratford" pattern (1901/D34361) shows the case where the tines are cut along an arc with the two outer tines slightly curved upward so the inner ones extend further out. This practice, presumably done at the factory source, is not revealed by the ad. images. What do we know of the reasons for this?

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silvermakersmarks
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby silvermakersmarks » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:28 pm

Probably just wear from overenthusiastic usage?

Phil

Traintime
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:07 pm

While I do encounter obviously bent tines, I also see these ones that appear factory made and very symmetrically balanced. The curvature is smooth and does not appear ground down after the fact. I have a feeling this actually has to do with the rising availability of green garden peas year-round (long before Clarence Birdseye's cold-process). Europeans were quite adept at pushing and balancing peas up on the back bow of a fork (not spearing them as recommended today). But Americans began accepting the practice of using the fork like a spoon...not good where round peas came into play. With the outer tines curved up, the peas could be scooped and held in place, thus avoiding peas in your lap and the consequent stains on the clothing. But whether this was a specialty implement (a "pea fork") for proper table settings is something I have not seen referenced.

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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby dragonflywink » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:30 pm

Sorry, just looks like worn tines to me too - spoons more often show wear on one side from right-handed use, but forks are wielded with both hands, depending upon what one is eating...

~Cheryl

Traintime
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:38 pm

About the practice...As a child, I watched two generations yield the knife blade like a samurai. Never giving up their ancient Victorian habits, the old-style rounded blade could be held at an angle so the blunt end acted like a paddle shoveling an entire line of peas straight up the fork...not a single one ever falling off. These acrobatics of table manners were astonishing to view. I could never quite master the art of this balancing act. Likewise, most Americans always seemed to have quickly lost such skills that their ancestors wielded like swords in battle. Perhaps the shape of knife blades also changed as a result of the new methods for dining mass consumption style!

Traintime
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:56 pm

About the fork..the cuts are near perfect and the fork appears little used. Additionally, it was found along with twelve spoons in three patterns of that era (Gorham Luxembourg, Gorham Cambridge, and Simpson/Hall/Miller Warwick) which were also near pristine--the first two groups tied together by their monogram. Of course it's always possible that an intermediary (jeweler, retailer, supplier) could have custom finished forks tines by order in a shop, but I have a feeling this was a factory practice before final polishing.

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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby JLDoggett » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:04 pm

In die-stamped flatware forks the tines should all be level. in the die the tines are just a tapered rectangle of metal that is later punched to separate the tines. I would make little sense to have someone bend the outer tines as an additional step. I have never seen this in any of the never-used services I have marketed.

Traintime
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:48 pm

As it turns out, a Patent filed by Durgin in 1866 was to alleviate the problem of flat forks by turning the outside tines up to create a bowl shape! See here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US54514A/en

Traintime
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby Traintime » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:04 pm

Charles Durgin New York Pat. 54,154A May 8, 1866. It was the inside tines pinched and bent down from the plane of the outer ones. This must be the only patent ever granted for bending a perfectly good object. Perhaps others realized they could by-pass the patent by simply bending the outer tines up a bit without the pinch. And peas were indeed one of the reasons for his patent.

legrandmogol
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby legrandmogol » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:38 am

I confess, having read this post from the beginning it looked like you were grasping at straws but you were right. I will always look at my forks a little more carefully. Excellent information!

AG2012
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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby AG2012 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:35 am

Hi,
Sound judgement cannot be based on one example (fork).
A set of six or twelve exactly the same tines is needed to confirm factory made pattern.
Regards

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Re: Altered Tines..Stupid Question of the Day.

Postby dragonflywink » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:12 pm

Sorry, just not seeing it - the patent shows and describes a distinct bend in the inner tines, yours still looks to me like a well worn fork with tines slightly out of alignment. Would also want to see similar forks in a set, or any catalog reference, as indication that the 'improvement' was actually put into use by any maker. Find it interesting that the surname appears to 'Dungin' on the drawing rather than the 'Durgin' shown in the text - there was an 1859 patent for an ice cream freezer by a Brooklyn inventor (#23271) that was witnessed by 'C.A. Dungin', the signature appearing similar, and later fork patents citing this one (#54514) show the name as 'Dungin'. If the name is correctly 'Durgin', what was the relationship of the New Yorker Charles A. to the Durgins involved in silver manufacture?

~Cheryl


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