Question about Victorian knives

jlc102482November 9, 2012

I am trying to find knives that match (or come close to matching) an 1880s set of forks and spoons that I have. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any knife from that time period that isn't a butter knife (meant only for spreading something) or a fruit knife. I can't find anything on eBay, I can't find any Google images, I can't find any articles with illustrations or photos. What type of knife did the Victorians use with their meals to cut food? Does that knife have a certain name?

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I think it would be called a "dinner knife" a picture of the rest of your set and I am sure one or another of us will be able to point you to a place where you can find some to go with your set.

And what time period of "Victorian" are you speaking of? The period extends from 1837 to 1901.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I guess I'm most curious about the 1870s - 1890s, as that is the period my flatware belongs to, more or less. I have three different patterns but I'm not wedded to them. Anything similar (i.e. Aesthetic) would be great, the more the merrier. The patterns I have are:

International Saratoga/Angelo:

Rogers "Laurel":

and Rogers "Lorne":

Yikes, sorry that first photo is so big.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Hmmm....I did a search for the International pattern....and could find no knives. I have been collecting Whiting Louis VX, which dates from 1890....and for years had a devil of a time finding any knives.....and when I did they had silver plated blades which were very badly worn....and since EBay I have found some in good condition.
So I did a search for antique sterling knives....and there are some...not a huge amount...but I did find some.
My only conclusion is that during that era the blades were silver plated and wore quickly, and because they had no intrinsic value, as sterling does, they were tossed. Sterling handles were often replaced with stainless new blades....and I like that!
I think if I were you I would look for bone or pearl handled knives and use them.
Once I was at an auction of a collector who had service for 24 of pearl handled knives and spoons....and an assortment of sterling forks.
I bought 8 of the forks for $1 each....the knives went for a lot more. And one of those forks ended up costing me a couple of thousand!! LOL!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:22PM
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I was thinking the same thing about finding pearl or bone handled knives, Linda. Here's another question for you - do you think fish knives could be used as regular table knives, or are they too blunt? The reason I ask is because I am looking for flatware to actually use on special occasions, not just to display. There seem to be a lot of fish knives available, and many of them are ornate enough to not look out of place with my other flatware.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Would this help you for knife styles?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:35PM
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I think fish knives would I recall the blades are shorter and the handles longer...but I think they would work.

That set pogo posted is the one I have been collecting for my grand daughter I have 158 pieces and 4 piece place settings for 20 and 7 piece place setting for 11.
I have 30 knives ( should sell some) in 3 slightly different styles....and lots of serving pieces. That pattern is newer and the style of the times is decidedly more nouveau than Victorian/esthetic.
That guy has been trying to sell that set all over the web!! What he is asking amounts to $112 per piece.....about 3 times more than anyone will think of paying.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I've heard that pearl handles with plated blades were the norm prior to 1890 (maybe hollow handles hadn't been perfected yet??). Otherwise, the knives were one piece of the same metal, either plated or all silver, & usually flat - much like individual butter spreaders but larger. The few that I own from that period are probably fish knives (about 7-7.5" long) & would be worthless for actual cutting. But they make for a gorgeous table setting!!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:05PM
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