Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Old bones ...

This photo was never intended to be a blip. I took it to add to a conversation on Facebook on the subject of bone-handled cutlery. What bone was used? There were several suggestions, though no-one seemed sure. I know that false bone was created some time after WW2 ... But I also discovered the following fascinating snippet:
Blade instruments were also subject to some of the strictest rules of the table. Ever cognizant of the blades’ more lethal use, King Louis XIV of France declared the carrying of pointed knives illegal in 1669. This law was preceded by Cardinal Richelieu, however, who in 1637, his sensibilities wounded more than anything else, made a rule that guests should not pick their teeth with their hunting knives at the dinner table, and that all knives used at table should be blunted. Thus, the dinner knife was born.
These particular knives belonged to my grandmother, though the one on the left may have come from an earlier generation. Something odd has happened to its handle, which is slightly sticky and discoloured - I cannot think it's merely because it's lived in my untidy cutlery drawer for so long. 

The great joy of these knives is that you can sharpen them. You can see that the one on the left has been sharpened so much that the blade is narrower than it was; I used to use another such knife for practically everything (before I could afford a decent cook's knife) and sharpened it so often that it looked more like a dagger and was dangerously thin.

I foolishly gave my mother's bone-handled that might not have been real bone cutlery to my son, who uses it regularly. I should have hung onto it a little longer ...

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