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Silverware: History

From the Ancient Ages - Until Today

The “German Blade Museum” possesses the largest collection of historical silverware worldwide. In a broader context all of the eating utensils are counted from the ancient spoons made out of bone to the modern steak knife. Actually the German term for eating utensils is “Besteck” and is comprised of a set of matching spoon, fork and knife that has evolved from its original form in the 17th century to the form we are accustomed to today. In the centuries before that there was no silverware to be found for use at the dining table at home or at an inn for visitors. It was taken for granted that every person carried their own eating utensils “Besteck” (a container with knife, spoon, awl and pricker) with themselves when they traveled.

The German word “Besteck” is derived from the way the eating utensils were carried.
The utensil were stuck = “steck” in a small sheath. The ordinary people wore the sheath on their belt (sometimes with just a knife inside). Distinguished travelers would carry their eating utensils “Besteck” in a elaborate container made out of leather,wood or silver.

The large matching sets of silverware for six, twelve or more people that are in use today originated at first in the royal-houses in the 1700s. 100 years later the sets were in use in normal everyday households.