Cutlery: variations on a theme


by Domus _ Andrea Nulli

domus-695-posate
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Comparison between Roman, medieval and renaissance cutlery. Image taken from domus archive, domus n.695, June 1988

Since World War II the most brilliant cutlery designs have always been “variations on a theme” without any major typological revolutions. But in what terms is cutlery “restricted”?

Holding food in a plate and piercing it requires an implement with prongs: the fork. Two prongs are sufficient for this; in Italy, however, the traditional kinds of food also include pasta for which a minimum of three prongs is needed so that it can be twirled around the fork. The three-pronged fork does not sell well in Italy because people still prefer the traditional fork with four prongs. The latter are a very important element over which the best producers take great care. They give them a conical shape with an oval section, since a square shape would in fact leave sharp edges. In addition the length of each prong must be about 40 or 50mm. […]
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