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Cooking Fork

1831
Origin: America
Overall: 2 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 1 1/4in. (5.7 x 47 x 3.2cm)
Wrought Iron
Gift of Mr. Foster McCarl, Jr.
Acc. No. 1979-481
Wrought iron fork with a three-stage, shaped handle. Top portion is of flat, broad section and terminates in a disk, pierced for suspension with a heart-shaped hole and punched with the date "1831." Narrower center portion has a swollen profile, a medial ridge and a flaring disk at its bottom. The final section of the handle is of round section and supports a pair of similarly formed tines.
Label:Amongst the most ancient pieces of standard kitchen equipment still in use is the cooking fork, also known as a "flesh" or "toasting" fork. These scaled up forks were variously used to roast and toast foodstuffs in front of the fire, and for picking up sizable pieces of meat. Nowadays, the descendants of these handy utensils are used as carving and servings forks. Early American smiths would have made many of these during the span of their careers. Although this example exhibits some attractive and well considered shaping, along with it's date of manufacture, it is on the more plainside of what was being made at the time.
Provenance:Mr. & Mrs. Foster McCarl, Jr., Beaver Falls, PA
Mark(s):Date of manufacture "1831" punched into top of handle terminal above suspension hole.