The Fork

Who Invented

Who invented the Fork? Historians tend to agree that the Fork was invented in the 4th century and the first known use of the Fork was during the Ancient World period of inventions.

Who invented the Fork? The name of a specific person has never been credited with the invention of the Fork. The invention of the Fork is so old that the name of the inventor has been lost over time, although the first use of the Fork is believed to have originated in the Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire (330 AD-1453 AD).

Definition of the Fork: The Fork is generally defined as a piece of cutlery consisting of a handle with a shank terminating in two or more parallel and slightly curved prongs, which are usually made of metal. As a piece of cutlery the fork is used for serving, piercing, holding and eating food. Fork design items that are furcate, or like a fork in shape,  are used for taking up, or pitching anything. Examples are the tuning forks, toasting forks, hayfork and the pitchfork.


Who invented the Fork?


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Fact File about the Invention of the Fork: *** Date of Invention: 4th century *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Nationality of Inventor: Roman *** Historical Period: Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire *** Category: Household Items *** Country of Origin: Byzantium *** Facts about the invention of Forks ***

Fact 1: Who invented the Fork? The Fork was invented in the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) during the Ancient World era of inventions.

Fact 2: Who invented the Fork? Byzantine Empire: Where was Byzantine Empire located? The Byzantine Empire is the ancient name for the land that covered the modern day countries of Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.

Fact 3: Who invented the Fork? Byzantium: The ancient city of Byzantium lay on the European side of the Strait of Bosphorus the boundary between Europe and Asia and one of the planet's most strategic waterways. Byzantium was strategically located on the trade routes between Europe and Asia and between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Fact 4: Who invented the Fork? Constantinople: When and why was the Byzantine Empire established? The roman Empire was deemed to be too vast for one emperor to rule so it was split into two parts, the West and the East. The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (272 AD - 337 AD) moved the Eastern seat of the Roman Empire to the ancient city of Byzantium in 324 AD and renamed the city "New Rome" but it was later changed to Constantinople meaning the "city of Constantine".

Fact 5: Who invented the Fork? The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD and the Byzantine Empire became the continuation of the Roman Empire in the Greek-speaking, eastern part of the Mediterranean and existed for nearly 1,125 years. The founding of Constantinople marked the dawn a new era and a magnificent center of music, arts and drama.

Fact 6: Who invented the Fork? The magnificent cuisine of the Imperial Palace of the Byzantine Empire consisted of spice laden delicacies and exotic recipes augmented by cultural influences from Italy and the East. The wealth of the Empire was concentrated in the Imperial City where guests and wealthy trade partners were invited to sumptuous, extravagant banquets and feasts on almost a daily basis.

Fact 7: Who invented the Fork? In nothing else did the extravagance of the Byzantine Empire reach such excess as in the luxury of the table. Guests reclined on couches mounted in silver. Utensils were made of both gold and silver surrounded by ornaments of precious gems and pearls and the Byzantines often wore clothes made of luxurious silk. This unashamed display of wealth was an indicator of the power of the Empire.

Fact 8: Who invented the Fork? The vast majority of lower class Byzantines and the rest of the world used knives, spoons and their hands at the table. The fork was a latecomer to cutlery. Saint Peter Damian (c. 1007 - 1072) a Benedictine monk criticized a Byzantine-born princess for her excessive delicacy saying "Such was the luxury of her habits that she deigned not to touch her food with her fingers, but would command her eunuchs to cut it up into small pieces, which she would impale on a certain golden instrument with two prongs and thus carry to her mouth".

Fact 9: Who invented the Fork? The invention of the Fork was therefore a status symbol, at first it was only ever used by the wealthy. As a status symbol the fork was fashioned into an extremely expensive, lavish piece of cutlery.

Fact 10: Who invented the Fork? The Fork and other types of ostentatious table cutlery were made of the most costly materials including gold, silver, bronze and semi-precious stones such as onyx and agate. Serving plates, dishes, trays, bowls and cups were also fashioned in these costly materials.

Fact 11: Who invented the Fork? St Peter Damian also provided the first recorded account of the introduction of the fork to European courts describing how Theophano the Byzantine wife of Emperor Otto II of newly created Holy Roman Empire, nonchalantly wielded her fork at their Imperial wedding banquet in 972, astonishing her Western guests.

Fact 12: Who invented the Fork? The table Fork gained in popularity in Italy as it was so well suited to eating pasta and became a commonplace piece of cutlery by the 1400's.

Fact 13: Who invented the Fork? The European Catholic countries of France, Portugal and Spain quickly adopted the fork however, the countries of Northern Europe who had undergone the reformation and established the Protestant religion disapproved of the fork as a unnecessary, extravagant item that had connotations of the devil and his pitchfork. 

Fact 14: Who invented the Fork? The Puritans who travelled to the New World did not use forks. In fact the fork did not become a common piece of cutlery in the United States of America until the 1800's and Samuel W. Francis sought to improve the design of the fork by inventing invented the Spork in 1874.

Fact 15: Who invented the Fork? The Fork became firmly established as a piece of table cutlery in the 19th century and with the invention of silver-plating techniques became far less costly.

Fact 16: Who invented the Fork? The Fork went on to increase in popularity and, as another form of status symbol and an indication of well and finesse, numerous different types of forks were developed for eating specific types of food. Place settings became more elaborate with different types of forks including dinner forks, dessert forks, salad forks, fish forks, oyster forks, lobster forks, pastry forks and pickle forks making table etiquette a nightmare (the rule is to use cutlery from the outside in!).

Fact 17: Who invented the Fork? The invention of the Fork dates back hundreds of years and are now used by most people on a daily basis. Fork etiquette varies from country to country. The British and other Europeans generally hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right whereas in the United States people use 'fork switching', cutting food with a knife in the right hand and then setting the knife down on the plate and transferring the fork from the left hand to the right hand.

Who would believe there was so much to learn about the humble fork!

Fast Info and Fact File: Date of Invention: 4th century *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Nationality of Inventor: Roman *** Historical Period: Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire *** Country of Origin: Byzantium *** Category: Household Items ***

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