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Story Behind Inventors and Inventions Fork

About the origins, history and story behind the scenes of the inventor and invention of the fork.

Extraordinary Stories behind Ordinary Objects That Had to Be Invented by Someone

Invention: Fork

Inventor: Unknown

Year: Unknown

How Invented: The first report of the fork as an eating utensil dates back to the 11th century, when the Venetian daughter of Byzantine Emperor Constantine Ducas used a small gold one. While forks were widely used by the upper class in Italy during the late Middle Ages, they were not known in England until 1608, when the English writer Thomas Coryate returned from a walking tour and showed his countrymen the Italian eating implement. The English were slow to adopt the idea; as Jonathan Swift put it in 1738, "Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives." The English considered eating with forks effeminate and regarded them as jewelry. Used only on special occasions, an elaborate knife-and-fork set was considered an ideal gift for a bride. The first English monarch to use a fork was James I (1566-1625), son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Forks are not recorded among the utensils brought to America in 1620 by the first Colonists. Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts introduced the fork in 1630, but it did not come into general use until the 18th century.

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