Gnawing on bones looks so undignified. And how would you eat jelly without the invention of cutlery?
Knives, Foons and Sporks. Spoons were probably the first items of cutlery ever to be used. Back in the Stone Age, people started using shells to scoop up their food instead of using their fingers. Then someone had the bright idea of attaching a handle. Eventually spoons began to be made as one object, usually from wood.
Knives were around before spoons, but they were used as weapons or tools rather than cutlery. At some point in the past, it was realized that cutting up food was a lot less messy than tearing at it with your hands or teeth. Knives were used to cut things, then to stab them and put them in the mouth.
Forks hold food more securely than knives. They seem to have developed last, though some have been found dating from ancient Lydia (modern-day Turkey), ancient Greece and Rome. Forks didn’t become popular until the Middle Ages and even then they were considered immoral and banned by the Church.
Gradually they developed several tines (the first forks had just two), which became curved rather than straight. In the 19th century, sporks, combining the bowl of a spoon with the tines of a fork, were invented, as well as foons (like a spork but with the bowl facing the opposite way). You may have seen sporks provided with fast food, if not in your cutlery drawer!
Spoonerisms galore: In 2002 the knirk was invented – a fork and a knife combined. The blade element might be dangerous, so the knirk has a safety device to stop users stabbing themselves. It’s not proved popular.