Date Made/Found: 19th Century
Material and Medium: Horn , steel and Brass
Dimensions: Overall (knife): 21 × 21 × 247mm (13/16 × 13/16 × 9 3/4in.)
Overall (fork): 23 × 21 × 175mm (7/8 × 13/16 × 6 7/8in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 1976.801
A steel knife with a horn haft (handle) made in Sheffield in the 19th century by John Sayles.
The 19th century standard knife blade evolved during the late 18th century, from the later version of the 'scimitar' blade encorporating a dropped edge and rounded tip. This type of table knife with broad straight parallel sides became a standard pattern for the 19th early 20th century. This particular knife forms part of an eight piece cutlery set. Bone along with horn and wood was still favoured as a popular material for functional use.
This type of bolster (the thickening between the cutting blade and the tang) was forged into the cutting part of the blade. Instead of the tang tapering down to a point from a width that equalled that of the bolster, its form comprised a narrow cylinder. This gave a very neat appearance but reduced the knifes efficiency, as a weak tang would bend and split the haft. This may have been a ruse of the cutlers to gain more trade.