Bolsters
Bolsters are small decorative inserts fitted in between the handle and the blade, "bolstering" the blade away
from the handle. Often seen in older style knives.  The Blunt, Old French, and New French blades pictured
above each have a bolster, the Modern style does not.
Just like everything else, the shape of a knife blade has gone in and out of fashion.  
Blunt and Old French Blade styles in old patterns were normally originally made with
silverplated blades.  Today, these blades are made with a brushed stainless steel which
mimics a silverplated blade's appearance.  Below is a breakdown of the four types of
knife blades.  
Blunt Blade
The oldest of the knife blade styles with straight
sides and evenly rounded tip.  Rarely seen in modern
flatware patterns.
Old French Blade
Straight on one sight with a slight upward curve
towards the tip.  Rarely seen in modern flatware
patterns.
New French Blade
Both sides of the blade slightly curve upward, with an
indentation to the blade where the cutting side meets
the handle.  The cutting edge has a slight S shape.
Modern Blade
Both sides of the blade slightly curve upward, and,
unlike the New French Blade, has no indentation
where the blade meets the handle.  The cutting side
is C shaped.