The list of utensils and their descriptions is meant to be a guide, not a hard and
Next to each type of utensil is a size or size range in inches. These sizes represent
the average size found in that type of piece of flatware. The majority of patterns
made will fall into the sizes listed.
However, pieces range in size from manufacturer to manufacturer and from
pattern to pattern. Some manufacturers made both a long and a short version
of a piece, such as the pickle fork and olive spoon, to best be suited to how
these foods were served at the table, such as from a pickle castor or from a
relish tray. Some even made three different sizes in a particular piece, again,
to accommodate the needs of each individual hostess.
Keep in mind that if you have a piece which falls outside of the sizes listed that
this does not mean your piece is something different simply because it doesn't
"fit". For example, if you're fortunate enough to own a pair of fried chicken
tongs, you'll probably note they're a large affair, ranging in size from nine to
eleven inches. However, if your fried chicken tongs were made by Tiffany &
Co., most likely they'll be a mere six inches long - yet they're still fried chicken
tongs regardless of length. The "business ends" of pieces can also vary greatly
from maker to maker. Stieff's bacon fork looks nothing like a bacon fork in any
other pattern, yet it's still a bacon fork because Stieff made it as a bacon fork and
sold it as a bacon fork.
Some silver manufacturers also had a habit of remarketing their tableware as
sales declined or as a particular type of food's popularity came and went. What
may have been offered one year as a croquette server may have been sold the
next year as a poached egg server. Additionally, some different pieces are very
similar to each other, such as sardine tongs and small sandwich tongs.
The best way to definitively determine what type of piece you own is to refer to
old manufacturers' catalogs.