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Detail 1

Detail 2

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This bone-handled knife was made by the firm of Lamson & Goodnow of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. The design of its handle suggests that it was made about 1850: the bone is held on to the handle by a rivet and metal clasps. For wood, a rivet would normally have been enough, but because bone is hard but brittle it was prone to cracking; the metal clasps, although decorative, were quite useful to prevent this. Lamson & Goodnow began manufacturing cutlery in 1843. They are still located in Shelburne Falls.

This fork's bone handle closely resembles ones made and sold by the firm of Joseph Rogers of Sheffield, England, around 1850. Although Lamson & Goodnow had been making cutlery in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts since 1843, they often imported handles and even steel from foreign suppliers. It is entirely possible that this piece was made from English steel with an imported English handle. But perhaps they had copied the English pattern: by the mid-1850s, Lamson & Goodnow had imported enough skilled German and English workers to begin making their own handles. The American steel industry did not manufacture enough high-quality steel for cutlery makers until after the huge expansion in facilities that happened during the Civil War.


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Table Knife

creator   Lamson and Goodnow Manufacturing Company
location   Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
length   9.0"
process/materials   steel, bone
accession #   #1987.20.04

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See Also...

Table Knife

"History of Massachusetts Industries Their Inception, Growth and Success" Vol. I

Lamson, Goodnow and Company, Birds-Eye View

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