Metalwork Gallery Animations: Pea Knife

Pea knife, around 1930 by Allenís of Portland Works

Click here to view an animation of how the pea knife was made: Pea knife

This pea knife is identical in its basic form to a table knife. However, it has a narrow slot running down the length of the parallel blade. The knife was designed to assist a diner to eat peas. The peas were balanced along the central slot, enabling them to be raised to mouth without rolling off the blade. It is possible that this knife was designed to be used by children.

The blade of this knife is made from stainless steel. The blade, bolster and tang (the rod of metal that runs from the blade through the handle) are stamped out from a flat piece of stainless steel. The handle is made from a type of plastic called Ivorine. This material proved to be very popular during the late 1800s and early 1900s, as it offered consumers handles with the appearance of ivory at a much cheaper price. The use of cheap materials like Ivorine, in combination with mass produced stainless steel blades, meant that a wide cross section of consumers across the globe were able to afford Sheffield knives and flatware.

The knife was made around 1930 by Allenís of Portland Works, Arundel Street in Sheffield city centre. The firm Allen & Darwin was first established by C J Allen and Sidney Darwin in 1887. They made silver and electroplated cutlery and flatware. Darwin retired in 1927 and the firm was renamed Allenís. The business closed down in the late 1950s.

To view other object animations click on the links below:

Cigarette box

Ear trumpet

Moustache table spoon

Turtle soup tureen

To find out more about objects in the Metalwork Gallery, go to the Metalwork Objects in Focus, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield learning journey. To find out more about the Metalwork Gallery, go the the Metalwork in Sheffield learning journey.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery | 
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