To these could be added soup spoons (invented in the 1880s), fish slices, butter knives, fish knives and forks
(rarely found before the 1860s, although they are known to date back to at least the 1820s) and salt and egg spoons.
There were few innovations in English table silver design in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. It was an age fascinated by the luxuries of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and much tableware was designed in direct imitation of earlier styles.
WHERE THE BEST SILVERWARE IS MADE
Immediately before World War 1 most table silver in England was made in specialized workshops in London, Birmingham and Sheffield.
The only exception was the manufacturing silversmiths Josiah Williams & Company of Bristol, which was put out of business by German bombing in 1940.
TABLE SILVERWARE COLLECTOR'S NOTES
Collectors of Edwardian table silver are in the fortunate position of having a mass of material from which to choose, for manufacturers produced an astonishing range for sale both at home and abroad.
The export market was huge, partly because of the extent of the Empire and partly because English-made table silver ware generally regarded as the finest in the world.
Complete canteens, especially in their original boxes, are probably the best items to look out for in a trade where parts of services are all too easy to find.
Collecting individual pieces here and there to form your own canteen can, of course, offer its own rewards, but a word of warning is necessary for the inexperienced, particularly where a popular pattern such as King's is concerned.
Where a number of different manufacturers produced the same pattern over many years, slight variations were inevitable, so take care to match the design exactly - hallmarks can help.
LUXURY PIECES OF TABLE SILVERWARE
In general, none of the standard articles of an Edwardian canteen - the table knives, spoons and forks, the dessert spoons and forks and teaspoons - should be difficult to acquire.
Other items, such as salt spoons, soup spoons, fish knives and forks, sugar sifters and tongs, as well as large serving spoons, soup ladles and fish servers, are also readily available.
Less easy to find are the luxury pieces used for dessert courses. These richly designed items, often made of gilt, include ice-cream spoons and servers with their characteristic shovel-shaped bowls, which first appear to have been used in the 1880s.
Cheaper silverware is often in fact electroplated nickel silver (EPNS), a nickel alloy coated with a thin layer of silver by means of an electrical process invented in the 1830s. You should always know whether you are buying this or solid silver; check the hallmarks electroplated pieces will usually be marked with the letters 'EPNS'.
Silver is a traditional wedding or Christmas gift, but complete canteens were as expensive in Edwardian times as they are today. A good alternative present was a boxed set of two or three serving implements, six butter knives, or six coffee spoons. Boxes with a fish slice and fork were made in their thousands.