After posting this story about the campaign-style fork and knife, I got an e-mail from woodworking researcher extraordinaire Jeff Burks. Burks, a trade carpenter, is a voracious collector of books, magazines and journals relating to woodworking. He also spends a lot of time researching patents related to tools and the trade.
Which brings us to this awesome link from Jeff to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
It’s a Roman folding multi-tool circa A.D. 300 with a fork, knife, spoon, pick and other stuff. It’s just the thing for the centurion on the move. This makes me think the Swiss should start calling its multi-tool a “Roman Army Knife.”
Also from the industrious Mr. Burks: This link to a patent granted in 1873 for a folding fork and knife that look almost exactly like the one shown in the book on campaign furniture. The patent claims the product would be useful for “travelers, excursion parties, soldiers and others requiring or desiring to carry eating implements with them.” Hey, that’s me!
Finally, I also got a nibble from a manufacturer who might be interested in making the metal parts and selling them as a kit. Stay tuned.
— Christopher Schwarz