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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This fruit knife was probably made around 1890, and may have been a wedding present to the owner, Harriet Field Bartlett, of Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was made by the firm of Lamson & Goodnow of Shelburne Falls. The handle is made of mother-of-pearl, which most often came from the shells of pearl-producing oysters. A decorative silver cuff joins the pearl handle to the metal blade; this was needed to prevent the hard but brittle pearl from cracking or separating from the handle. Fruit knives were one of the many highly specialized eating implements developed during the Victorian age. By the 1870s or 1880s, as many as thirteen different pieces of cutlery might be found at each highly formal table setting.
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