The evolutionary journey of cutlery since the pre-historic period up to modern times can be described by the saying “animals eat; only man dines.” Indeed, we are the only species to treat food and the making of food as an art form, and the kind of utensils we use and how we use them play a big part in that.
For humans, food and the way we consume it is a significant part of culture.
One of the greatest innovations in regards to this is the transition to the stainless steel cutlery that we know and love today. As this transition came about, so did the need to polish stainless steel cutlery. Today, a well-maintained set of cutlery is an integral part of fine dining and table manners.
Early on, fine flatware was mostly reserved for noble classes to enjoy. As we entered the Industrial Revolution, society began to see the rise of a middle class. Before restaurants stocked their own fine flatware, such sets were actually personal items that diners had to bring along with them to restaurants if they wanted a fine dining experience.
It was during this time that manufacturers almost entirely shifted from using silver and gold to steel as a material in cutlery. Steel proved to be stronger and cheaper. Furthermore, it was quite easy and not as costly to polish stainless steel cutlery.
With better production methods available and a bigger class of people to enjoy fine flatware, these pieces began to have more ornate decorations while becoming more affordable. As designs and patterns continued to evolve, so did the methods to polish stainless steel cutlery. Restaurants realized very early on that cleanliness is at the heart of good first impressions, and clean, shiny flatware was sure to impress the gentry.
Today, what was once a process requiring human labour can now be automated effectively. We will continue needing polishing solutions as long as we use flatware. Thanks to Campus Products, those solutions are now better than ever.