Knife Rests of Yesterday & Today

While today, the knife rest has been rendered practically obsolete, their abundant use throughout the 18th-20th centuries attests to their essentiality for middle and upper-class society. At its most basic level, a knife rest is a small platform made to rest a used knife upon at each place setting and at the head of the table for the carving utensils. Originally fairly simple in design, the knife rest became a hallmark of the Victorian dinner table, showcasing the host’s decorum, taste, and occasionally, humor.

This display features a selection of rests and chopstick holders from the 600-piece collection of Beverly L. Ales, who has been collecting for over 40 years. Viewers can expect a charming sample of knife rests created from a wide array of materials including wood, ceramic, bone, ivory, metal, plastic, Bakelite, and glass.