What size is my sterling silver flatware: Luncheon, Place or Dinner?

From the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s silver manufacturers produced their silver patterns with two different sizes of knives and forks for a main course: luncheon, which was the smaller size, and dinner the larger size.  Many people had and used both sizes; luncheon size was used primarily for breakfast and lunch, while the dinner size was used for more formal dinners. Luncheon and dinner sizes remain the standard for English, American and continental makers to this day.

 A size called: “grill” or “viande” was popular for a short time around WWII.  The knives and forks are characterized with elongated handles and short knife blades and fork tines. 

 During the late 1950s and early 1960s, many manufacturers introduced an entirely new size called the “place size”.  This size is commonly slightly larger than the luncheon size, but smaller than the dinner size.  Some renamed their smaller, luncheon size forks and changed only the style of the knife and began calling both the new place size.  To distinguish between the many pieces, the Gorham company often places a small <P> within a diamond on the back of the place forks as well as on the stainless steel blade of the place knife above the Gorham name. 

Place Fork and Place Knife pictured on the left.  Luncheon Fork and Luncheon Knife French Blade on the right.
Place Fork and Place Knife pictured on the left. Luncheon Fork and Luncheon Knife French Blade on the right.

 The many choices have confused consumers for the past fifty years.  You do not need to be confused!  You may determine the size of your set by measuring the knife and largest fork in your place setting.   Place the fork face down on a ruler for the most accurate measurement.  A luncheon fork measures between 6 7/8″ and 7 1/4″ whereas a dinner fork can measure between 7 1/2″ and 8″.  The place size fork measures between 7 1/4″ and 7 3/8″.  A luncheon knife measures 8 3/4″ to 9″ and a dinner knife between  9 5/8″ and  10″.  The place knife measures 9 1/8″ to 9 1/4″ in length.  If you have any questions as to which size you have in your set, you may visit our website www.beverlybremer.com to find your pattern where each piece is listed with a measurement or you may call one of our experts at 800.270.4009. 

 

From top to bottom as follows: Luncheon Fork, Place Fork and Dinner Fork in Strasbourg by Gorham
From top to bottom as follows: Luncheon Fork, Place Fork and Dinner Fork in Strasbourg by Gorham

 

 

From top to bottom as follows: Luncheon Knife Tapered Blade, Place Knife and Dinner Knife Tapered Blade in Strasbourg by Gorham
From top to bottom as follows: Luncheon Knife Tapered Blade, Place Knife and Dinner Knife Tapered Blade in Strasbourg by Gorham

 Many people who have a luncheon size set add dinner knives and forks to their set to offer flexibility in entertaining.  Likewise, people purchase extra luncheon forks for use for buffet or for dessert service paired with a dessert spoon and set at the top of a dinner plate. 

Luncheon, place, dinner, or even viande your silver should be used and enjoyed every time you set your table!  The value of your set can increase  10 times every 50 years- even with everyday use!