18 steel forks for use in an asylum, London, England, 1775-1825

Made:
1775-1825 in London
maker:
W B Thompson

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

18 steel forks with wooden handles for the use of the insane, made by W.B. Thompson, London, English, 1775-1825

Based on a standard cutlery design, these forks have been adapted for use in an early private psychiatric institution. They are not associated with a specific asylum, but are stamped with the maker’s name, W. B. Thompson of London. The size of the collection indicates a significant asylum population. The market was big enough for cutlery makers to adapt their standard designs. The steel forks were created with special prongs joined close to the top. Users could pierce food, but not seriously damage themselves or others.

Details

Category:
Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A657720
Materials:
steel and wood
type:
fork - flatware
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • flatware