When Were Forks First Used for Eating?
The personal table fork most likely originated in the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. Its use spread to what is now the Middle East during the first millennium CE and then spread into southern Europe during the second millennium.
It did not become common in northern Europe until the 18th century and was not common in North America until the 19th century.
It is believed that forks were introduced in the 1100s in Venice by the wife of an Italian nobleman. Before that time, it was considered polite to pick up food with one’s hand.
But this lady felt she was too refined to eat this way. She had her food cut into little pieces and ate them with a golden fork. For some time after that, only the rich bothered to use forks.
Gradually, as modern table manners developed, more and more people began using forks. By the 18th century, the fork had become a common eating utensil on the tables of most homes.