ISO 8442-2:1997—Cutlery And Table Holloware

Pumpkin carved on Halloween with a monster face with cutlery that adheres to ISO 8442-2:1997.

The original Jack-o’-lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish, and in England, they used large beets and lit them with embers to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants brought their customs to America, they discovered that pumpkins were much easier to carve. ISO 8442-2:1997—Materials And Articles In Contact With Foodstuffs — Cutlery And Table Holloware — Part 2: Requirements For Stainless Steel And Silver-Plated Cutlery details performance requirements for cutlery, ranging from carving sets, knives, forks, spoons, ladles, children’s cutlery, and other serving pieces.

History of Carving Pumpkins

The tradition of carving pumpkins comes from Halloween. Like many American holidays, Halloween was once a religious observance that became secular over time. It can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, celebrated on November 1st. On Samhain eve, October 31st, spirits of the dead were thought to mingle with the living. To ward off restless souls, people donned costumes and carved frightening, grotesque faces into root vegetables such as beets, potatoes, and turnips—usually plentiful after the recent harvest. Since metal lanterns were expensive, people would hollow out root vegetables and over time they started to carve faces and designs to allow light to shine through the holes without extinguishing the ember. Hence, the first Jack-o’-Lantern was not a pumpkin.

The origins of jack-o’-lanterns apply not only to vegetables but also people. In 17th-century Britain, it was common to call a man whose name you did not know “Jack.” A night watchman, for example, became known as “Jack-of-the-Lantern,” or jack-o’-lantern. There is also an 18th-century Irish folktale of Stingy Jack—a blacksmith who enjoyed mischief and booze. Dozens of versions abound, but the one recurring storyline is that Stingy Jack tricked the devil twice. When Jack died, he found himself barred from heaven and from hell. The devil, however, took pity on Jack, giving him an ember of coal to light his turnip lantern. This lantern was to be used as Stingy Jack wandered between both places for eternity.

What Is ISO 8442-2?

ISO 8442-2:1997 specifies material, performance requirements and test methods for table cutlery (knives, forks, spoons, carving sets, ladles, children’s cutlery, and other serving pieces). This standard is applicable to stainless steel cutlery and to silver-plated nickel silver, or silver-plated stainless steel, cutlery. Three minimum thicknesses of silver are specified for silver-plated cutlery, and the thickness of silver deposit is stipulated for each and every item.

ISO 8442-2:1997 does not cover cutlery made wholly of precious metals, aluminum, non-stainless steel or that made entirely of nickel silver, nor does it cover gold-plated or chromium-plated cutlery. It also does not include requirements for design, size, type of finish, blade flexibility, or similar characteristics which are matters of personal choice or which can be readily assessed by the purchaser at the point of sale.

Cutlery Construction Requirements

Construction requirements for cutlery as specified in ISO 8442-2:1997 include:

  • Alignment, uniformity and absence of defects
  • All surfaces should be free from cracks, pits, and other defects
  • (As far as is practicable) all cutlery should be straight and symmetrical except when the lack of straightness or symmetry is an intentional feature of the design
  • Identical items within a batch should, as far as is practicable, show no variation in dimension or form
  • All edges, including the edges of spoons, forks, ladles and the insiders of fork prongs, should be free from burrs and the roughness of blanked edges should have been removed by a suitable operation

ISO 8442-2:1997—Materials And Articles In Contact With Foodstuffs — Cutlery And Table Holloware — Part 2: Requirements For Stainless Steel And Silver-Plated Cutlery is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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