Sardine Fork Manufacturer: George W. Shiebler (American, 1876–1891)

ca. 1885

American Decorative Arts

On view, 1st floor, American Decorative Arts before 1900

In the late nineteenth century, as exotic foods became available through new canning technology and hothouse growing, manufacturers introduced specialized forms to serve them. This fork was designed specifically for serving sardines, and its function informed its decoration. The Shiebler firm was known for making high-quality silver that incorporated novel, cast ornament. This sardine fork sports a realistically rendered fish and seaweed, with an octopus spreading its arms above the tines. The tines are gilt to protect the silver against corrosion from the salt on the fish.


Parcel-gilt sterling silver


6 1/2 in. (16.51 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Ann and Gilbert H. Kinney, B.A. 1953, M.A. 1954

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Nicholas Harris, Jewellery and Objets D'Art, London, by 1989; sold to Ann R. Kinney, Washington, D.C., then New York, October 7, 1989; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2007

  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008," in "Recent Acquisitions," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008), 171
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

sardine forks


On the back of the tang incuse: "STERLING/[the letter "S" within a winged form]/2551."

Technical metadata and APIs


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