Grilling Fork


After World War II, many newly affluent Americans had the means and desire to travel. They flocked to the tropics, visiting Pacific islands, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia, as well as warm places closer to home, including Mexico, California, Hawaii, and Florida. People developed a taste for casual living and the distinctive local foods and drink. Returning home, they re-created these experiences in their new suburban backyards, with patios, tropical drinks, and the grill, where they cooked meals craved by a postwar meat-mad America.

By the late 1950s, American manufacturers and retailers were promoting the new “necessities” for the affluence represented in the outdoor life. The tools, clothes, furniture, and serving ware to go along with grilled meals on the patio grew into a major industry.

This Mr. Cheftender “Ranger” four-piece set, c. 1970—a carving knife, spatula, fork, and grill scraper—represents the basic tools provided for barbecuers. As the market expanded, enthusiastic grill masters could enhance their tool kit with tongs, skewers, basting brushes, corn or potato holders, salt and pepper shakers on long handles, “doneness” indicators for meat, grill rests or holders, grill lighters, carrying cases, and other gadgets.

Made out of base metals with inexpensive wood handles (and lops and hooks for hanging on the grill side), these barbecue tools represent the middle range, neither the cheap ones that rust or break easily nor the high end designer tools that eventually became available along with expensive grills, complete outdoor kitchens, and designer patio furniture.

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Food Culture


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Food, FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2012.0138.03Accession Number: 2012.0138Catalog Number: 2012.0138.03

Object Name: forkgrilling forkbar b que grill setbbq grill set

Physical Description: metal (overall material)wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 18 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in x 2 in; 46.99 cm x 6.35 cm x 5.08 cm


Record Id: nmah_1424255

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