Growing up 1/2 poor, 1/2 hippie I spent a lot of time in thrift stores and antique stores. Then I married a similar. We have shelves of vintage pottery and stuff and things. In all that time, I never knew there was a Sardine Fork.
wiseGEEK says this:
Leave it to the Victorians to create a special utensil for the purpose of serving sardines and other small, flat fish during a formal dinner. A sardine fork may be a rarity these days, but it was once part of a complete place setting for formal dining. Antique sardine forks are considered very collectible, and no self-respecting Victorian of means would have been caught without one.The right tool for the job. For instance when I'm enjoying fancy beer I have a couple of special glasses. Some Guinness glasses, a couple of nice tall Spaten glasses, and my Mama's Fish House Tiki Head glass for Belgiums, and the sort ($2 @ a Goodwill). Seen here with a Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing Co.
A sardine fork is designed differently from other serving forks. The tines are noticeably shorter than traditional meat or salad forks, for one thing. There may also be 5 or 6 tines on a sardine fork, with the outer tines flared outward to suggest a trident or other royal scepter. Other fish forks may be used to serve a fish dish, but a sardine fork is generally present only when long, flat fish such as sardines are on the menu.