Recently, the dangerous business of digging through bins of kitchenware at thrift stores finally paid off when I found this Merry Mushrooms carving knife. It is in rough shape but it is undeniably part of the collection. And for a very affordable $.99. But when I took a closer look, something clicked and I realized that the handle designs changed!
The carving set, a large two-tined fork and long bladed knife, appeared alongside the hanging kitchen tool set and tableware set in only one catalog in 1975. Though the picture quality from the catalog isn't the best, it's clear that the mushroom design runs vertically on the handles (below),
In the next catalog, the carving set disappears. However, the hanging kitchen tool set now has a different design, one it keeps in every catalog thereafter. This design is the much more familiar three mushroom one, slightly stretched vertically and placed in the center of the handles. The tableware handle design appears to remain the original long vertical line of mushrooms. I suppose the size and shape of spoon, knife, and fork handles made the original design the best choice.
The changing handle design is one mystery solved. But what about the rounded, and not pointed, tip on my knife? The extreme wear suggests that it was used frequently and for a long time so the previous owner may have replaced the blade. Or, as my husband suggested, assembly ran out of pointed blades and substituted rounded ones.
On July 4, 2019, the third season of Netflix's Stranger Things dropped. Stranger Things is a sci-fi horror series that is chocked full of 1980s pop culture nostalgia and references for of those of us of a certain age.
This season begins in June 1984 but most of the action takes place from June to October 1985. In the first episode, Suzi, Do You Copy?, Winona Ryder's character, Joyce Byers, comes home and finds that her two sons are not home. She microwaves a solitary meal of Stouffer's lasagna and peas before settling in to watch Cheers. Prominantly featured on the counter are two embossed ceramic Merry Mushrooms canisters. There was a spike in interest in our favorite fungi around that time. Coincidence?
Wonder if Stouffer's experienced the same surge in attention.
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