Recently we passed a major milestone of Western civilization — the birthday of the table knife was May 13, 1637. According to The Writers’ Almanac of that date (this year, of course), its father is considered to be Cardinal Richelieu of France. (http://writersalmanac.org/page/16/) The Cardinal ordered his kitchen staff to file off the sharp points on all the knives to improve his guests’ table manners. During that time was common to stab meat and eat it off the knife, and also to pick ones teeth with the utensil after the meal. This also had the side effect of making dinner far more dangerous than necessary. The wisdom of this change became obvious, and King Louis XIV banned all pointy knives at the table and on the streets of France in 1669.
More information on the table knife can be found on Wikipedia at —