The major items of cutlery are the knife, fork and spoon (though there is also a spork). Traditionally, good quality cutlery was made from silver (hence the US name), though steel was always used for more utilitarian knives, and pewter was used for some cheaper items, especially spoons. From the nineteenth century, Electroplated Nickel Steel (EPNS) was used as a cheaper substitute; nowadays, most cutlery, including quality designs, is made from stainless steel. Plastic cutlery is made for disposable use, and is frequently used in fast food or take-away outlets.
Cutlery gets its name from the term for a person skilled in making knives, a cutler. The Worshipful Company of Cutlers was one of the London livery companies, reflecting the importance of this trade in the Middle Ages.