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Along with the Richards patent interlocking mess set the Worman and Ely patent was one of the big sellers to Civil War volunteers going into the field. In the early years of the war mess gear was supplied by the various states to their volunteers so there was a bit of hodge-podge of types. Inventors stepped forward as well with some new gadgets that seemed to promise convenience and ease of use. The Worman and Ely system used the usual three pieces of mess gear, a fork, knife and spoon, but put a slot in the handle of the spoon to enable the fork and knife to slide in and lock one another in place by friction. The handles of the fork and knife were also hollow to reduce weight. This is a good example with all three pieces and the spoon and knife showing the patent stamp: "Worman & Ely / Phil'a / Feb 4, 1862"
This set was actually used. There is a little rubbing on the lower line of the patent on both pieces, some slight corrosion, and the knife blade loosened somewhat and was secured by the simple addition of a small rivet.
I attach a view of the report of the Commissioner of Patents as well.
A nice piece of Civil War soldier's field gear.
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