Stainless for knife blades was developed in 1924 by Dr. William Herbert Hatfield in England. It was called 18/8 stainless steel (18% chromium, 8% nickel), an alloy which is still used today. As for when blades styles came into fashion, I haven't been able to find a conclusive answer to this question. The timeline would be blunt (parallel edges with a bolster), blunt plated, French (contoured with a bolster), then modern (a smooth transition from the blade to the handle, without a bolster).
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
I have something of a collection of sterling and silver plate in various patterns that has been passed down through my family, and to which I have added from time to time. I am curious to learn the age of some of the sets and pieces. The knife blades are in a variety of styles, some blunt, some French, a few modern, and some are silver plate and some stainless steel. Could you tell me when the different knife blade styles were used, and when stainless steel first came to be used for knife blades? Was this standard, or different for particular silver companies?