Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 05-18-2006, 11:01 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1
Why is silverware in restaurants sometimes magnetic?

At a local restaurant the other day, we noticed that some of the silverware we were given was magnetic. The strength seemed to vary from piece to piece, with some being strong enough to pick up other pieces and some not being attractive at all.

Is the magnetism by design, or does it arise through some natural process? The magnetism seemed to be haphazard enough that it couldn't have been that way on purpose, but I can't think of how it would just happen on its own.

Thanks,
Uzd4ce
#2
Old 05-18-2006, 11:22 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 26,897
You realize that this isn't generally "silverware" as opposed to other metals don't you? The vast majority of restaurants do not use utensils made of silver. The magnetic quality certainly isn't by design because most restaurants do not expect customers to bring refrigerator magnets to adorn their forks. It is because the utensils are made out of cheaper material and may have a higher iron content other other metals.
#3
Old 05-18-2006, 11:40 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,327
The magnetism probably derives from the natural process of dropping the silverware in a magnetic field. Here's a description of how to make a magnet by tapping a railroad spike with a hammer. The magnetic field use in the cite is the Earth's own, but the electrical devices found in modern kitchens could also supply a field to magnetize your silverware.
#4
Old 05-19-2006, 12:12 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: London
Posts: 1,946
When British Airways used to have it's own catering centre next to Heathrow Airport, they had a machine which separated cutlery from the mixture of food waste and disposable plastic trays using a big electromagnet on a conveyor belt. Presumably this would have magnetised it. I can't imagine many restaurants needing such machines though.
#5
Old 05-19-2006, 01:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Ass end of Alberta
Posts: 17,897
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
The magnetic quality certainly isn't by design because most restaurants do not expect customers to bring refrigerator magnets to adorn their forks. It is because the utensils are made out of cheaper material and may have a higher iron content other other metals.
The OP clearly means that the utensils have, to varying degrees, the properties of a magnet. ie; you can lift a paperclip off the table with your soup spoon.

It is very strange. Maybe the restaurant goes in for quackery and uses one of those crackpot "Dishwasher Magnetizer Balls" that are supposed to magically make the water cleaner and save you money on detergent just by being in the machine -- if those things even have any magnetic properties and their dishwasher has a rotating tray.

Otherwise... WTF? How does cutlery get magnetized in the normal course of operations?
#6
Old 05-19-2006, 01:12 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Ass end of Alberta
Posts: 17,897
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
...but the electrical devices found in modern kitchens could also supply a field to magnetize your silverware.
Of course.

Maybe an inductive heating element in a dishwasher with a carousel tray?
#7
Old 05-19-2006, 05:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,340
I've certainly noticed this too - some pieces are strongly magnetised enough that the knives will actually spin round and stick to one another if you place them side-by-side on the table. Never really thought about how it happens, but I suppose the dishwasher could be the answer...
#8
Old 05-19-2006, 05:39 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Bagaces, Costa Rica
Posts: 2,147
At both of the restaurants I've worked, there is a magnet part on the trash can that is used to prevent utensils from going in to the trash. It works really well. When you are scraping plates you often go fast and sometimes you miss a fork or a knife under a pile of napkins or are moving so fast, the utensils slide out of your hand.

It's hard for me to explain what it looks like, but basically, instead of the whole top being open, there is a covering which has a slanted part which leads to the actual opening. The slanted part is so strongly magnetized, when you drop a piece of cutlery straight down towards the hole, it flies over and attached to the magnet.
#9
Old 05-19-2006, 01:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 803
Kimera has it.

At the restaurants I've worked at, the magnet thing was a big, thick rubber tube (outside diameter about 8", inside about 6", about 4" high) that goes over a hole in the sink area that leads into the trash can. This tube had two big and very strong magnets imbedded in either side. You would thump a plate sideways onto the rubber tube, thus depositing most of the half eaten food into the trash without having to touch it. The magnets were strong enough to grab any silverware you might have missed (normally the silverware went into a separate soak bin). They were also powerful enough that you needed to be strong to remove any silverware stuck to them, and the silverware would be magnetic after that.

This looks like the one Kimera was describing:
http://foodservicesupplies.sysco.com...em.asp?id=3721

I can't seem to find the ones I'm familiar with, I suspect they came from the sink maker.
#10
Old 05-19-2006, 01:42 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckgully
This looks like the one Kimera was describing:
http://foodservicesupplies.sysco.com...em.asp?id=3721
That's exactly what we have at the pizza place where my night job is.
#11
Old 05-19-2006, 02:25 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Not here. There.
Posts: 18,678
A piece of ferrous metal can be slightly magnetized merely by aligning it with the geomagnetic force field in your region and giving it a sharp rap with a hammer, which knocks the atoms into line so that the electromagnetism of each will work in concert with the others. (World Book Encyclopedia, 1960 edition).

Believe it or not, it really works. Once I was putting together a desk and had to put in a tiny Phillips screw. It was so small and the angle was so awkward--diagonal and upside down in a confined space, I couldn't get it in without having it fall out before I couild tighten it. So I magnetized the screwdriver as described above, and found that the screw would stick to end of the screwdriver by itself, until I could insert and tighten it.
#12
Old 05-19-2006, 02:41 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: ScienceEnlightenedKansas
Posts: 304
Interesting, I always thought restaurant flatware was made of 18/8 stainless steel (common 304 SS), which I believe is non-magnetic. Does anyone know what type of material these are made of? 400 series SS is magnetic, but I did not think it was common for flatware, because it is more prone to corrosion.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:03 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: coconut shell bra define roommate melting copper pennies afternoon meal legal ruled paper ace cinematography secondary personality dursban tc xenon price cream vs creme mystic retriever ffxi register fans lowes frank langella naked pedophilia vs helen crump nude i'm the mary drinking pure ethanol trigun plot sesterces to dollars change scam mexico massage parlor best coffee liqueur squiggly line symbol entenmann's cupcakes solar car fan applebees frozen food trimps wormhole lyndsey draper dnd 3.5 dieties soul message board wells fargo temporary check how long is dried pasta good for world history books for adults clowns coming out of a car how much chili powder for 1 pound of meat robert de niro american hustle can't loosen oil drain plug time warner cable virus why does pasteurized milk spoil jeep liberty stuck in 4wd does home depot rent wood chippers where to get coal spanish bull fighting music why do i smell like urine how to mess with your roommate seven seas green goddess dressing uncle albert song meaning chicago cell block tango translation boyd coddington chip foose fued i find that the harder i work, the more luck i seem to have. is michael cera gay does almond butter go bad ea password reset not sending email how powerful is magneto what is a ball peen hammer using old satellite dish for hdtv antenna lifespan of a wasp how long does revolution take to dry interior car light laws black female singer with deep voice famous dark skinned actors doan's little liver pills