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Kitchen knives generally either feature a curve near the tip, as in a chef's knife, or are straight for their entire length. The edge itself may be generally smooth (a "straight" or "clean" edge), or may be serrated or scalloped (have "teeth") in some way. Lastly, the point may differ in shape: most common is a sharp, triangular point (not pictured), as in a chef's knife or paring knife, though the French point (also called "Sheep's foot") is common in santokus, and a round point is sometimes found on long slicing knives. Various point shapes. Serrated blade knives have a wavy, scalloped or saw-like blade. Serrations help when cutting things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside (such as bread or tomatoes); the saw-like action breaks the surface more easily than anything except the very sharpest smooth blade. They are also particularly good on fibrous foods such as celery or cabbage. Serrated knives cut much better than plain-edge blade knives when dull, so they do not require frequent sharpening (some serrated blades are claimed never to need sharpening), and are sometimes used to make steak knives which do not need frequent sharpening. However, they are not readily sharpened properly by a user, requiring specialized equipment, and may never be resharpened during their useful life. Serrations are often used to improve the cutting ability of a less-expensive blade not capable of taking and keeping a sharp edge, usually having a thin, polished blade designed to minimise friction. A serrated knife is more practical for a user who is not prepared to sharpen it frequently; a well-maintained and sharpened smooth edge is keener. Some companies have names f

r their own serration patterns and apply them to an entire line of knives. Examples are Cutco's Double-D edge and Henckel's Eversharp Pro series. A steak knife is a sharp table knife, used for cutting steak. These often feature serrated blades and wooden handles, and are the only sharp knife commonly found at the modern table. Specialized steak knives emerged in America following World War II.[1] Prior to World War I, all table knives were sharp, but required frequent upkeep Ц sharpening and polishing. With the decline in domestic workers (household servants), this upkeep became less feasible. Stainless steel became widespread following WWI, which did not require polishing, but did require sharpening due to manufacturing limits. Following WWII, serrated stainless steel steak knives were introduced which required neither polishing nor frequent sharpening, and proved an instant hit. In the 1950s heat treatment of stainless steel was introduced, allowing knives to remain sufficiently sharp without needing serrations, but by this point serrated steak knives had become well-established and continued to be used.By way of further history, in medieval Europe, a portable sharp knife and hands were the only eating utensils, and portable sharp knives continue to be used to this day in rural Europe, as in the Laguiole knife in France. By contrast, in most of Asia and Africa (including East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa), knives have long only been used in the kitchen (meat either being cut into pieces or cooked so that it could be pulled apart with the hands), with only hands, spoons, or chopsticks used at the table Ц sharp knives are distinctively European.