|What is a
If you are new to antique spoon collecting, you may be wondering what is a "monkey spoon?" Or perhaps you have come across a
collectible spoon that has a curled, funnel-shaped end and wondered "what on earth could this be used for."
Antique Central is here to answer just those questions and MORE! This page is full of antique and collectible spoon terminology that will help in
identifying a variety of antique and collectible spoons, as well as make you, the spoon collector, more knowledgeable as to the
origin and original
uses of these spoons.
Apostle spoon - Some of the most eagerly sought after and highly collectible spoons bearing religious figures and symbols that
represent the saints and apostles, often presented as baptismal and christening gifts for
the last several centuries. Introduced in Europe around 1450
with continued popularity through the seventeenth century, and a revival in the nineteenth century.
baluster top - a circular design on the knop of the spoon similar to the shape of a stair baluster.
bonbon spoon - introduced at the turn of the twentieth century in response to increased interest among wealthy Englishmen and
Americans to entertaining in the home, with an emphasis on afternoon tea, these spoons were most likely used to serve candies,
bonbons, nuts, and mints.
caddy spoon - Spoons made specifically for measuring tea, generally with a large bowl and short handle; mostly from Birmingham and
London. Tea was shipped in "caddies" frequently made with locks because of the high price of tea. The first of these were of a shell
design hallmarked in 1777, of which up to sixty different variations of the shell motif can be found.
cherub-head - common in seventeenth century
knop - The decorative end of the handle of the spoon present in a variety of shapes from early spoons to present, especially popular
among collectible and sovenier spoons. Examples include an unlimited variety of animals, fruits, religious figures, states, crests,
maidens, gentlemen, coats of arms, crowns, buildings, faces, flowers, anchors, spears, and much more.
marrow spoon - developed around 1690; the handle of the spoon has a concave shape for use in extracting the marrow from bones.
medicine spoon - Used to administer medicine; there are a variety of designs and materials (silver, porcelain, pewter, brass, glass)
used to make these antique spoons.
monkey spoon - Of Dutch origin and a popular gift item among wealthy American Dutch of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it
was used in partaking of a small sampling of liquor. The Dutch refer to drinking alcohol as "zuiging de monkey," thus the term used for
the spoon. Most monkey spoons are elaborately decorated, have curved handles and a monkey on the knop, however, they are also
found with various other animals figures.
mote spoon - A slender pierced bowl spoon with a very long and exceptionally narrow stem, and barbed, tapered end; mostly English
and European from the late eighteenth century. Antique spoon collectors are unsure of the origin and use of this spoon. Possibly, the
sharp barbed end was used to spear fruit or olives. A majority of collectors believe the spoon was used to strain tea from the pot or
loose leaves from the surface of the tea, while the end was used to clear the spout.
mustache spoon - A spoon approximately the size of a soup spoon with a guard covering the bowl of the spoon, so that the
well-groomed gentleman's mustache was left undisturbed from unsightly liquid or food as it was eaten; popular from about 1868 to the
early twentieth century when the popularity of the mustache began to wane.
pap or caudle spoon - Similar to medicine spoons in their design, these were used to feed pap (porridge) or caudle to infants.
Rat Tail spoon - continuation of the stem on the back of the spoon bowl; popular during the Baroque period
salt spoon - As the name implies, these spoons were used to accompany individual salt cellars. Popular among the upper class
during the eighteenth century in a variety of designs, some of which the bowl is fashioned from old coins.
seal top - the knop of the spoon ends abruptly as if cut off, leaving the end flat, like the stamp used to make a wax seal.
Slip End - representative of styles of the fifteenth century to the mid- sixteenth century; usually pear shaped bowls with narrow
hexagon shaped stems without knops. Many Continental antique silver spoons were made with gemotrically shaped stems - round,
snuff spoon - Beginning in the sixteenth century, snuff taking, sniffing of a pulverized tobacco through the nose, became a fashionable
and widespread activity in England by the eighteenth century. Snuff spoons often
accompanied small, pocket-sized boxes or snuff boxes used to carry snuff, so not to dirty the fingertips. Snuff bottles often had a spoon attached to the bottle stopper.
Trifid End - A flat handled spoon which broadens, ending in three lobes or heavy cut notches at the stem end.
wedding spoon - Antique spoons presented as a gift to the bridal couple, representing images of love, unity, cherubs, cupid, hearts,
etc. perhaps with inscriptions of initials or date.
Witch of Wookey spoon - An antique spoon with a knop of a witch, named after a colorful stalagmite formation in a village near
Wookey, Somerset, England, said to be the wicked witch of Wookey who was turned to stone for her wicked ways."