Miniature spoons have been quite popular with spoon collectors throughout history. One of the favorite acquisitions amongst spoon collectors are genuine silver salt spoons and if these are unobtainable then reproductions are the next best option.
A few hundred years ago salt used to be served like sugar in an open bowl. These salt bowls were quite small and meant for only one person to use. As a result there were several on the table during a Victorian dinner party. These salt bowls were called salt cellars and they required tiny silver salt spoons to extract the salt. These spoons were usually no more than 3 inches long with a bowl that measured around ½ an inch to ¾ inch across. Each sterling silver salt spoon was ornately decorated.
As time went by the salt cellar became obsolete and the salt spoons became antiques as well as collectors’ items. Today modern reproductions are being made and they have become quite popular amongst sterling silver salt spoon collectors.
The food pusher is a child’s utensil. Usually the food pusher would be accompanied by a small child size spoon. It was the tradition to give a sterling silver spoon and matching sterling silver food pusher to parents for their new baby. The food pusher was used when the child was a baby to push food onto the spoon during feeding time. As the child grew they would use the food pusher themselves in preparation for learning to use a fork.
The food pusher has a flat handle so it is easier for small hands to grasp. In addition its shape prevents it from lying flat on a dish making the food pusher that much easier to pick up.
The sterling silver food pusher was made popular during the late 19th century. Affluent families liked to throw elaborate dinner parties. An ornate table was set to impress the guests. This table setting included numerous pieces of silverware for the different courses. Even children had their own silverware set including spoons with long handles called pap spoons for feeding babies. There were also miniature spoons and forks for little hands as well as food pushers to push food onto a fork or spoon.
When tea first became popular in the early and mid 18th century, the loose tealeaves were kept in ornate boxes called tea caddies. To extract the tea leaves from these boxes the tea caddy spoon was developed. The handles were short to fit inside these small tea chests quite easily. As tea became more popular and easier to find the sterling silver tea caddy spoon was mass-produced and became less of a work of art compared to its predecessors. The earlier tea caddy spoons were usually hand carved and molded into romantic or earthy shapes.
Tea Caddy Designs
The most popular design for the sterling silver tea caddy spoon was the shell. It was thought the shell became popular because genuine seashells were actually left in side tea chests that were sent from China. Other earthy designs also became popular such as the leaf and flower. The sterling silver acorn nut spoon was another popular choice for a tea caddy spoon with the base of the spoon looking exactly like an acorn.
From silver salt spoons to tea caddy spoons the 18th and 19th century were popular for the crafting of miniature utensils. Most of these tiny utensils were hand molded and crafted and took on many forms. This was especially true of silver salt spoons that were known for their kaleidoscope of the designs.