The Silver Spoons

The use of spoons for cooking and eating with has for centuries involved wooden spoons. Some even used spoons made of horn, bone or ceramic. Metal was reserved for horseshoes, wagon parts, keys and locks; not spoons. By the 1600s metal spoons started to be used more and the most important ones were made of silver. If someone was wealthy enough to afford silver spoons they even took them with them when eating away from home.

By the late 1600s and into the 1700s with money being made by people handling trade goods such as tobacco, cotton and sugar, these new middle-class people also owned silver spoons. Not just middle-class merchants but farmers doing well, or a craftsman or laborer would also want a silver spoon to show they were not of the lowest class.

Another big advantage for anyone to use their own silver spoons, they would tarnish if in contact with sulfur, arsenic or other poisons which could be harmful to people. Silver spoons also could kill some bacteria cells on contact, making them excellent to have for safer food to eat.

Your female ancestors before marriage may have wanted in their hope chest a set of silver spoons. Silver spoons were also given as wedding gifts as well as a baby size silver spoon when a new baby was born. Everyone has heard of the phrase ‘born with a silver spoon in your mouth’, now you know why it was important decades ago.

In the 19th and 20th centuries giving entire sets of silverware made of silver was very popular. Tableware by the late 20th and into the 21st century has been replaced by stainless steel.

You could have some of the family heirlooms that are silver spoons or entire sets. Make sure you do photograph them and have them labeled as to what family branch they came from.

Photo: Family heirloom from George Bixler (1814-1883) lineage.

Related Blogs:

Favorite Heirlooms

Is That a Family Heirloom?

Swastika in Your Family History

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