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What was this "Slotted" Sterling Silver Spoon used for ?

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    Posted 9 months ago

    (15 items)

    This is a Antique Watson Co. (of Attleboro, Mass.) Sterling Silver....Pierced, round bowl spoon. It also has the mark of the A. Stowell Co. Jewelry Store on 24 Winter St. in Boston, Mass. (in business from 1865 to 1981).

    It weighs 31 Grams, is 5 7/8”Long & the bowl is 2” in diameter. I paid about $1 per gram for the spoon including the S&H and state sales tax.I was able to find the pattern on a Watson website. It is the John Alden pattern introduced in 1911. I guess the country got away from fancy patterns and went back to plain Colonial designs like their 1911 John Adams, 1912 Martha Washington and 1914 Mayflower patterns. (

    I've had Stainless, slotted, modern day spoons,....say to drain peas out of the water. I've also seen antique "Sugar Sifters" that have smaller sometimes fancy punched holes & stars to sift powdered sugar. This spoon has big geometrically pierced and curved cut out designs. It almost looks like it was cut out by hand.

    I can't figure out what the heck they would use this for ? I wonder if anyone knows what it was used for and/or what was called ?

    Pile of Junk in Bean Town

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 9 months ago
      A Sugar Sifter I think.
    2. IVAN49 IVAN49, 9 months ago
      Olive or compote spoon meant to pick up olives or fruit without liquid. Pierced holes are rather big for a sugar sifter, particularly for powdered sugar. Having in mind compote (cooked fruits) was served more often than olives - let`s call it pierced compote spoon.
    3. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 9 months ago
      IVAN 49, I always think of a piece of serving ware when I think of a "compote" ( a dish). I believe I have some Ruby "Eye Winker" patterned glass (Vintage LG Wright Glass ones) with pieces called Open Compotes and Covered Compotes. I never thot about "what" goes into it.

      Wiki def: compôte (French for mixture) is a dessert originating from medieval Europe, made of whole/pieces of fruit in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar/spices. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, other spices, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit or raisins. The compote is served either warm or cold.

      In modern French, the term refers to usually unsweetened fruit purée without fruit chunks, such as applesauce. Today, it is widespread and often served in lieu of vegetables in Northern European countries such as Germany, Holland, Belgium; in Scandinavia; and in France.

      I could see me scooping out applesauce with little "dripping" occurring (at least with brand names such as Mott's & Musselmans's).

      I'm sure a hot compote would be a little "runny" where you would want the excess liquid to strain.

      It sounds plausible and I thank you for your input.

      Pile of Junk
    4. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 9 months ago
      vetraio50, At first I thot "sugar sifter" at first until I looked at other "sugar sifters". I think today they add extra dry chemicals to boxes of Powdered Sugar to prevent clumping. Back in the old days the sugar probably turned into "cement". ;-)>

      Even today's salt has additives to "Make it Pour". I read part of an article from a doctor saying that we aren't getting as much salt as we think. I think that's why they are still making Salt Grinders/Mills. I'm not sure what makes Kosher Salt special.

      Thanks for your input.

      Pile of Junk
    5. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 9 months ago
      You know,...the "sifting" part of the bowl looks to be cut out by hand (if I had to guess). It doesn't look like it was "pressed in a mold".

      I watched a video from the Antique Cupboard (Phil Dries) when talking about when "Reed & Barton" went bankrupt. He showed pictures out of a book of workers making silverware. He said that some workers actually had to hand carve some of the design onto the pieces.

      Maybe, they had developed cutting presses that could cut out the basic design and then the craftsmen could do the fine trimming and finish work.

      Pile of Junk
    6. keramikos, 9 months ago
      Hi, PileOfJunk. Beautiful. :-)

      I went to Replacements dot com to look at that pattern, but didn't see that particular piece. They do show an olive spoon, but the bowl is a different shape (more elliptical):

      Here are all the Watson John Alden pierced pieces that Replacements dot com knows about (sorry about the long link):

      Unfortunately, they don't have pictures for all of them, but at least you get names that you can use for further research.
    7. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 8 months ago
      Hi keramikos,

      Sorry for the long delay in responding. Been under the weather. I think just a cold.

      My sister heard from someone on fb that my neighbor downstairs & her son have COVID. I'll have to carry disinfectant wipes just to check my mail.

      Very interesting that Replacements has this pattern (not much of it). You would think they would do like other companies do (only stocking the 30 most popular patterns) and everybody else keep searching eBay or etsy.

      I always wondered what would happen to silver in something like "olive brine" (salt & vinegar) ? Isn't there an old wives tale about putting a silver spoon in a dish of mayonnaise or mustard ?

      I heard an old-timer say they used to tie a silver spoon onto a long piece of string/rope and throw it down their well. I helped kill bad bacteria in the water.
    8. keramikos, 8 months ago
      PileOfJunk, No problem. Get well, and stay well. :-)

      Yes, unfortunately, just as the experts predicted, we're having another big wave of the pandemic in the northern hemisphere now that the weather is getting cooler.

      Replcements dot com has a huge number of patterns. Their information isn't entirely reliable, but I like using them for research, because unlike eBay listings, their pictures persist even when they don't have an item in stock.

      There are certain foods they don't recommend you use your good silver for serving:

      That's interesting about putting a silver spoon in a well. I hadn't heard that before. Silver does have anti-microbial properties.
    9. Gillian, 8 months ago
      Slotted spoons appear to have numerous uses. Tomato serving spoons are mentioned a lot, as are olive spoons, casserole spoons, and the ubiquitous 'serving' spoon is also very popular.
    10. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 8 months ago
      Could it be an "Absinthe spoon"...?? (used to dissolve a sugar cube while supposedly properly serving an Absinthe cocktail?)
    11. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 8 months ago
    12. truthordare truthordare, 8 months ago
      AO refers to another type of slotted spoon, which is flat and long, meant to sit on top of a tumbler.

      I came across the same slotted spoon used for the same purpose for an Eastern European/ Middle Eastern liquor, arak, also anise based, consumed by using a glass tray set of containers for ice, sugar, water and the liquor, made with fancy art glass during 19th century, by Bohemian house Harrach.

      Called a 'sugar water set', for arak, the ancient drink originating in Lebanon, which has different spellings depending on the country using it.
    13. truthordare truthordare, 8 months ago
      a berry serving spoon, with slots to drain the juice, before eating with whipped cream in a small bowl....yum.
    14. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 8 months ago
      You reminded me of the first explorers who brought the "tomato" back to Europe. People like them at first and then they started getting sick. (This sort of pertains what I said to "keramikos" about food safety and silverware).

      People ate from pewter plates. The acid from the tomato leeched the lead out of the pewter. It may have made the tomatoes taste sweeter, but people got sick. (See...the Romans that added "lead" to their wine to make it sweet. There is a theory that Nero may have had Lead Poisoning and set Rome on fire.)
      Then they developed the moniker of "Poison apples".

      Just think that if Columbus and others didn't come to the New World, we wouldn't have spaghetti sauce !

      Same goes for Marco Polo. If he hadn't gone to China and brought back "Shahe fen" (wide noodles made out of rice flour-used in a Chow Foon recipe) and Lo mein noodles.
    15. PileOfJunk PileOfJunk, 8 months ago
      The first time I ever heard about absinthe was in the Lana Turner film “Madame X” I saw on TV. IT was a supposed to be a nasty addictive drink that was banned in some places.

      “Madame X” (1929) With Lewis Stone, Ruth Chatterton

      “Madame X” (1937) With Gladys George, Warren William

      “Madame X” (1966) With Lana Turner, John Forsythe, Ricardo Montalbán & Burgess Meredith

      A review for the 1929 version by Turner Classic Movies says, “Chatterton's performance is remarkable even by today's standards, as she degenerates from a society woman to an absinthe-swilling, bloated wretch, almost unrecognizable as the same actress.”

      Not even sure if you can buy it in the US ?

    16. Gillian, 8 months ago
      I forgot to mention your spoon has a beautiful bowl - spoon/bowl - I think that's the correct term. I would have enjoyed using it.

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