A spoon is an implement consisting of a small shallow bowl-shaped receptacle supported by a handle, used for eating, serving, and cooking foods.
Spoons, together with forks, are known as flatware.
Spoons are used primarily for eating liquid or semi-liquid foods, such as soup, stew or ice cream, and very small or powdery solid items which cannot be easily lifted with a fork, such as rice, sugar, cereals and peas.
Present day spoons are made from metal (notably flat silver or silverware, plated or solid), wood, porcelain or plastic.
Preserved examples of various forms of spoons used by the ancient Egyptians include those composed of ivory, flint, slate and wood, many of them carved with religious symbols.
By the time the age of Ancient Greece and Roman Empire, spoons became produced from bronze and silver and were more commonplace among wealthy class of people.
Medieval spoons for domestic use were commonly made of cow horn or wood, but brass, pewter, and latten spoons appear to have been common in about the 15th century. The full descriptions and entries relating to silver in the spoons in the inventories of the royal and other households point to their special value and rarity.
The earliest English reference appears to be in a will of 1259. In the wardrobe accounts of Edward I for the year 1300 some gold and silver spoons marked with the fleur-de-lis, the Paris mark, are mentioned. One of the most interesting medieval spoons is the Coronation Spoon used in the anointing of the English and later British sovereign – this 12th-century object is the oldest surviving item in the British royal regalia.
In the 1600s silver spoons were carried around like a set of keys would be today – you were expected to bring your own utensils with you wherever you went regardless of what material they were made from. Place settings weren’t popularized until the 1700s when the money coming in from the colonies increased the standard of living for merchants merchants and other classes.
Silver spoons were also helpful in avoiding poisons as they would tarnish on contact with sulfur, arsenic, and other compounds. This was no small comfort in a time before major food regulation when testing for poison wasn’t even always possible.
The sets of Apostle Spoons (spoon with an image of an apostle or other saint as the termination of the handle), popular as christening presents in Tudor times, the handles of which terminate in heads or busts of the apostles, are a special form to which antiquarian interest attaches.
The earlier English spoon-handles terminate in an acorn, plain knob or a diamond – at the end of the 16th century, the baluster and seal ending becomes common, the bowl being fig-shaped. During The Restoration, the handle becomes broad and flat, the bowl is broad and oval and the termination is cut into the shape knownm as the hind’s foot.
In the first quarter of the 18th century, the bowl becomes narrow and elliptical, with a tongue or rat’s tail down the back, and the handle is turned up at the end. The modern form, with the tip of the bowl narrower than the base and the rounded end of the handle turned down, came into use about 1760.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that entire sets of silverware in real silver became the status symbols we now know them as now, later to be almost universally replaced by stainless steel.
Over 50 variations of spoons are used for many specific tasks in eating, preparing and other activities,and many more types were used in the past:
• Caviar spoon – because of fact that silver changes the taste of caviar, these spoons are most often created from mother of pearl, gold, animal horn and wood.
• Coffee spoon – smaller than a teaspoon.
• Dessert spoon – created in a medium size, somewhere between teaspoon and dining spoon.
• Fruit spoon – which features sharpened point or teeth, for easier carving of various fruits (orange, grapefruit,etc.).
• Iced tea spoon – has a very long handle.
• Ice cream scoop spoon
• Bar spoon (very similar to teaspoon)
• Caddy spoon
• Slotted spoon
• Mote poon
• Mustard spoon
• Cheese scoop spoon
• Many other designs, such as Demitasse spoon, Chinese spoon, Bouillon spoon, Parfait spoon, Rattail spoon, Runcible spoon, Salt spoon, Seal-top spoon, and more.
The largest silver spoon measures 131.45 cm (51.75 in) long and was commissioned by Michael D Feldman of Argenteus Ltd, London, UK. The spoon known as ‘The Great Basting Spoon Of 2002’ was made for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
The largest steel spoon is 16.18 m (53 ft 1 in) in length, and was achieved by Uri Geller (Israel) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 19 May 2019.
The smallest wooden spoon is 4.5 mm (0.18 in) long, and was achieved by Gowrishankar Gummadidhala (India)in Telangana, India, on 9 April 2020.
The most expensive silver spoon is the earliest recorded hallmarked apostle spoon, dated 1490 and with the gilt finial formed as the figure of St. James the Greater, sold at Christie’s, London, UK in 1993 for £36,700 ($55,000).
Mr. Des Warren of Mayfield Austrailia owns a collection of over 30,000 teaspoons as recognized by the UK Spoon Collectors Club.