I'm pretty sure there is a whole sordid history to spoons, spoon production, and spoon usage but I'm really too tired to look it up. So I'll leave it to your imagination. Instead I'm going to show you some of the decorative spoons that JR's maternal family collected. Leave it to women to collect and preserve something as simple as a spoon.
Or are they so simple?
JR's ancestress' collected a wide range of stuff and spoons seem to be a big part of that stuff.
They range in date from the late 1890s to about 1920.
I surmise that during the Great Depression you couldn't afford something that didn't really have a useful purpose. Then World War II came along and while it broke us out of the Depression it also changed the way society thought about everyday life, collections and curating collected items.
These are just some of the fancy spoons the women that make up JR's history collected.
They are souvenirs from cities, countries, and events.
They are printed with months of the year.
Which I presume were significant to the collector.
I think this was from their Norway trip in 1914.
They went back to visit relatives.
Then there are the just plain fancy ones.
The ones you brought out only for company.
Special company that you wanted to impress.
I only have special fancy spoons left.
Not sure what I'm going to do with a fancy set of 12 demitasse spoons but, oh well.
Let's put on our anthropologist hats for a minute.
When you think about the use that spoons got and still get, you can get an idea of what these particular spoons must of meant to survive. Spoons were tools. Spoons were the stuff of daily life. Anthropologist like to dig around midden kitchens (or the garbage heap behind the kitchens in layman's terms) for just such stuff. Spoons got used. A lot! They were so common that when their usefulness expired you threw them out. Common tools are the hardest to find but the most coveted by collectors and anthropologists.
Because only the fancy meaningful ones survive.
Makes me think I need to go hide one of my everyday spoons right now, so that some poor anthropologist or collector in the future can make the find of his or her century.