Artifact of the Day for May 15th, 2017 — Silver(plated) spoon


Today’s artifact of the day is a teaspoon manufactured by McGlashan-Clarke Silverware company.

Back side of teaspoon. Mark says "NEVADA McG. C. Co."
Back side of teaspoon. Mark says “NEVADA McG. C. Co.”
Front of teaspoon
Front of teaspoon

It was originally plated in silver, and is similar to the Hanoverian style, also known as Rat-Tail. It’s called Hanoverian because the popularity of this pattern spanned the reigns of three kings of the House of Hanover dynasty, George I, George II, and George III (part). The Rat-Tail name comes from the earliest of the Hanoverian pieces, around 1710, as there is a long piece of metal added to the reverse of the bowl of the spoon in the form of a Rat-Tail, and a central ridge in the front stem.

The Hanoverian/Rat-Tail pattern came back into favour towards the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century. The Hanoverian form of this pattern, which this spoon belongs to has a pip at the front of the stem and no rat-tail.

Another name for this style of handle is a Fiddle pattern, as the stem resembles the fingerboard of a violin, and the body has cutouts with smooth parallel lines extending towards a rounded terminal.

This teaspoon was manufactured by the McGlashan-Clarke Silverware company, which was the first company to make silverware in Canada. One source I found says the company was founded 1880 in Humberstone (now Port Colborne, Ontario) by Leonard McGlashan and Dr Gardner Clarke. In 1895 the firm moved to Niagara Falls to take advantage of the hydro-electric power available there. The company remained in family hands until it closed in 1955.

For a sad story related to the McGlashan family, check out this article written by Sherman Zavitz, official historian for the City of Niagara Falls.

Another source contradicts this finding a little bit, and provides a date range of 1899 to 1910 for the company and says the company was based in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and also Muncie, Indiana, USA. Obviously a little more research is in order!

This particular teaspoon is stamped Nevada. I am not sure if it refers to the pattern name, or is a trademark name for the nickel-silver. I did manage to find a picture of one in close to original condition.

Silverplate McGlashan-Clarke Nevada teaspoon
Silverplate McGlashan-Clarke Nevada teaspoon

In terms of dating this piece, we know it has to be older than 1955, as that is when the company closed. Based on the other source, it could even be no younger than 1910.

This piece was found embedded in a pile of clinker, coal, and rusted nails, not far from where the harmonica was found. Tomorrow we are going to investigate under where the pile was and see how the clinker pile relates to the underlying deposits and a wall that is close by.

 

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