Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Antique Store Finds: A Victorian Windsor Twist Bar Spoon

Saturday, I had some errands to run so I figured that if I had to brave the -19 temperatures, I was going to treat myself to a stop at my favorite antique shop, Memories Gate. It’s like Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders and the Antiques Road Show all crammed into one amazing place of never-ending delight.
I wanted to pick up a few pieces of vintage flatware that I could turn into spoon rings. I know, it’s okay to cringe, my mother does every time I tell her of my *intentions* to make said spoon rings. And while I did find and purchase some amazing silver spoons (don’t worry, I will not be turning these little lovelies into jewelry as the ones I picked up are antiques all made before 1915) I also purchased what I thought was a teaspoon.

Turns out, my ‘teaspoon’ that I purchased for a dollar, is actually a small Victorian bar spoon called a Windsor Twist Bar Spoon made by Rogers Bros. I couldn’t read the maker’s mark on the back because the spoon was so tarnished, but after a little bit of scrubbing (check out my helpful hint at the bottom to see how to clean your silver), I managed to see the mark then start my search.
The spoon is from the 1880's, and was used to make drinks and cocktails. Essential to the Victorian bar, the bowl of each Windsor Twist spoon (regardless of the length of the handle) is equivalent to a teaspoon and was used to measure the ingredients for mixed drinks. The twist handle design aided in the stirring as well as the blending of the drink and when the drink was served, the spoon was left in it.
While I can’t find the exact year my spoon was made ,I know that it was made sometime between 1880-1886 as the spoon in shown in the1886-87 Meriden Britannia Catalog.

My spoon is the second from the left.

Here’s a few drinks the small Windsor Twist Bar Spoon was used to make
According to volume 17 of the 1903 “Wine and Spirit Bulletin”, the small spoon was used to make the “Old Fashioned Cocktail”:
“Crush in small bar glass one lump sugar, put in two dashes Schroeder’s bitters, piece twisted lemon peel, two or three small lumps of ice, one jigger whisky. Stir and serve with small bar spoon in glass.”
1888 Whiskey Smash
I also picked up 10 pieces (A 14inch serving platter, 3 dinner plates, and 6 orphan saucers) in the Blue English Village Pattern by Olde Staffordshire for a song. It was on sale and I paid $15 for the entire set. So that means I paid $1.50 for each piece.

Spoons I picked up for a dollar a piece.


Helpful hint

When you come across tarnished silver, the worst thing to clean it with is chemicals. The best way to clean silver is with ketchup and table salt. Dip and rag in ketchup then into the salt and then scrub your silver until tarnish is removed. Rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a soft cloth.

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