I was recently browsing through the December 12, 1894 issue of “The Jewelers’ Circular and Horological Review” and came across an article entitled “The Eating of the Orange…Dainty Devices for the Proper Eating of this Delicious and Seasonable Fruit”. The first paragraph reads: “The present is, perhaps, the best orange season that dealers in the fruit trade ever remember having had. Oranges medicinally as a tonic and for their refreshing properties as a fruit grow steadily in favor from year to year as the public learns more and more to appreciate the fruit’s manifold good qualities. Advanced orange lovers have even taken up an “orange cure” which necessitates the consumption by the patient of anywhere from one to three dozen oranges daily, but which is said to remove from its disciples all bodily pains and ills and to leave the system in a particularly clean and healthy condition.” Yes, you read that right…one to three dozen oranges daily!!! The article continues on to describe the various sterling and silver plated orange knives, spoons, peelers and orange cups being offered by multiple manufacturers. Illustrations and advertisements are included on the four pages (which follow). Following is a full page Rogers & Hamilton Co. ad for their version of the orange spoon: Campbell-Metcalf Silver Co. showed an image of an orange spoon in their ad and just listed “Orange” as one of the different flatware pieces available in their “Eton” pattern.
Until I read this article, I was not familiar with “orange cups” which securely held a half an orange in place for ease of eating. The half orange was eaten with a spoon similar to the way you would eat a half grapefruit today (hmmm…I wonder if they also offered grapefruit cups).
It’s interesting to see that there was considerable competition with these “dainty devices” for eating oranges. Rogers & Bro. advertised orange spoons in multiple pattern choices and also had orange knives, holders and peelers.
The following came from the 1892 Rogers & Bro. pricelist:
As did this:
The unusual shape of the bowl in the price list shown above was patented in 1892 as well.
I have a spoon with this bowl design currently offered for sale at my Etsy shop (SORRY, THIS ITEM HAS SOLD). It is in the hard to find 1892 “Pequot” pattern and was manufactured by Anchor Rogers. It can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/154796589/anchor-rogers-silver-plate-orange-spoon
Not to be outdone by their competitors, Holmes & Edwards ad states “The Conception of the Orange Spoon Was One of the Bright Ideas of The Holmes & Edwards Silver Co.” The patent was obtained April 22, 1890.
Holmes & Edwards offered their orange spoons in multiple pattern choices as shown in this ad from The Ladies Home Journal, February 1892 issue: In addition to the patterns above, Holmes & Edwards also offered the orange spoon in the Triumph / Opal pattern, also available at my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/154792163/holmes-edwards-silver-plate-orange-spoon :
Alvin Mfg. Co. offered orange spoons in beautiful floral designs created by Frederick Habensack. One of these designs was the 1907 “Easter Lily” pattern, shown below, and offered for sale at my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/121529815/alvin-silver-plate-orange-spoons-1907
And two lovely Alvin Mfg. Co. “Bride’s Bouquet” silver plate orange spoons can also be found here in my shop: Alvin Mfg. Silver Plate Orange Spoons in 1908 “Brides Bouquet” Pattern
An 1847 Rogers orange spoon ad is shown above and Sunkist brand premium orange spoon advertisement follows. Obviously, these were a “hot” item back in the day!
1847 Rogers grouped orange spoons in various patterns and called it the “Harlequin Set”. The following ad comes from the 1897-97 issue of Busiest House catalog. I’ve added the pattern name to the right of each spoon.
Interestingly, souvenir spoons, which were what was called a “fad” in 1891 and extremely popular, were quite frequently offered as orange spoons as well as tea and coffee spoons. The following 1891 W. H. Glenny Sons & Co. ad shows a sterling silver Niagara Falls souvenir spoon in the orange spoon option:
I have one of these sterling silver Glenny Niagara Falls souvenir orange spoons for sale at my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/123883117/w-h-glenny-sons-co-sterling-silver (picture follows):
W. H. Glenny was an importer and retailer in Buffalo, NY. These spoons were manufactured for Glenny by Wm. B. Durgin Co. of Concord, NH. Durgin had obtained the patent for the distinctive bowl shape in March of 1891:
I also have listed in my Etsy shop two “Kings” pattern orange spoons manufactured by Wm. Rogers (Eagle mark, backstamp of Simpson, Hall, Miller) https://www.etsy.com/listing/263145359/wm-rogers-silver-plate-orange-spoons:
The bowls of these spoons have a very unusual shape:
The bowl has a long projection with a “v” shape at the end. I would think the “v” would facilitate cutting through the orange flesh (it might also cut through your lip, I would think). I found two Austin Jackson patents for somewhat similar type bowls:
These patents were assigned to Reed & Barton.
The patent above was issued in 1891 and the next in 1892, at the height of the orange craze:
This patent has that inverted “v” feature.
I think I’ll go have an orange…