Snuff Spoon or Toy Spoon

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Snuff Spoon or Toy Spoon

Postby notalot » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:49 pm

Hi there,

Does anyone know the difference between a 'snuff spoon' and a 'toy spoon' or miniature spoon. Indeed, is there even a difference?

I have seen them catalogued as both in the past but cannot discern the difference. Presumably a snuff spoon was made to fit into an etui or snuff box, and a toy spoon would be a miniature version of the full size? But when both are similar in size is there even a point in the different terms?


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Location: UK

Re: Snuff Spoon or Toy Spoon

Postby agphile » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:33 am

There was a fashion for cataloguing all miniature spoons as snuff spoons, much like the way all very large serving spoons get catalogued as basting spoons even though very few of them will ever have been used for that purpose.The term snuff spoon should be avoided as misleading apart from the very few cases where the spoon is still associated with a snuff box.
Toy spoon is a more sensible description for unattached spoons if you accept “toy” in its wider sense of a small trinket. Very, very few of these spoons will have been intended or used as children’s playthings. I prefer to call them miniature spoons to avoid misleading anybody.

One can of course have some guesses at the original use in particular cases. A set, or part set, of tiny spoons may have been intended for a fashionable Dolls House. Slim proportions may suggest a spoon was once kept in an etui, though that doesn’t tell us what it was actually used for. Some may actually have been condiment spoons. And so on. But generally speaking I imagine that if a spoon maker were asked to make a miniature spoon of a certain size for, say, a dolls house, it would look much the same as a spoon he was asked to make for, say, a snuff box.

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