Momentarily evoking the dining room scene in James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic,” this spoon on display in the Athenaeum here in Indianapolis, is representative of an era that cared about the smallest of details. Scrutinize the remaining relics of all those years ago: from spoon to door hinge to decorative architectural trim–the smallest of details were grand.

The task of keeping real silverware clean ensures that most no one in modern America continues to use the stuff. Often sold off at yard sales and second hand stores, you will frequently find initials or names engraved in the handle of the utensils that carried life sustenance from plate to palate. Though this is more Libby’s cup of tea, it’s worth mentioning that most hotels and restaurants of note had personalized and engraved utensils and other dining ware that you may still find and collect today.

Do you have any recollections of a place where you’ve dined that had personalized dining ware? What stands out in your memory? And does anywhere you go today have it?


3 responses to “Friday Favorite: The Smallest of Details”

  1. d mikels shea says:

    I have a full set of iced tea spoons with L.S. Ayres distinctive A logo–plus a couple of the pecan ball hotel silver bowls–in fact, I donated one to Ayres room in State Museum at opening–was later surprised to see it behind glass identified as a “finger bowl.’ (Not sure if it ever got changed–if you dine there let me know._

    The Claypool in its hey day had distinctive service plates–elegant with hotel pictured, gold rim–I also have one of these as well as hotel silver breakfast coffee pot (No-I did not steal it–purchased at auction along with the distinctive ornate brass elevator indicator I had made into a cocktail table on one of stair newel posts.) For reasons unknown, I have purchased hotel stuff for years–minature bath tub from NYCPlaza, table cloth for demolished Savoy Plaza, doorman’s hat from both old Lincoln and Harrison hotel in indy, doorman’s coat from Claypool and more ornate one from Lincoln, green with gold braid. Anybody wanna buy vintage coat rack from final auction Ayres–or chinese laquer mirrorn, reservation box from tea room? Or how about the l0 foot wooden telephone booth complete with triangle seat, pay phone from Claypool bar? OOOPs-almost forgot-elegant baroque mirrored suite number from most expensive suite old Severin,Atkinson? Victorian chandelier from Durbin Junction?

  2. d mikels shea says:

    Sudden thought: Does anyone know how collectible the low grade hotel silver has become? Recently in NYC browsed the astromiocally $$$ hotel silver dept. of famous dept. store.

  3. Dawn Olsen says:

    I grew up with my mom, who–to the best of my knowledge–has no historical, personalized objects that represent our family. We were the ones that always managed to lose forks and bend spoons, so a lot of our silverware was deliberately thrifted because, like socks, we’d lose them somehow. My paternal grandmother, however, had a large buffet table in her house, and it was filled with antique crystal and family heirlooms. I believe my aunt know has the silver silverware–the ends of each piece are engraved with a fancy “O.” I’m not exactly sure who first owned the silverware, before my grandparents. Though my grandparents are now gone, they had many a fine thing in their house. Their auctions were quite large, and some of the last items to be sold four years ago were plates and china and furniture that had originated with the Grenville M. Dodge family. (A Union army officer who later settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where I’m from.) When it comes to affluence, General Dodge is the Oliver P. Morton of Council Bluffs.

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