CATALINA SOUVENIR SPOONS: GORHAM MFG. CO, PROVIDENCE, RI
CATALINA SOUVENIR SPOONS: GORHAM MFG. CO, PROVIDENCE, RI, in business from 1831 to present, but no longer located in Providence. Gorham produced Santa Catalina Island spoons from their regular pattern lines (i.e. Lancaster, Versailles) that have bowls engraved with "Catalina Island, Cal" and/or an engraved scene of Avalon Bay. The Versailles pattern, designed by Antoine Heller and issued in 1885, is named for the French palace of Versailles, residence of King Louis XIV. It is a multi-motif pattern, with several different images within the pattern. The scene variations are said to be inspired by murals in the Versailles palace that depict daily life. Santa Catalina Island souvenir spoons are found on several Versailles pattern variants:
In addition, Gorham produced a spoon handle design with a tuna, with five different Catalina Island scenes that were photo-etched in the bowls of some of the spoons. These spoons were made for Hunt and Clark Curio Store of Avalon in July 1903. They are rarely seen today. Hunt and Clark’s initial order was for 300 spoons and, though there might have been further orders, no reorders are noted in the Gorham archives. Pattern handles with engraved bowls were offered by Gorham, but many jewelers were capable of engraving themselves so instead of paying Gorham for the work they bought pattern spoons with plain bowls and did their own engraving. [McGlothlin, Chris A. Gorham Spoons: Sterling Souvenirs from a Bygone Era]
McGlothlin notes: "Five Gorham Santa Catalina Island spoon bowl scenes were done for Hunt & Clark, store merchants at Avalon. Gorham called this process “line photo etching.” A large tuna is on the teaspoon’s upper handle with seaweed surrounding it and also decorating the shank. The modestly decorated reverse was produced with a Gorham-owned die so it was not charged to the customer. Length of the spoon is 5-15/16 inches and weight is slightly over one troy ounce. (Twelve troy ounces and five pennyweights of sterling silver were used to produce one dozen spoons.) The spoons and obverse die where charged to Hunt & Clark at $412.50 for 25 dozen (averaging to $16.50 per dozen spoons). A big 300-spoon purchase was the initial, and possibly only, order."
Manufacturer's bowl captions in Line Photo Etching:
- THE SUGAR LOAF AVALON SANTA CATALINA ISL. [original in SCIF archives]
- SANTA CATALINA ISL. AVALON
- FARNSWORTH LOOP ON STAGE ROAD CATALINA ISL., CAL.
- SEAL ROCK SANTA CATALINA ISL. [original in SCIF archives]
- FLYING FISH [original in SCIF archives]
According to Katherine Loud's diary, in 1893 William M. Hunt (1870-1947) was the agent for all Los Angeles and San Francisco newspapers in Avalon, which were available at his Shell Store, as were "Guns, Sail and Rowboats." October 17, 1903 she notes:
- "Mr. William M. Hunt dissolved his firm of Hunt and Clark. Mr. Clark had been with him over 3 years. Mr. Hunt will continue his store begun over 12 years ago" [c. 1893-1903].
CATALINA ISL. CAL.
According to Gorham spoon expert, Chris A. McGlothlin, this sixth spoon was a plain bowl which was engraved with a “Catalina Isl., Cal.” scene, likely added by someone at the Hunt & Clark store. It is not of the quality that is seen on spoons engraved at the Gorham factory.
No. 102 coffee spoon by Gorham Mfg. Co.
[original in SCIF archives]
The “102” is the design number, stamped on the verso. Sometime in 1898, Gorham begin adding letters to their design numbers to differentiate flatware from hollowware, etc. The letter chosen for flatware was “H.” Therefore, any piece stamped with an “H” beside its design number had to have been made in 1898 or later.
Gorham demitasse, monogrammed "D" on the handle
[original in SCIF archives]
Gorham spoon historian, Chris McGlothlin, states: "This Gorham design was first made around 1893. It was a special design only made in coffee spoon size and possibly sold in sets (6 or 12 spoons). Those sets may have included this design only or a mixture of coffee spoon designs that Gorham offered. The design was never named (since it was not made in assorted pieces as a pattern would be).
Its bowl was engraved locally rather than by Gorham.
Even though this is a tad smaller than the usual coffee spoon, 3-7/8” is close enough for it to be called a coffee.
Catalina Island souvenir spoon historian, H.V. Merrick, suggests a date of c. 1901.