Continued from product description on
Historical Doll Kits' Page Three...
Background: Colonial mothers made dolls for their daughters
from a variety of items that were available around the homestead.
A wooden spoon featured a ready-made head for a doll, which could
be adorned with paint for the face and hair, or with yarn for
hair, or with fabric for a bonnet. The body was formed around
the handle of the spoon and was probably made in numerous designs
because each mother worked with items that were available to
her. If the mother had a little extra time and the supplies,
she might make arms, and legs and use lace. If time was pressing,
she might just wrap fabric around the handle in a way that it
looked like a dress. For a young colonial girl, any doll was
The first spoons were probably made from seashells or stones.
The history of the spoon might have begun in Egypt around 1000
B.C. when a utensil was needed for ointments. Other research
suggests spoons were used as an eating utensil during Paleolithic
times (750,000-15,000 years ago). Prehistoric people used shells
or chips of wood as spoons. They may have fastened a stick to
the shell in order to reach for liquids.
The English Celts used wooden spoons during the Iron Age (circa
250 B.C.), which is confirmed by a small ladle discovered at
archeological excavations at the Glastonbury Lake Village. Wooden
spoons have actually been recovered from 10th-century oak buildings
at Viking York (now Coppergate, England).
During the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century A.D.),
it would have been customary for a host to provide a guest with
a spoon made from wood or horn. A spoon was sometimes the only
worldly possession an individual had, and it was common for a
person to will their spoon to their heir when he or she died.
The Greek and Latin words for spoon are derived form the word
"cochlea" which means "spiral-shaped snail shell."
This suggests that shells were commonly used as spoons. The Anglo-Saxon
word for spoon is "spon," which means "a splinter
or chip of wood."
From inventory records, we know that the early Jamestown settlers
brought wooden spoons to the New World. Native Americans whittled
wooden spoons from laurel wood and sold them to the early settlers.
Because the blunted knives imported from England around 1630
were hard to eat with, the colonists began using a spoon to steady
their meat while cutting it. The early practice of eating with
a knife involved a very sharp one or possibly two (this was before
forks were invented), one to hold the meat and the other to cut
up the food.
All colonists, rich and poor, used wooden utensils for nearly
the first century they inhabited North America. Some wealthy
families were able to procure metal utensils before the 1700s.
All colonial kitchens were sure to have a wooden spoon, as this
was a significant tool, along with wooden bowls, trenchers, and
tankards. Even after metal knives, forks, and spoons were in
common use, no kitchen was without a wooden spoon.
In Wales, a spoon was carved and given to a woman who was
about to be married. She would hang this spoon on her wall as
a message that she was "taken." The word "spooning"
comes from the giving of a wooden spoon, usually carved, to the
intended. Her suitor might carve a heart-shaped spoon which meant
"I love you." A key-shaped spoon meant "You hold
the key to my heart." A bell-shaped spoon meant "Let's
get married." A wheel-shaped spoon meant "I will work
hard for you." The carved wooden spoon given to a newly
married woman was called a "love spoon." Some of the
other patterns carved into a spoon had special meanings, such
as a chain (a wish to be together forever), diamond (wealth or
good fortune), cross (faith), flower (affection), and dragon
In recent times, some brides have carried a wooden spoon tied
with ribbons and flowers along with their wedding bouquets. Since
a wooden spoon was absolutely one of the most useful items a
newly married woman could have, a female friend would usually
give the gift. The bride's mother, sister, and friends would
make sure to provide her with the necessary kitchen utensils
to "set up house."
Wooden spoons have been a common item throughout history and
in nearly all cultures because most artisans could carve spoons
and they were inexpensive to make. Is there a wooden spoon in
Fact: Many sailors carved wooden spoons during long voyages.
Fact: A wooden spoon was listed as a necessary item for
cake baking in the 1894 edition of "White House Cookbook"
by Ziemann and Gillette.
Fact: Stainless steel utensils were invented in the 1920s.
Fact: The earliest "love spoon" found (so far)
is displayed in the Welsh Folk Museum in Cardiff and is dated