University Museums

Title: Spoon
Name: Spoon
Date: 1955-1965
Medium: Pewter
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: 7 3/4 × 2 1/8 in. (19.7 × 5.4 cm)
Marks: On small circle at bottom of handle: "Joseph Copeland *1675*, CHUCKATUCK". On back of handle: "STIEFF- PEWTER".
Classification: Decorative Arts, Metal
Credit Line: Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier. In the Farm House Museum Collection, Farm House Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: 76.30.42
More Information
Copeland Spoon
"This pewter spoon is a reproduction of the oldest known dated piece of American pewter. Its maker was Joseph Copeland who lived - at the time the mold was case in 1675 - thirty miles south east of Jamestown in the small town of Chuckatuck. Although Copeland later moved to Jamestown and worked in the fourth state house as a clerk from 1688-1691, there is no record of his having worked in metal while living at Jamestown.

The handle was the only piece of this spoon intact when it was discovered by archeologists in 1930, but the bowl is the same shape as other examples that were found at Jamestown. Copeland's mark, which makes this spoon so unique, is found o the end of the handle. This end is a trifid shape which, though not unusual, was certainly not a common type in the seventeenth century. The bowl is round having lost the fig shape which was prevalent prior to 1650.

A spoon of this type was a general purpose table spoon, used for eating and serving. Many families might have used only one such spoon, for metal was expensive, and it was unusual - especially in the colonies during the seventeenth century--for any but the well-to-do to have many metal spoons."

From "The Copeland spoon" package insert