MOTE SPOONS

     Tea in the 17th century and most of the 18th century was supplied in a rather crude form with large leaves and a great deal of dust.  The Mote spoon was used prior to the caddy spoon and the initial use was probably, to lift the tea leaves from the caddy and gently shake or tap the spoon allowing the dust or mote to drop prior to use in the pot.  The sharp pointed end would have been used to dislodge blockages from the inside of the spout of the tea pot.

The Mote spoons ceased to be used or produced during the 1770's....about the time the first caddy spoons were being produced.  Early caddy spoons often had filigree centers in their bowls to allow the dust to be removed, much the same as the mote spoon they were replacing.  The Mote Spoon evolved in many ways over it's short life span.  

During the late 17th century the mote spoon was a simple pierced bowl, with a long thin stem of uniform thickness. The stem and bowl were made of two pieces, being attached with the soldered "rat tail" form. These spoons were often marked on the bowl of the piece.  These pieces with the mark on the bowl are rare indeed.

During the Queen Anne and George I period the bowl remained quite simple, however, a scroll starts to show up in the bowl.  At this time, the bowl and stem are made from one piece of silver.  The back of the bowl still has a "rat tail" and the stem starts to taper to a point. The marks are now on the stem and would include the maker's mark, perhaps twice, or the maker's mark and the lion or Britannia. 

The bulk of the spoons are found from the George II and III period.  A shorter "rat tail", drop or double drop are now found on the back of the bowl.  The fancy back or fancy picture back shows up during this period. The bowls now show more elaborate designs of rococo scroll work, circles, crosses and lines.  Some are even engraved. The marks during this period are on the stem and again include the maker's mark struck one or two times or the maker's mark struck once and the lion struck once. 

These photo's show the front of the spoons and illustrate the different stem attachments to the back of the spoons

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