The spoons in this exhibit usually represent a traveler's visit to the state capitol.

Many state capitols were built in the Beaux-Art style during this time period and these capitol

buildings were decorated with marble, gold plating and other trappings of wealth.

If you have ever visited a state capitol, then you will understand why these were popular collectibles.

All spoons shown (unless otherwise marked) are STERLING SILVER.
Most of these spoons are available for purchase
.capitol building spoon

Capitol buildings with nice handles

The first and most important consideration for any state capitol building is to make a

statement. In all monumental government architecture the primary role is to show the

power and the authority of the governing body. Any observer, regardless of background

or education, must immediately and intuitively understand that this is a building of


Des Moines capitol spoon
The top spoon is embossed (machine stamped)
The bottom spoon is hand engraved.
Other views of this building are also available


capitol building spoons

Both autocratic and democratic societies use the same logic, but in a democratic society,

the building must also be readily accessible to the citizenry. Thus the interior design

considerations must also reflect the prevailing political philosophies. Artwork must be

related to the overall theme rather than just be considered for its own beauty as is the case

in autocratic societies.

washington dc congress capitol building spoon

Top picture is engraved view of the capitol building.
Bottom picture is embossed picture.

capotol buildng spoons
Notice how many different styles of flatware handle spoons were converted to souvenir spoons

Beaux-Arts school of architecture (most of the buildings of this time period) is based upon

a scholastic understanding of the power of past architectural styles. By carefully choosing

certain styles, the architect reflects the prevailing political views. In most of the state

capitols, for example, each of the legislative chambers is the same physical size and on the

same floor so that neither can say that it is superior to the other. If the executive branch is

more politically powerful, it will be on a higher floor than the legislature, but if the office

is to be an equal than it will be on the same floor. The location of the supreme court within

the building will also reflect its relationship to the legislative and executive offices. 

capitol building spoon

More engraved pictures of capitol buildings on flatware handles

The architect will pay close attention to the building materials used. Granite and marble

are among the most beautiful natural materials and the most expensive. Extravagant use

will be made of these materials to show the wealth and power of the state. Furthermore,

the source of these materials is often of importance and careful records will be maintained

as to which of the counties provided each type of building material. 

capitol building spoons

The bottom spoon is acid-etched rather than engraved

capitol building spoons

Capitol building spoons with souvenir style handles

Thomas Jefferson considered the dome to be the emblem of a democratic society. Most of

the capitol buildings will emulate the national capitol in Washington D.C. and will have

either central rotundas or domes over the legislative chambers. The dome will often be

plated with pure gold which reflects the light and again portrays to all the wealth of the


capitol building spoons

governor mansion spoon

This spoon pictures the official Governor's residence

gun spoon

This spoon shows the US Capitol building with a gun handle
however, it is silver plated. Plated silver loses its luster and also gets tarnish spots which cannot be removed.
In this case some of the copper is also showing thru the very thin silver plating.
However, gun handled spoons are fairly rare and many of them are silver plated.
This one was probably created for one of the civil war GAR conventions (Grand Army of the Republic).

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