George W. Childs
by Wayne Bednersh
This very heavy sterling spoon features a portrait of Mr. Childs .
Wording wrapping the handle "George W. Childs"
"Public Ledger" and "Philadelphia"
The scene embossed in the bowl is one of the most impressive
detailed pictures which I have seen.
"George W. Childs Private Office"
The man had a reputation for being frugal, but this office sure looks
impressive to me.
Mr. Childs died on Feb 3, 1894 and I suspect that this spoon was
created shortly thereafter.
Mr. Childs started life as a poor boy and joined the navy at age 13.
After his release, he worked several jobs in Philadelphia and then
opened his own publishing business.
On 5 December, 1864, he purchased the Philadelphia Public Ledger,
a money-losing newspaper. The business was squeezed by rising paper
and printing costs due to wartime shortages as the country engaged in
the Civil War. The paper had lost
business because of its support for the Copperhead Policy
of opposing the American Civil War. Most readers in Philadelphia
strongly supported the Union. Childs bought the paper for a
He raised prices, changed formats, increased advertising and eventually
built the paper into a major publication earning an
estimated $500,000 a year. (a huge sum in that era)
He was also involved in real estate and created one of the first
planned communities in the USA.
"The suburban village known as Wayne, on the Pennsylvania Railroad,
fourteen miles from Philadelphia,
differs so much from the ordinary town allowed to grow up hap-hazard
and to develop conveniences as
population increases, that it is necessary, in describing it as it
appears, to keep in mind some facts about
its history. Wayne is not an accidental aggregation of cottages; it is
a town built by design, and provided
at the start with all the conveniences to which residents of cities are
accustomed and which they are so
apt to miss and long for when they go into the country or even into the
suburbs of a great city. The scheme
of the town was well thought out and planned before any of the new
cottages were built, and, as it was
undertaken by liberal gentlemen of abundant means, no expense was
spared in the preliminary municipal
Since my name is Wayne and I lived in a planned community,
I thought that this was an important piece of trivia.
This spoon was manufactured by Durgin (1853 - 1905, Rhode Island) and
was noted for its detailed wormanship.
The spoon was retailed by Bailey, Banks & Biddle, a famous high end
Mr. Childs was also known as a philanthropist. He is reputed to have
helped dozens of causes.
Of particular note is the money which he gave to build an important
monument at Shakespeare's home,
Stratford -upon-Avon, England
In 1912, the widow of noted newspaperman George W. Childs donated
property in Pike County. Emma
Childs' only condition was that the land always remain accessible to
the public. George W. Childs was a
popular state park until 1983 when it became part of the National Park
Service's Delaware Water Gap
National Recreation Area.
This pretty sterling spoon comes from the Delaware Water Gap in
The words in the bowl are lightly embossed with hand engraving.
It was made by Alvin Manufacturing Company.
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