Fountain Spoons

There is something about fountains which intrigues me. The beautiful sculptures surrounded by falling water probably reminds me of nature's beautiful waterfalls.

Waterfalls are well represented on spoons, but fountains seem to be a rarity. In fact, I can't find any other spoons in my collection devoted to a fountain. That isn't to say that they don't exist.

I came across this interesting spoon identified as the Tyler Davidson Fountain in Cincinnati, Ohio. The handle is a standard Shepard wavy state handle. When I bought it, I didn't have the slightest idea what this was all about. A little research on the WWW quickly gave me the following fascinating insights.

tyler fountain cincinnati spoon

2 sterling engraved spoons of the Tyler Davidson fountain in Cincinati

"The 43-foot-tall (13 m) fountain is cast in bronze and sits on a green granite base. The inscription "To the People of Cincinnati" appears on its base.

The artistic fountain's motif is water, in homage the river city's continuing debt to the Ohio River. The central figure, the Genius of Water—a female in heroic size—pours down the symbolic longed-for rain from hundreds of jets pierced in her outstretched fingers. The figure is 9 feet high and weighs 2 tons.

The pedestal itself is square with four representations in basso-relievo of four principal uses of water; namely, steam, water-power, navigation, and the fisheries. The first is typified by workers in iron using a trip hammer powered by an engine in the background; the second, by peasants carrying corn to a watermill; the third, by a steamboat leaving the shore, lined by numbers waving farewell; the fourth, by groups of fishermen and children.

From the center of the pedestal rises a shaft spread at the top with interlaced vines and foliage and about these are four groups. On the north is a workman standing upon a burning roof and imploring the aid of water; at the south is a farmer standing in the midst of a field where are plainly seen the effects of a drought - he too is praying for rain. Upon these two groups the Genius of Water is dropping a gentle spray. At the west a young girl is offering the water to an old man with crutches. On the east side a mother partially nude is leading her naked and reluctant boy to the bath.

Four outer figures with animals represent the pleasures of water. These are working drinking fountains from which passersby can drink. On the drinking fountains are figures of nude boys- one riding a dolphin, another playing with ducks, a third struggling with a snake and the fourth on the back of a turtle.

The construct is made of approximately 24 short tons (22 t) of cannon bronze purchased from the Danish government and 85 short tons (77 t) of granite. It is estimated that 500 US gallons (1,900 l) of water flow through it every minute."

from Wikipedia

CINCINNATI -- City officials are planning a $2.1 million face-lift of Fountain Square and the Tyler Davidson fountain, the one shown at the beginning of the television show "WKRP In Cincinnati."

"We're at a sort of last chance to catch these repairs," Deputy City Manager Richard Mendes told The Cincinnati Post yesterday. "It's not in real bad shape right now, but if we don't start catching it now, real damage will start to be done."

The renovation is scheduled to start in spring and to be completed in time for the city's annual Oktoberfest celebration.

The landmark fountain, made of 24 tons of bronze and 85 tons of stone, is falling apart from the inside. Officials fear underground conduits could rust, leaving electrical wires exposed to possible water leakage.

The site's waterproof membrane and drainage system also are causing water damage to the parking garage underneath the square, officials said.

The Tyler Davidson Fountain was a gift to the city from hardware merchant Henry Probasco in 1871. It was named in honor of his brother-in-law, Tyler Davidson.

The fountain -- formally known as the Genius of Waters -- was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 1979.

The 43-foot fountain features a woman with hands outspread, showering water onto four figures.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All Contents © Copyright 1998 Lexington Herald-Leader. All Rights Reserved

Now that I know what the Davidson Fountain looks like, I was able to find it represented on another spoon. The handle on this spoon is a really nice full figural bridge which may be seen in the "Bridge Exhibit" from the main index.


Gooseman Fountain

Front and back views of the Gooseman Fountain in Nuremberg, Germany. The man is holding a goose under each arm. This fountain is one of the most popular in Germany. This nice 800 silver spoon features an art nuevo face and a very elaborate stem on the front and back, but a plain bowl. A number of other variations are also available.

Return to Spoon World Index