The Iron Maiden

Nuremberg Torture Chamber
and hanging tree spoons


The first iron maiden torture device was displayed sometime in the early 1800's.  In 1890 (during the time of the souvenir spoon popularity), a copy of the device was made and displayed at the Worlds Columbian Expo in Chicago from 1893-1894 and then was taken on a tour of American cities. Supposedly the original device in Nuremberg was destroyed by a bomb during World War 11. Now some historians believe that the creation of this device was just an elaborate hoax by Johann Philipp Siebenkees in 1793. Several versions (copies?)  of this device are in various museum displays. There is no known proof that that the iron maiden torture device was actually used.

The Columbian expo version of the  iron maiden  is shaped like a gothic  crypt  with a picture of  Mary (mother of Jesus)  and was about 7 foot tall and 3 foot wide with  doors which open.  The inside of the  double doors contain sharp pointed spikes which would penetrate a body  in the chamber. 

iron maiden spoons

The doors have been opened on the middle spoon so that you can see the spikes

Detail of finial with the closed doors. The pedestal is quite intricate and detailed

The entire spoon with the doors to the chamber in an open position. Although this spoon is not marked, I am pretty sure it is 800 silver

Detail embossed picture of the Funfecker Castle tower in a gold washed bowl. The back is engraved Aug. 26, '95 (1895)

Another version of the iron mainden spoon with a different pedestal and different bowl. marked 800

A third hand made version of this spoon. The bowl has a chased picture of the castle. The marks are unreadable, but I am pretty sure it is 800 silver

Hanging Tree Spoon

The back of a George Washington spoon has a neat skyline view of "Old Amsterdam". I was examining this scene with my magnifying glass and discovered that this tall pole near the center of this picture is a "hanging tree". This is unbelievable. Why did the company feel that this was an important element to include on a spoon showing a view of this early city?

for more information on this spoon see the George Washington exhibit (from the main index)

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