Souvenir Spoons from


World fairs were designed to show the best in human achievements. Major exhibitions of arts, business, agriculture, humanities, cultures and customs were highlighted in large cities. The study of these intriguing events is a topic onto itself. Many beautiful souvenir spoons were designed for some of these magnificent events.

Chicago 1893
Columbian World Fair

The Chicago world fair was precedent setting. It established a pattern for all future world fairs and contributed immeasurably to the future direction of this country and the world. You will be surprised by the number of things which we take for granted today that were first highlighted by this world fair.

 The 1893 Columbian World Fair in Chicago was one of the major impetuses for the collecting of silver souvenir spoons. In 1892, the fantastic "great white city" opened amid economic devastation in an economy that was described as a "monetary panic". Yet it is estimated that more varieties of souvenir spoons were created for this fair than for any other single event in history.

  Because so many spoons were created for this world fair, I have created a separate series of exhibition spoons.

Click to see the Columbian World Fair Spoon exhibits     


Other Expositions

A number of other major expositions and more localized fairs were held and souvenir spoons were created for each of these events. The pieces shown here are not meant to be exhaustive, but merely to show some of the tremendous variety of spoons that are available to spoon and exposition collectors.

The California Mid-Winter Fair was held in San Francisco in 1894

Hand made spoon from San Francisco, 1894 with a bear embossed bowl

Click to see the California Mid Winter Fair exhibit

Cotton States International Exposition

Atlanta, Georgia 1895-96

The Cotton States Exposition was a little expo held in Atlanta in 1896. There are very few spoons from this expo.

This "king cotton" enamel spoon is the nicest one from this expo. It is available in tea and demi size

                                        cotton expo

right: silver plated symbols from the fair, bowl pictures the cotton palace

One of the most remembered events from this world fair was a speech made by Booker T. Washington.. This brilliant speech may be read here

Silver plated advertising spoon from the small Trans Mississippi expo held in Omaha in 1898
This spoon is advertising Fleischmann & Co. yeast

1900-01 Paris Exposition

A Scottish Thistle adorns this Paris expo spoon

The Pont Alexandrie was a marvelously decorated bridge built for this exposition

Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, New York 1901)

buffalo symbol from the fair (rebus)

Click to see more Pan American World Fair spoons

1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis World Fair)

These are the "Official Louisiana Purchase Expo Spoons". So many varieties of spoons were made for the Columbus expo that the organizers tried to monopolize the production of this souvenir. As we shall see--they were not successful. Note that these spoons have almost  the same handle design (1803-buffalo hunter-covered wagon and campfires, train- 1903). 

souvenir silver spoons st louis expo, louisiana purchase expo

Click to see the entire St. Louis World Fair Expo Exhibit



Portland "Lewis and Clark" Expo

                                                                                                                                                 1904 -1905                

The "Lewis and Clark" expo in Portland, Oregon in 1904/ 1905 was to celebrate the achievement of these western pioneers. A number of different spoons were created for this fair.

Symbol of the fair (plated)

The one pictured here is made out of copper (even though it is clearly marked sterling). The Front shows portraits of Lewis and Clark, a monument to them and the Oltnomah Falls and the back has various symbols for the home city of Portland. The bowl shows a statue of Sacajawea, the Indian maiden who guided the exploration party including the baby which she bore on the trip. Note: the new U.S. Sacajawea (Sacagawea) golden dollar is based upon this Indian guide.

Grant log cabin spoon

This silver plated spoon purports to show the Grant log cabin which was owned  by G.F.Blanne. The handle shows Teddy Roosevelt with his gun

On the left the spoon is marked "world fair 1904"

lewis clark sacajewea spoon

A nicely engraved bowl showing their indian guide Sacajawea with her arms around Lewis and Clark watching the setting sun over the Pacific Ocean

"Portland 1905'

Jamestown Exposition(1907)

                                                The Jamestown Exposition of 1907 was to celebrate the 300th year of the founding of the Jamestown Colony in Virgina

                                                                                                                      Click to see spoons from this expositions

Alaska Yukon Purchase Expo (AYPE 1909)

The Alaska Yukon Purchase Exhibition of Seattle, Washington 1909 produced a number of very interesting spoons.

A separate exhibit has been set up to show these and other gold spoons from Alaska. Click here to see the AYPE exhibit spoons.

Hudson - Fulton Celebration (1909)

Souvenir Spoon made by Tiffany & Co. to celebrate the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration

The stem pictures Hudson's ship the "Half Moon" ("de Haelve Maene") which first explored the Hudson river in 1609. Below that is pictured the New York seal and below that is a laurel wreath

The bowl pictures Fulton's steamboat the "Clermont" 1807

Some of these spoons may be later restrikes.

In September 1609, Henry Hudson explored the great river which was later called the Hudson River. In his ship called the “Half Moon,” he entered New York Harbor on September 3rd and then sailed up river, recording his impressions of his journey in his log book. “On that side of the river called Manna-hata,” said Hudson, “we saw no people to trouble us and we rode quietly all night.” In August 1807, the inventor Robert Fulton traveled up the Hudson River at a speed of five mile per hour in his steamboat, the Clermont; within days of this historic journey, Fulton initiated regular steamship service on the Hudson River. In September-October 1909, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration was celebrated in New York City and on the Hudson River with parades, exhibits and re-enactments of the earlier voyages in New York Harbor and on the Hudson River. Thousands participated in this extravaganza which lasted for more than two weeks.

hudson fulton spoon die

This image is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pictured is the actual spoon die used to create this spoon

Die for upper section of Hudson-Fulton Celebration Souvenir Spoon
Maker:Tiffany & Co. (1837–present)
Date:ca. 1909
Geography:Made in New York, New York, United States
Dimensions:7 5/8 x 2 x 2 3/4 in. (19.4 x 5.1 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Tiffany & Company, 1985
Accession Number:1985.191.9a

Pan Pacific International Exposition (PPIE 1915)

Panama Canal Exposition

The 1915 San Francisco-Panama Canal exposition was a major exposition  to honor the opening of the Panama Canal and celebrate the "riches" of California. A variety of spoons are available from this magnificent exposition and the similar (but smaller) San Diego exposition. The spoons for this fair have been expanded and combined with Panama Canal spoons and placed in a separate exhibit. Click the links to see these beautiful and interesting spoons.

Click to visit the Pan-Pacific International Exposition exhibit San Francisco (PPIE)

Click to visit the Pan Pacific International Exposition exhibit San Diego


A world fair held in Philadelphia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence

This was a much smaller event and this is the only spoon from this event that I know about

spoon philadelphia exposition 1926

Silver plated spoon by Roger Bros.

Chicago "a Century of Progress"


In the depths of the Great Depression, Chicago tried to recreate the great success of the earlier Columbian World Fair of 1893. They were not entirely successful, but were able to stage a presentable world fair.

Click to see Chicago "Century of Progress" spoon exhibit

Empire Exhibition of Scotland (1938)

A British international exhibition held in Glasgow from May to Dec, 1938

empire exhibition of Scotland spoon  
silver plated spoon from the Empire Exhibition of Scotland

New York World Fair -- 1939

This "futuristic" Fair opened in New York City just prior to the beginning of World War ll.

Click to see the New York World Fair Spoons exhibit

Golden Gate International Exposition San Francisco -- 1939

Click to see some fabulous spoons from this exhibition

Seattle World Fair

The spoons shown here are the Official spoons for the Seattle World's Fair and were patented in 1961. 

These are the only two official sterling spoons that I know about from this fair. The space needle (left) is a well known landmark. The second spoon (front and back) shows various images from the 1962 world fair

The vermeil bowl is engraved "World Fair Seattle 1962" The totem pole handle  is from an old die ca. 1900. The quality of the enamel work is not nearly as good as it should be.

Montreal, Canada -- 1967

 This silver plated demi is the only souvenir spoon from this fair of which I am aware.

Some cities built exposition buildings to attract smaller trade shows. Sometimes these buildings were of significant interest to justify the production of a few spoons. These are usually hand engraved in small lots. 

kansas expo building Kansas city spoons are readily available.  

  milwaukee expo buildingMinneapolis spoons are rarer

Centennial Exhibition

In 1876 the Centennial Exhibition was held in Philadelphia. This was fifteen years before the start of the Souvenir Spoon Movement in the United States and at the very inception of the Art Nuevo period. I have a very unusual spoon which I believe dates to this exhibition. If you would like to see it click Queen Victoria.

Many other world fair spoons and other types of souvenirs are avidly collected.