A rare early silver Gibson spoon with crisp hallmarks on the body and the lid, dating to 1829 and signed by Charles Rawlins and William Summer.
The spoon was invented by Charles Gibson in 1827 and first produced in 1928 when it won the Society of Arts award. It was successfully manufactured by him and patents were sold to others who continued production for the next 100 years. They were relatively expensive nearly 200 years ago and were sold to wealthy Londoners, royals, European nobility and used by prestigious doctors caring for the prosperous sick.
See this early account of the design of Gibson’s spoon. With the lid closed and the proximal end of the hollow tube occluded with a thumb, the medication would remain in place in the airtight bowl. With two fingers resting on the flange of the tube for support and with the open spout in the patient’s mouth, removing the thumb from the proximal end would let air into the bowl allowing the medication to flow. One advantage was the ability to deliver bad tasting medication behind the taste buds. It was also helpful for administering medication to comatose or invalid patients when a single carer could still have one hand free.
This rare early example is fully hallmarked on the interior bowl. The lion passant confirms sterling silver content, the letter “O” is the London code for 1829, a leopard’s head uncrowned was the London tax mark and the profile of King George IV facing right showed the reigning English sovereign (1820 to 1830). The letters CR over WS is the makers mark for the prestigious London silversmiths Charles Rawlins and William Summer. The lid interior is also hallmarked with the “O” and “lion passant”.