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Author Topic:   Nomenclature

Posts: 31
Registered: Sep 99

iconnumber posted 05-16-2000 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am now quite confused with regard to the following common descriptive terms:
1. fiddle back
2. fiddle
3. tipt

Surely this is elementary but would someone clarify what these terms really mean? Usage on eBay seems to be ambiguous at times.
In particular I thought fiddle back probably had some reference to the shape of the violin. However it seems to be also used to describe handles which do not have the violin waist.

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Posts: 136
Registered: Oct 99

iconnumber posted 05-16-2000 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I heartily recommend the book "Marks of American Silversmiths in the Ineson-Bissell Collection" by Louise Conway Belden. Look at the Glossary of Spoon Terms at the back of the book.

You will find examples of fiddle handled spoons identified as just plain "fiddle" in addition to that description modified as broad, coffin, double-swell, oval and tipped.

The word "tipt" or "tipped" refers to a traditional design for reinforcement of the handle end of a spoon. The tipping may be on the front or back of the handle and is a rudimentary or vestigial rib which appears somewhat like the rounded side of the letter "B".

The vertical bar of the "B" would not be part of this feature and the rounded side of the "B" would be towards the handle end of the spoon. Once, you have seen one, you know what it looks like. However, I'm sure someone can describe it better than I.

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Bob Schulhof

Posts: 194
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 05-30-2000 01:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Schulhof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Belden book seems like an indispensable reference. Do you know where to get one? Is it out of print?

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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 05-30-2000 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Belden is unfortunately out of print and a copy recently sold on ebay for $1500. I may have to start locking my copy in the vault and leave the silver out on the table. I discussed the possibility of a new edition about a year ago, but Winterthur thought it unlikely. The listings would require extensive up-dating and additions and they feel the time and cost would be prohibative. (Anyone know if Bill Gates is interested in silver?) One idea I had would be to reprint the glossary section alone, as it is the best standardization of nomenclature I've seen. This would be a fairly simple production and given what I read on ebay and hear in the shops, is desperately needed in wide distribution.

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Posts: 31
Registered: Sep 99

iconnumber posted 05-30-2000 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that Belden has the best glossary of spoon terms. However there are still some problems which I was trying to get at in my original post. For example does "back" mean "down" as opposed to "up" when used with tipt...I have been assuming that up and down and back refer to the direction in which the end of the handle is bent...Belden does not show this distinction altho it seems to be an important factor in dating. Belden shows an example of "fiddle tipped" together with two other fiddle designs which are tipped but the adjective is not used therein.
After looking at Belden for a time I have concluded that "fiddle" means the handle has a definate widening as it approches the end of itself.
Of course part of the problem is that not all people use the same nomenclature.

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