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MODEL 1874 US ARMY MESS SPOON – INTERESTING VARIANT:  Smaller than the standard issue Indian War Period US Army Issue M1874 Mess Spoon, but identical to the standard pattern, the first small quantity of these smaller versions I obtained were found years ago in a box tucked away in an old wooden barracks building on Fort Sam Houston, here in San Antonio, Texas.   

The recognized Model 1874 Mess Spoon pattern was roughly the same length as the fork and knife, approximately 6 ˝ - 7” long.  These smaller versions, while having the identical embossed pattern as the larger spoons, are only 5 ˝” long, like the smaller teaspoons in a normal silver service.  There is no known record of the army’s use of this smaller version, however there is no doubt they were found in a context that ties them to the Frontier Army.  Lightweight in construction like the standard issue tin spoons, they were no where near as strong as the Model 1874 Knife and Fork.  As a result, the Mess spoon did not survive in the same numbers as the other two utensils, and is often missing from an Indian War display.  

I’ve recently obtained a limited second quantity of these spoons, identical in every way to the first lot found on Ft. Sam Houston.  These are unmarked as was common for all but the earliest production of the Model 1874 Spoons.  Except for the size, these spoons are the exact pattern spoon chosen by the Ordnance Equipment Board in 1874 and produced by Lamson, Goodenew & Co. of New York.  This same pattern spoon is shown is a number of different references to include Ordnance Memoranda No. 19, Infantry Equipment 1874 and one of these spoons is photographed against the diagram plate of Ordnance Memoranda No. 19 which contains the line drawing of the utensils.  The spoons are in very good condition with a considerable amount of the original tin plating remaining.  Never particularly common, the Model 1874 Mess spoons have become scarce on the market and it is difficult to find a decent one to complete your saddlebags or haversack in conjunction with the mess kit, cup, and ration bags.  These smaller examples will serve nicely or be an unusual addition to your mess equipment collection.  $50



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