Antique hand wrought iron ladle with twisted ornamental handle and nicely formed hanging loop made from a curled tang (see all nine Photos). The ladle is constructed from two pieces of blacksmith hammered iron produced before commercially rolled stock replaced individually hand wrought parts in the mid to late 1800s. The date range assigned to this ladle is c1780 to c1840, hence a c1810 mid-date, although this ladle could also be even older. The circular hanging loop at the end of the handle has a small additional curled tail probably to prevent the pointed end of the loop from causing problems. Handle hanging loops like this one but lacking the added small terminal mini-loop also occur on examples of American and English hand wrought kitchen and hearth utensils and seem to be more common and slightly later in time period. Other examples of American and English iron utensils either have hanging holes punched through a flattened and splayed handle terminal or a backward bent handle terminus that can be placed over a hook. Of these three styles of handle terminal ends, the hand formed hanging hoop on this ladle is both the more attractive form and also required a little more effort from the iron smith to complete. And like most colonial wrought iron utensils, there are no makers marks or factory names.
This ladle is 17 inches long and the handle is hand beaten (i.e., hand wrought) from an original iron bar that was 13 1/2 inches long by 3/8 inches wide and about 3/16 inches thick. Starting about one inch from the at the bowl, the following six inches of this iron bar was distorted by turning one part of the hot iron bar while keeping the other parts fixed so that twists were added. The black smith held the hot malleable bar about midway and also about one inch up from one end to form the twists. He then turned the bar three full 360 degree turns to form the twisted portion of the handle. Three full revolutions creates to the eye about 7 decorative twists (see Photos). Furthermore, adding these twists also collapsed 5 5/8 linear inches of the iron bar into 4 5/8 linear inches of twisted handle. One can measure this effect by placing string along one of the original edges of bar in the twisted portion and then removing it to determine the original length. Photos 6, 7, and 8 show a hand wrought iron poker or chaining pin for comparison only that also has twists added and that dates from the 1800s. Only the iron ladle is for sale here.
The portion of the handle held by someone using the ladle has also been worked. Starting above the twists, the blacksmith beat and gradually flattened the original bar to make the handle wider. This was only done along the broad side or face of the original bar until about the last 3 inches where the smith had to bring one side back in so that the last portion of the handle was rectangular with parallel edges. This reworking of the final 3 inches of the handle left behind a small linear wrinkle or fold along one edge on the underside of the back of the handle. Photos 2 and 4 show this linear wrinkle located just in from one edge on the back of the handle. And as a result, the non-twisted portion of the handle is thickest when viewed from the side just beyond the twisted portion in both directions where the original iron bar remains intact and unchanged. The thickness of the handle is thinnest toward the hanging loop where it was hammered and beaten the most in order to form a broad face for grasping and use (see Photos 5 and 4 for these changes).
The workmanship on this iron ladle suggests a very experienced black smith. The junction where the bowl and handle merge has been so well melded that it appears as if the ladle was constructed from one piece of iron. However, such was not the case since the handle is created from a linear bar whereas the bowl is formed from a larger and flatter piece of iron that would have likely been two to three times as thick as the bar used for the handle. In any event, the end result created a rounded cup-shaped bowl that is 3 3/4 inches across at the rim and about 7/8 inches deep. The bowl is melded to the handle without leaving an obvious joint or seam. This was done by beating and splaying end of the handle so that it merges with the bowl in all directions making the top edge (rim) of the bowl slightly thicker on either side of the handle adjacent to its junction. Photo 3 shows this thickening along the rim and adjacent to the handle junction.
This is a wonderful example of colonial or Federal period ironsmithing. These iron antiques are getting harder and harder to find as many of the better examples have been placed in Museums and major collections over the past 80 years. The ladle offered here has simple decorative features and yet was made for common daily use. The bowl has some grayish areas that may be the remains of a tin coating or may simply be staining from decades of use. There is also some fine chalk-like grime and thin patches of oxidation adhering to the ladle here and there as expected for its age and past use (see Condition section farther below for complete details). Still, another iron ladle with similar features would be hard to find today without paying twice as much as asked here. Finally, this ladle also comes with a full satisfaction guarantee or you may return it post marked by 14 days for a refund if you are not 100% satisfied (see my return policy below for full details). You also have the option to design a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this ladle by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let me take care of setting it up as requested (installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email).
SIZE & CONDITION: As noted above, this wrought iron ladle is 17 inches long and its handle section is 13 1/2 inches long by 3/8 inches wide and 3/16 inches thick. The cup-shaped bowl on this ladle is about 3 3/4 inches in diameter and about 7/8 inches deep. This iron ladle is in very good condition with no major pockets of rust, a surface patina formed of fine grit and light surface patches of oxidized iron scattered across blackened iron (see all Photos). There are no repairs or restoration and the ladle is as it was made some 170 to 225+ years ago. The bowl has a short split or broken fold along the rim that is about 1/2 inch long and that runs perpendicular to the rim (this split is shown in Photo 9 with a pencil pointing to it). Several other folds in the iron are also evident on the back of the bowl but do not penetrate through the bowl. These folds are a result of how the bowl was formed and beaten. Along one of the folds near the center of the bowl, there is a tiny pin hole that lets light through when held up to a light source. It is smaller than a pin head and not visible unless viewed under strong light up close (it is shown in Photo 9 with a red pen pointing to it). Beyond this, the ladle has no other defects and no deep scratches, repairs or restoration. Of course, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return the ladle for a refund (see our complete return policy noted below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $10.80 for well packed USPS Priority and this is an estimated savings of $1 to $4 since insurance and tracking are also INCLUDED in this amount. The insured postage you pay is less than our actual costs and there are never any handling or packing fees. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland since we strive to help reduce insured postage costs for everyone no matter where they live. We ask the International customer to send us their confirmed address for an email quote covering several International shipping options to your location. Please note that International import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with their purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of original receipt for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
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