Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Temple Spoon, 1893

The Temple Spoon, 1893

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 21, 2013

The J.H. Leyson jewelry company, doing business with various partners under variant company names from the 1870s to the 1980s, was one of Salt Lake City’s most upscale jewelers. It doesn’t surprise me at all that this company came up with what I think is the first souvenir spoon to feature a Mormon or Utah design. Leyson’s “temple spoon” was manufactured in 1893, the same year the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated. These two advertisements appeared in Salt Lake’s newspapers (Salt Lake Herald on the left; Deseret News on the right) day after day for months that year:

. . . . . . . . . . . .


And here is a photograph of the actual spoon:



A lot of souvenirs and “collectibles” with Mormon themes have been made through the years: jewelry, plates, textiles, medals, ribbons, tokens. Some of them, like this spoon, were created commercially; others were issued by Church auxiliaries or were used in Church activities and services (see here and here for examples). I have a number of such things and will post pictures from time to time if there’s any interest – and if you have such things and would like to share them, send your pictures to AEParshall [at] aol [dot] com, along with anything you know about provenance (that word again). (Since I can’t guess what-all might be out there, I suppose I should say that I can’t promise to post everything that might come in, but if it’s interesting, different, and the pictures are clear, I’ll try.)



  1. Ardis, this is great. It’ll be fascinating to see what shows up.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — May 21, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  2. Oh, I’ve got to go to Rite-Aid on Main Street and take a picture of the tackiest snow globes ever. They have little molds of Utah tourist destinations around the bottom and the snow globe is, of course, the Christus from the Visitors’ Center. Maybe I should buy you one. But I suppose I’m already hijacking this as you want the historical stuff. Just keep the snow globe long enough and it will be historic.

    By the way, did you know the National Historical Register considers something eligible for listing if it is over 50 years old? Some of us qualify.

    Comment by Grant — May 21, 2013 @ 9:17 am

  3. If readers will show-and-tell, Gary, there could well be some really good stuff.

    Grant, some of my collection is the 1910s version of your tacky snowglobe, with only the patina of age to give it any pretense of dignity.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 21, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  4. Hmmm…glass grapes, that RS work day project from the 60’s, come to mind.

    Comment by Julie — May 21, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  5. Produce a picture, or it didn’t happen!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 21, 2013 @ 10:05 am

  6. Ardis, that reminds me of that tacky Ogden commemorative 30-30 rifle ad that I showed you, with the Angel Moroni on the stock and the “Ogden” Temple with all six(!) spires. I will scan that today if you feel tempted to post that picture.

    Comment by kevinf — May 21, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  7. You’ve sent it to me, kevinf (thanks) and I do intend to post it — it’s a beaut.

    Maybe we should run two series — the tacky mementoes, and the ones that, like this spoon, actually have something lovely about them. I’d include the glass grapes Julie mentions in the “something lovely” category.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 21, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  8. Ardis, I will agree there is little that is praiseworthy, lovely, or of good report in that one.

    Comment by kevinf — May 21, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

  9. Somewhere along the way I tossed out the glass grapes–wish I had kept them just to show my daughter and daughters-in-law.

    Comment by Maurine — May 21, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  10. I went to Rite-Aid on my lunch break and dag-nab-it! Those snow globes were gone. I shoulda bought one when I had the chance.

    Comment by Grant — May 21, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  11. I have a picture somewhere of a statue of Pres. Hinckley waving. I have heard of a CTR swiss army knife!

    Comment by Cameron — May 21, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

  12. Not exactly Church related nic-naks, but does anyone remember those Utah postcards with little bags of either salt or copper ore stapled to one end? I thought they were great when I was a kid in the early 50’s. I expect that the post office hated them.

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — May 22, 2013 @ 8:34 am

  13. My former mother-in-law bought a commemorative coin (about 2 inches in diameter) when she attended the open house of the Washington DC temple in the mid-70’s. When her son and I were married in 1980 in the DC temple, she had our wedding date engraved on the back and gave it to us as a wedding gift. I no longer have the coin due to a nasty divorce.

    But a member of my current ward has one just like it (minus the engraving) displayed on a bookshelf in her home. I had forgotten completely about “my” coin until I saw hers recently.

    Comment by Fiona — May 22, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

  14. Ah! I hadn’t heard about that particular coin, Fiona, but it fits into a tradition of other Mormon commemorative objects. When they dedicated a plaque, for instance, on the boyhood home of Karl Maeser in Meissen sometime in the early 20th century, they had coins/medals struck for the German Mission missionaries and any members who wanted to buy them.


    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 22, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

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