Tonight we are looking at a metal spoon produced in the UK for use by the Indian Army:We can tell that this spoon was destined for India as it is marked with an /|\ over an ‘I’ mark on the rear:This was the military acceptance mark for India and is seen on a variety of British and Indian made military items used by the forces in the sub-continent. This spoon though was made in Sheffield and is marked with the makers stamp ‘SSPC&Co’:This stands for the Sheffield Silver Plate and Cutlery Company Ltd, of Priestlet Street Sheffield. A 1921 dated advert by the company shows some of the designs of flatware they offered:I suspect that this spoon was manufactured between the wars, as by the Second World War India was increasingly reliant on domestic manufacture to meet the needs of its military forces, as described in this exert from ‘The History of the Supply Department’
This industry, has been pursued on a small scale by the village blacksmith from times immemorial. In recent times larger units of production have come into being owned by enterprising smiths or others. The lines of production largely conformed to the rural requirements—namely, knives of various kinds, spoons, butcher’s implements, farm implements like sickles etc. Factories worked with steam or electric power were also started and these made cutlery of the modern type and surgical instruments. But such production continued to be small for long and the large proportion of the pen-knives, table knives, scissors, razors, spoons and forks etc. used in cities and towns was imported.
Production is scattered throughout the country but there are certain areas which enjoy notable hereditary skill; for instance, Aligarh and Moradabad in U.F.: Nizamabad and Wazirabad in the Punjab. The bigger factories are located in cities like Calcutta, Lahore and Bombay. The industry was mostly dependent on imported steel.
The war created a large demand for spoons, which gave a fillip to the industry. The Supply Department dealt with some of the larger producers. In other cases orders were placed with contractors who purchased partly wrought articles from rural areas and got them finished in workshops maintained by them. The production enormously increased and the total military demands in 1943 came to 5,800,000 pieces valued at Rs. 96 lacks. The Supply Department mostly purchased knives clasp, knives table, forks, spoons, locks and padlocks, The purchases of all kinds during 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945 were Rs. 10,300,000, Rs. 4,100,000, Rs. 6,200,000 and 4,750,000 respectively.
The goods now made to meet Defence demands are also suitable for civilian markets except that a greater variety may be required.