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Childs, Otis
Place Made:
Milledgeville Georgia United States of America
Date Made:
LOA: 6″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Set of four coin silver teaspoons with fiddle-shaped handles with rounded ends and gently peaked shoulders.

INSCRIPTION: Each engraved on face of handle with a script initial “A” above an engraved flourish.

MARK: Struck on reverse of handle with an intaglio “O.CHILDS.” in a rectangular reserve.

MAKER: Otis Childs (1811-1899) was born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts and probably learned his trade in nearby Springfield. During the 1830s he may have worked as journeyman jeweler in Newark, New Jersey but he had certainly moved to Milledgeville, Georgia by 1836, where he purchased the shop of Jacob Fogle (b.1803). He married Abigail Holman (1813-1879) of Springfield, Massachusetts on 14 February 1838. In October 1839 Childs advertised Birmingham and Sheffield plated wares, watches, and watchmaking tools. It seems that he continued operating his shop in Milledgeville through the 1850s but in 1847 he formed a partnership in Athens, Georgia with his younger brother Asaph King Childs (1820-1902). The firm was discontinued at the outbreak of the Civil War and not resumed afterwards. Otis Childs also appeared in the 1850 census taken at Milledgeville GA, listed as a jeweler. He was a partner from 1852 to 1860 in the Milledgeville firm of Childs & Chamberlain. Otis Childs returned North and was listed as living in Springfield, Massachusetts, without an occupation, in the 1870 Federal Census. He died on 6 January 1899 in Newton, Massachusetts. See George Barton Cutten, “The Silversmiths of Georgia” (Savannah, GA: Pigeonhole Press, 1958) and entry for Otis Childs in William Erik Voss, “Silversmiths & Related Craftsmen” (online: [accessed 15 September 2017]).

FORM: By the nineteenth century, spoons were crafted for such specific purposes as serving salt and sugar (salt spoons), food items (serving spoons), punch and soup (ladles), and for stirring tea or coffee and/or eating custard or ice cream (teaspoons).

Credit Line:
Gift of Beth Mercier