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Orange Holder

In the years following the Civil War, Florida expanded its train systems, and by the end of the century, oranges could be transported from Florida to markets in New York or Boston within a week. Citrus fruits were still exotic, though, and deemed worthy of specialized serving forms like this orange holder. Railways, in addition to other improvements in transportation and preservation, caused a proliferation of foodstuffs in American dining rooms. These innovations resulted in myriad specialized forms that served these new delicacies, including asparagus tongs, ice cream spoons, and olive forks. This orange holder used spikes to keep a halved orange steady while the diner ate. The design was patented in 1895 by Walter Smith for the Pairpont Manufacturing Company, a prominent maker of silver-plate housewares.

Geography: Manufactured in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Culture: American

Period: 19th century

Credit: Gift of José L. Miñán, B.A. 2006, J.D. 2009

Designed 1894, patented 1895
Silverplate
8.6 x 11.1 x 8.9 cm
2011.121.1
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Yale University Art Gallery
Permanent collection