Q: I have a souvenir spoon with an American Indian figure on the handle and this mark on the back. Can you tell me who made it?
A: This mark was used by Joseph Mayer & Bros., a company in business from about 1895 to 1945. Joseph and his brothers, Albert and Marcus, emigrated from Germany and established a business in Seattle, Washington, in about 1895. Albert and Marcus moved to Dawson City, Yukon, in 1897 during the Gold Rush there and opened a jewelry store. When they came back to Seattle a few years later, Joseph Mayer & Bros. changed its mark from a fleur-de-lis in a triangle to a pick and shovel mark, representing the brothers’ Gold Rush venture. Various versions of the mark were used, and the pick and shovel changed positions. The company made souvenir spoons, sterling silver flatware and hollowware, and jewelry for wholesalers. In 1920 the business was split. Albert and Marcus established Mayer Brothers Wholesale Jewelry Co., while Joseph continued to do manufacturing as Joseph Mayer, Inc. Joseph’s company eventually became E. J. Towle Manufacturing Co. Since the mark on your spoon includes “M & B,” it was probably made between about 1900 and 1920, the year the brothers split up and the name of the company was changed.