Butter pick ("Grass")


George W. Shiebler & Co. ( American, 1876 - 1910 )

c. 1880–1890
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General Description

Due to its price and perishability, butter remained a luxury item used sparingly throughout the 19th century. As a result, manufacturers developed butter picks with which a host or servant would apportion pats of butter to guests. Shaped like a single blade of grass terminated by intertwined roots that function as handle and tines respectively, this pick reflects the influence of metalwork of Meiji period Japan, characterized by a fusion of naturalism and functionalism, as well as the innovation of designer George Shiebler.

Drawn from

  • Charles L. Venable, Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art; New York, New York; Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994), 128, 140-141, 339.

  • Hannah Sigur, The Influence of Japanese Art on Design (Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith, 2008), 160.

Web Resources

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Read more about Nineteenth-Century American Silver.