The crumb scoop was a Victorian invention which arrived in the 1850s, however the majority date back to the late 19th, early 20th Century. The crumb scoop was an important dinner table accessory, designed to be used by servants to literally scoop away the crumbs made during dinner, creating a clean table before dessert was served.
The wide blade at the front collected the crumbs, which were subsequently held in place by the low curved rim at the back of the scoop. Sometimes a crumb scoop would come with an accompanying crumb tray; which is essentially a small tray with one flat undecorated edge where are the crumbs are swept using the crumb scoop.
Design and Material of the Crumb Scoop
The design of a crumb scoop can vary greatly; for example, it could be very plain, displaying little decoration, or elaborately decorative, with heavily engraved blades and fluted ivory or stag horn handles.
If the crumb scoop was indeed rather decorative then often a common design was for the blade to be engraved with floral motifs.
Usually the material of choice is silver; silver handle and blade, however examples of silver crumb scoops are rare, silver plate examples on the other hand are not in as short supply. There are of course other materials that were popular for the long horizontal crumb scoop handle; bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl, ivorine or wood.
Today the crumb scoop is a rarity- after the First World War they went out of fashion. However, you may still locate one in an elegant restaurant; keep your eyes peeled for this deluxe item of antique silverware.