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A soup spoon is a type of spoon with a large or rounded bowl, used for consuming soup. The term can either refer to the British soup spoon or the Chinese spoon. Round bowled soup spoons were a Victorian invention. Canteens of silver made prior to about 1900 do not have round soup spoons; a tablespoon was used (and still is in some British houses where the silver predates 1900). Anyone wishing to verify this has only to study the vast suite of Georgian silver in the Royal Collection ("The Grand Service" sic) which has neither modern-shaped soup spoons (or fish knives and forks)[clarification needed]. In some houses they are regarded as vulgar.[by whom?]
The Chinese soup spoon, usually ceramic and of a distinct shape, can vary in size from normal soup spoon size to near-platter size.
The British soup spoon is the size of a dessert spoon (i.e., smaller than a tablespoon) but with a deeper, more circular bowl for holding liquid. Modern soup spoons are usually stainless steel or silver-plated, but in the past wooden and horn spoons were more common. The idea of including a separate soup spoon in a table setting originated in the eighteenth century, when the bowl shapes varied widely, deep or shallow, oval, pointed, egg-shaped or circular. Spoon shapes became more standardized in nineteenth-century silverware.
The rounded form of soup spoon is not generally used in continental Europe, where an oval-shaped spoon is traditionally used.