Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2020, Consulting the Silver Expert

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman


Originally, mustard was used dry, and casters were used for serving it. When, in the 18th century, vinegar or wine was added to make a paste, sterling mustard pots were used, virtually all of them having cut-outs in the cover to accommodate a small spoon or ladle. The first mustard pots had internal gilding to prevent etching from the acidic ingredients. Pierced or solid bodies with glass liners followed. Most antique pots have hinged covers, but many later designs have less expensive hinge-free covers. Some were made as parts of condiment sets which included salts and peppers. Mustard spoons, which are larger than salt spoons, were made by the silversmith specifically for that pot or purchased as an accessory piece in the same style as the flatware service. Because of their diminutive size, mustard spoons would often go missing and be replaced with other spoons of their approximate size.

This three-inch tall sterling mustard pot with green enamel interior was made by the Georg Jensen company of Denmark. Both pot and spoon are in the Cactus pattern. Image courtesy of Drucker Antiques.

Caring for Your Mustard Pot

Silver mustard pots with no liner will require removal of the mustard after your event. Why? Mustard contains acidic ingredients that will eventually etch your silver. If the mustard is gilded on its interior, the gold will stave off etching. Of course, if it has a porcelain or glass liner, etching is of no concern. If your mustard pot requires cleaning or polishing prior to use, make sure to visit The Care of Silver.

Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either contact him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or via email: jeff @

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.