Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!

Vintage trivets

Many questions received from collectors revolve around history, age and/or value. This is the second of three blog posts to help you better evaluate the trivets in your collection. See also Antique trivets and Reproduction trivets.

Mirriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of vintage: of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality; dating from the past.

Older vintage trivets

Older, pre-WW2 trivets often fall in a gray area where it becomes harder to judge origin and age. Here are some quick pointers for identifying older vintage trivets.

● Familiar antique designs continued to be produced.
● Vintage trivets were cast through the rim, leaving a gate mark.
● Machine grinding after 1900 meant the end of rough, prominent gate marks.
● Vintage trivets sometimes had a stock number the reverse.
● Over the decades legs were shorter, allowing for wall display.
● Popular finishes were black enamel, nickel plating or copper plating.

Mid 20th century trivets

World War 2 interrupted the production of household metalware, since iron and steel was funneled into making armaments. After the war, trivet foundry production resumed with an emphasis on decorative trivets for housewives.

The majority of trivets dating from the 1950s-1980s are reproductions of antique trivet designs, often referred to as “repros”. Most have short feet less than 1″, making them ideal for decorative wall display or casual tabletop use. However, some foundries created new, copyrighted patterns; Virginia Metalcrafters is noted for having created more original trivet designs than any other company.

Begin by turning over your trivet. Most contemporary trivets are easy to identify from one or more of these markings on the reverse: the foundry name, company logo, a lot or stock number, the design name or a date. Below are the hallmarks (logos) of Virginia Metalcrafters.

Additional clues in determining age

● Copyright Symbol © was introduced in 1914.

● Adhesive price stickers were introduced in 1935.

● Trivets sold with rubber or plastic caps on the feet postdate 1945.

● Telephone Area Code postdates 1947.

● Registered Trademark Symbol ® was introduced in 1949.

● Zip Code was introduced on July 1, 1963.

● Bar Code (scanning code) was introduced on June 26, 1974.

Knowing when a country was established is useful

● Korea was divided into North and South in 1945

● India was established in 1947

● Israel was established in 1948

● Taiwan was established in 1949

● Occupied Japan refers to the post World War II years of 1945-1952

● Items labeled Japan date from 1952.

Mid 20th century unique designs

The ABA Trivet

A number of mid 20th century trivets with unique designs were created in smaller quantities, making them even more collectible. They’re discussed in my second book The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets (2010).

● The American Bell Association (ABA) trivet 

Electric Furnace Man (EFM) trivets

Pal-Bell Trivets


This entry was posted on August 16, 2017 by in Collecting Basics, Vintage Trivets & Stands and tagged , , , , .

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