Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
Details: Cast iron; painted flat black. Measures 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ with three short feet; unsigned on the reverse. Backcoping (routing out of the reverse of the pattern) is noted.
As I was completing the research for my first trivet book (The A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets, 2004) I suspected this trivet might have some relationship to the Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. I emailed Kerry Mohn, who was at that time their Curator of Genealogy, Research, and Collections. He shared the following information in September 2002.
● The trivet was sold for many years in the Museum Store operated by the Ephrata Cloister Associates in two formats: finished (painted black) and unfinished.
● A description of the image, printed on a card, came with the trivet. The design was based on a water mark used in paper making at the Ephrata Community paper mill up to 1745.
● The trivet was made at the Unicast Foundry in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. In 1959 the trivets sold for $0.79 each or $1.50 a pair. In the 1965-66 the finished trivets sold for $1.50 each.
I recently contacted Mr. Mohn again. He continues to serve as the Ephrata Cloister Curator and answered these final two questions.
Question #1: When you mentioned this trivet appearing in catalogs, were they Unicast catalogs or Ephrata Museum Store catalogs?
Answer: The catalogs I mentioned were Ephrata Cloister Museum Store catalogs.
Question #2: Do you know why the wording on the trivet is EFRATA while the Cloister is EPHRATA?
Answer: The spelling EFRATA on the trivet is a Biblical spelling. You also see the spelling “Ephratah” in the Bible.
PS: The Unicast Company in Boyertown is still in business today, producing commercial gray iron castings ranging from ounces to 500 pounds.