Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
Front cover of the 1968 Emig catalog
Robert Emig Products of Reading, Pennsylvania was a distributor of decorative metalware. Contracts were signed with independent foundries to create the castings; Emig then finished and distributed the individual products.
Robert Emig Products was incorporated as a business on December 20, 1956. I have several of their catalogs. In the 1968 catalog their main offices, showroom and factory were located in Reading, PA at 430 North Second Street. In the 1979 and 1981 catalogs their location had moved to 500 North Third Street.
Other permanent showrooms at various points in the company’s history were in the following cities: Los Angeles, CA; Chester, CT; Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Bedford, MA; Detroit, MI; Northville, MI; Minnetonka, MN; Kansas City, MO; New York, NY; Columbus, OH; and Dallas, TX.
Emig sold cast iron Inn signs, firemarks, planters, wall and table accessories, bookends, desk and smoking accessories, switchplates, clocks, patio and fireside accessories, lamps, brackets and hooks, toys, mirrors, candleholders, kitchen and bath accessories, decorative American eagles … and trivets!
Their line of trivets included reproductions of the most popular antique designs as well several original designs. In addition, Emig modified the handles of a few trivet designs, giving them an updated look. The trivets were individually boxed with the Emig logo prominently on the top.
Emig cast iron trivets were lighter for their size, shallower cast, and flat on front and back. All had short feet for wall display. Common signatures on the reverse included M (regular sized trivet) or MT (small sized trivet); EMIG; and the letter T followed by a stock number. Novelty motto trivets were identified with a 3 or 4 digit stock number.
G. Robert Emig was the founder and president of Robert Emig Products. His wife Dorothy D. Emig served as vice president of the company until her retirement in 1985. Robert Emig passed away on June 10, 1989 and his wife followed him on December 12, 2002.
I have not found documentation of the actual date or details of the company’s closing. If you have this information, please contact me and I’ll share it in this blog post as an update.
The five Emig catalogs in my collection range from 1963 to 1981. The 1979 catalog bears the cover title “Emig Cast Metal Products” and contains 8 pages of “English Bronze” and bronze finished giftware not seen in earlier catalogs. It’s still referred to as Robert Emig Products, Inc. on the back cover.
The 1981 catalog continues this trend, adding a line of brass not seen in previous catalogs. There are 9 pages of solid brass accessories and 3 pages of brass over pewter figurines. The other 14 pages offer miscellaneous cast iron or bronze items; there’s one page of motto trivets and another page with only six cast iron trivets. This 1981 catalog is the first to bear the designation “Emig Metal Craftsmen” on both the front and back covers. It appears Emig may have been attempting to diversify beyond the cast iron items they offered in earlier years.
The following Gallery contains images of trivets from my Emig catalogs. Emig had a limited number of designs and repeated them through the years, using the same stock numbers. I’ve shared an overview of the trivets and trivet-related items Emig offered for sale from 1963 to 1981.
It was very thoughtful of Kathy Kaps Neptun to contact me and share these details about her mother’s connection with Emig Products.
My late mother Irma Kaps lived in Peoria, Illinois. She worked at Robert Emig Products from 1960 until 1988 and put together all of his catalogs. She traveled all over the country, searching antique shops and flea markets, looking for items to be reproduced.
She attended all of the Trade Shows all over the country and represented Mr. Emig for all those years. His son Larry ran the company for some time after his father’s passing along with his wife, Mary Bowe and his sister Cynthia Miller. Mrs. Emig served as vice-president until her retirement.
I don’t have any catalogs or printed matter, as my mother did not collect things. Not even birthday cards or invitations. I only have a few of Robert Emig’s items: book ends, garden signs and switch plates.
Question: I own a cast iron piece signed Emig and the number 1452. It looks like trivets that were converted into a paper towel holder. Can you help me figure out what it was originally? I’ve enclosed some images.
Answer: I have several Emig catalogs and each one advertised paper towel holders. Yours appeared in the Emig 1979 catalog. Each end piece was cast from a single mold, rather than being three connected trivets. That page has been added to the Emig Gallery.
Clicking the first image will open a Slideshow. There are controls at the bottom of each screen to enlarge the image to full resolution. Click again (+) to zoom in.