Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
The following provides an update to the Colt discussion presented in my second book The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets, 2010 (p. 119-120).
For years I’ve observed Colt logo trivets alternately described as an antique or stated to be a piece of Colt firearms memorabilia. It’s much more complicated! Let me explain.
Berney, Glissman, and other pressing iron experts have long associated the Colt trivet design with the J. B. Colt Carbide Gas Flatiron. In Pressing Irons and Trivets, 1977 (p. 80) Esther Berney shows a photo of a J. B. Colt Carbide Gas Iron, stating, “This iron was used with their Colt Carbide-Feed Acetylene Gas Generator, circa 1903.”
From the 1930 Colt Carbide Gas Guide, page 20.
Take a closer look at the ironing board in the image above. The housewife is using a Colt trivet with her Colt Carbide Gas Iron, which definitively pairs the trivet with its companion gas iron.
In The Evolution Of The Sad Iron, 1970 (p. 153) A.H. Glissman wrote, “It has been the belief for many years that the Colt trivet was made by the Colt Gun Company. The likeness of the signature and the popularity of the Colt gun could easily lead people to make this mistake. These advertisements (2 ads were pictured in his book) from the Cosmopolitan magazines of 1902 and 1903, and the company’s printed directions, prove otherwise. In 1925, my sister’s ranch in Montana was equipped with a Colt generator. Lights were installed both inside and out on the house. They were also furnished with a Colt flatiron.”
In researching my second book I contacted the Colt Manufacturing (firearms) Archive Department. Beverly Haynes, the Colt Archivist stated that, after searching the memorabilia library, she was unable to provide any concrete information on a “Colt” Trivet.
However, some interesting information was provided by author John Ogle, author of the Colt Memorabilia Price Guide, 1998. John’s information source regarding the Colt trivet was the late Marty Huber, who worked for Colt Firearms from 1936 to 1993 and was the official Colt Historian from 1973 to 1993.
Marty Huber revealed that an unspecified number of Colt trivets were cast for a 1982 Colt Family Day celebration, using an antique J.B. Colt trivet as a pattern.
That explains why the Colt trivets cast in 1982 are Colt firearms collectibles, while the earlier trivets are not.
So if the original J.B. Colt trivet dates to somewhere between 1903 and 1930 and the Samuel Colt firearms reproduction trivet dates to 1982, how can can you tell the difference?
● Some experienced collectors may form their own opinion by the look and feel of the metal alone.
● Be aware that J.B. Colt produced their early Colt Carbide Gas Flatiron trivets with either a black japanned or a nickel finish; all reproductions were finished in flat black only. So any Colt trivet with a nickel or japanned finish would be an original Colt Carbide Trivet.
● Remember the rule of “One Size Smaller” ~ the standard shrinkage for cast iron is 1/8 inch. If an existing trivet is used as a pattern, the resulting cast iron trivet will be one size smaller, or 1/8” less in diameter, in all dimensions. The original, older J. B. Colt version measures 6 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ x 1/2”; the 1982 Colt firearms reproduction is slightly smaller in length and width.
● In the article Trivets New and Old, the late iron and trivet collectors and experts Carol & Jimmy Walker stated: “The new Colt trivet matches the original for quality. However, the end of the scroll in the original trivet does not touch the outer rail, Fig. 15. The scroll touches in the new trivet, Fig. 16.”
● Because of the volume of gas flatirons and trivets produced, most Colt trivets you’ll encounter will be the older, J.B. Colt Carbide Gas Flatiron trivet. But keep an eye out for the newer “repro” Colt firearms collectible.