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

The Reading Hardware Company

The Reading Hardware Company was established in 1872 and continued in operation until 1950. It was an industrial leader in the United Sates from the 1880s to the late 1920s, producing both plain and ornamental architectural hardware for builders. Their castings were used in many noteworthy office buildings and hotels, including the White House in Washington, DC.

From Wikipedia: “Reading Hardware Company, also known as The Hardware, is a historic factory complex and national historic district located in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. The district includes five contributing buildings along with the Reading Hardware Company Butt Works. They include brick and heavy timber frame buildings dated to the late-19th century, and early-20th century reinforced concrete buildings.”

In 1997 these buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’re interested in exploring the company’s history in depth, the National Parks Service Registration Form is useful. It includes a detailed Statement of Significance discussing the history of Reading Hardware.

The Reading Hardware Company Historical District is roughly bounded by Willow, South 6th, and Canal Streets. Image by Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The R H Co Coffee Pot Stand

This Lantz-style stand features the initials R H Co for Reading Hardware Company. Made of cast iron, it measures 5 1/4″ in diameter with four 3/8″ high feet. The top is slightly concave. There are two filed gate marks along the edge. It’s unsigned on the reverse with backcoping around the circumference. Two tiny chips along the edge, one by each gate mark, likely occurred at the time of filing.

This beautifully detailed stand, listed on page 240 of the 1885 Reading Hardware Catalog, was offered in three finishes over iron. I believe my stand is the American Bronze version. (The company’s different finishes are listed at the beginning of the catalog.)

● Japanned ~ A high gloss lacquer finish.

● German Bronzed ~ The surfaces are not polished, and are finished in a brown color.

● American Bronze ~ The surfaces are finely polished, and finished in a dark brown color, producing a contrast between the bright polished surface and the dark background.

The 1885 Reading Hardware Catalog

The 1885 Reading Hardware Catalog is in the public domain. What an amazing resource! Of special interest to trivet and iron collectors are pages 240, 241 and 242.

The descriptive terms trivet, stand, and rest

Note the use of the word stand in the Reading Catalog.

Many people today, collectors and the public alike, assign the generic term trivet to a variety of castings despite their size, shape, height, number of feet/legs, method of attachment or intended use.

Traditionally, a trivet has 3 supports while a stand has 4 or more. A rest is defined as a stand for a pressing iron.

I went to my trivet reference library and browsed through a variety of books and catalogs. The term trivet is used more commonly in the United States while the terms stand or rest tend to be preferred in Europe. In all catalogs the term stand is used more frequently pre-1900. That being said, within any article, reference or catalog, old or new, the terms begin to intermix.

PS: Whenever collecting online, you may have more success using all three search terms.

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