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

The Scottish Carron “turtle” and reproductions

The Carron Company was founded in Falkirk, Scotland in 1759. It continued in operation for over 220 years, closing in 1982. A comprehensive history by Brian Watters (2005) entitled Carron Company appears on the Falkirk Local Historical Society’s website.

I’ll begin by contrasting two antique variations of a design referred to by collectors as the Carron turtle. These trivets were produced in cast iron or brass from 1859 until at least the 1930s. Both versions were still being sold as of the 1932 Carron Catalog. 

Above: Front, L to R: CARRON No. 5 (with handle) and CARRON No. 4

Below, Reverse, L to R: CARRON No. 5 and CARRON No. 4

The British Registered Diamond System

The British Registered Diamond System was utilized from 1842 to 1883. A diamond mark (sometimes referred to as a lozenge) identified the class of material used (metal trivets were Class 1), the number produced (per bundle or parcel), and the date of patent registration. A diamond was either 1st Series (1842 to 1867) or 2nd Series (1868-1883). After 1883 the registration system changed to one of Registered (Rd) Numbers. For more information on diamond marks and Td numbers see Registered Designs at the website.

🔎 The secret in differentiating 1st Series (1842 to 1867) from 2nd Series (1868-1883) lies in knowing which corner identifies the year. Whenever you see a letter in the top circle, it’s 1st Series; if a letter appears in the right corner, then it’s 2nd Series. 

Carron No. 5

Cast iron, 9 1/2″ x 5″ with four 1” splayed, ornamental leg supports. Weight is 1 pound 3 ounces. A cast mark is not visible. 

On the reverse: CARRON No.5 and a better defined diamond mark which includes the following information:

●  Within the top circle is the number 1 indicating Class 1 = Metal.

●  Rd (for Registered design) appears in the center.

●  M at the top corner of the diamond signifies 1st Series (1842-1867), more specifically 1859.

●  In the left corner is A and the right corner is 15 indicating December 15th.

●  The number in the bottom corner, not legible, would have indicated the batch or parcel number.

Carron No. 4

Cast iron, 6 5/8″ x 5 1/4″ with four 1 1/4” splayed, ornamental leg supports. Weight is 1 pound. There is an Indented gate mark scar along the edge. On the reverse: CARRON No. 4 and a diamond mark. There is an M in the top corner signifying 1st Series (1842-1867), more specifically 1859. Unfortunately the rest of the numbers and letters within this diamond are illegible.


While brass and cast iron reproductions of the No. 5 turtle trivet (with handle) exist, I’ve never seen a reproduction of the No. 4 version (without a handle). Most repros you’ll encounter are unsigned and their quality does not always live up to the Carron originals. 

I checked my mid-20th century trivet catalogs and found only one example of a turtle design. Trivet # 210 appears in the 1968 John Wright Catalog with this description:

210 ANTIQUE, Size 9 1/2″ x 5″, Wgt. 22 oz. Available in Plain Black or Hand Decorated in Bright Colors. Packed one to a cardboard box.

This next trivet, shared by Craig Finnesgard, is signed SUPERIOR FOUNDRY INC. CLEVELAND OHIO on the reverse. Cast iron, age unknown. Measurements: 9 3/16″ long, 4 7/8″ wide and 1 3/8″ high.

Information on the Superior Foundry is scarce. A business registered under that name from 1913 to the 1970s existed at 7011 Aetna Road, Cleveland, OH. That 1.81 acre property is currently a cleared, vacant commercial parcel.

And finally, below is a slightly different version of the turtle trivet shared by Joe Spence. Although it’s retained many of the original Carron details, the handle/head and center are quite different. Cast iron. Measurements: 9 7/16″ long, 5″ wide and 15/16″ high. 

On reverse: ART SMITHY UC T234. 

Update 1/08/2023 – One more signed reproduction

Today while browsing the Internet I found evidence of another signed reproduction. The design is similar to the others previously shared.

Cast iron, 9″ x 5″ x 1 1/4”. Raised lettering on center reverse: KENCROFT MALLEABLE CO. INC. BUFFALO. 

Records show this company was established January 7, 1947. Company dissolution is recorded as January 29, 1979.

Related Trivetology blog posts

Vintage postcards with a trivet theme provides information on blacksmith Harry M. Houpt, aka Art Smithy.

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