TRIVETOLOGY

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.

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

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

L to R: CARRON No.5 and CARRON No. 4, reverse.

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 Registration (Rd) Numbers. For more information on Diamond Registration marks and Design Registration Numbers see Registered Designs at the oldcopper.org website.

Above: 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 the diamond mark. The M in the top corner signifies 1st Series (1842-1867), more specifically 1859. Unfortunately the rest of the numbers and letters within the diamond are illegible.

Above: Carron No. 5 (with handle) ~ 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.

Closeup of the CARRON No. 5 Diamond Mark, Series 1.

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.

Unfortunately neither of the diamond marks on these Carron turtles are well defined. For an example of a diamond registration mark in mint condition, see my blog post An exquisitely designed 1877 British trivet. That post describes a Second Series trivet (dating to 1877) as indicated by the letter P in the right corner.

Reproductions

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, 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. For more information on blacksmith Harry M. Houpt (aka Art Smithy) see the last entry of my blog post Vintage postcards with a trivet theme.

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