Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
I purchased this little “brass” charcoal iron and its companion trivet in 2021 from a US seller on eBay. Once received, all pieces reacted to a magnet proving they are actually a brass colored, painted cast iron. Regardless, it’s a very nice set.
This small ALBA iron is documented in More Irons By Irons (Davis Irons, 1997) on page 133: “Charcoal, Tall Chimney, European, ALBA, original trivet, chimney splits, hinged at rear, about 1900, Length 4 inches.”
Although I’ve always heard that the ALBA iron and trivet set was made in Portugal, I’ve yet to to find any documentation on the foundry or its production in any of my reference books or online. However, many of the little ALBA irons listed on eBay route from sellers in Portugal.
The same ALBA logo as seen on my little iron and trivet appears on the Logopedia website. “In 1907, Augusto Martins Pereira founded a foundry and metallurgy company named Fundicao Lisbonense in the Portuguese region of Azores. Until the company changed its name to Alba in 1921, no logo was used until it moved its headquarters from Azores to Albergaria-a-Velha in the Aveiro district.” Logopedia: Alba (Portugal)
The trivet measures 6.25″ x 2.25″ w/three short feet. Weight: 3.2 ounces. Note the 1/8″ tall guide rail along both sides. On the front is a zero (0); the trivet is unsigned on the reverse. There is machine (regularly spaced) filing along both sides of the handle. Slight traces of rust on the trivet provide another clue that this is cast iron, not brass.
The charcoal iron has a lever that, when lifted to unlock, opens the iron. The soleplate measures 4″ long x 2″ wide and is a perfect fit for the trivet. If you look carefully you can see the small grate within. The handle and tip of the locking lever are of black painted wood. I’m unsure if this is just a toy or whether this iron could have actually been fired up.
The swivel hinge on the back end, bearing the ALBA logo, serves as a draft for charcoal combustion. On the top surface at the rear end is the letter N and number 0.
Inside the charcoal iron is a removable charcoal grate measuring 3.5″ x 1.5″ w/three small feet. On the front is the letter N and number 0, matching those on the top of the iron. The grate is unsigned on the reverse.
Similar small charcoal irons with a split chimney design are documented in Early Tuesday Morning (Judy Politzer, 1986) on pages 141-142. Although not discussed or pictured in either of her two books, this ALBA set attributed to the Politzer Collection was sold on April 10, 2022 on LiveAuctioneers by Hartzell’s Auction Gallery. It appears to be made of cast iron with a nickel-plated finish.
Readers, if you have any details to share about this little ALBA charcoal iron or its history, please Contact Me.