A cake stand or pedestal is a decorative plate mounted on a stem or foot to display baked goods. These stands were originally known as salvers, named after the wide silver platters used for serving food or drinks, which prevented spillage from falling to the floor.

Some of the earliest glass salvers were mentioned in British records around 1620. Typically, these pedestals were made with a molded glass stem, and often appear in paintings from the 17th century topped with a group of wine glasses. By the mid-18th century, such servers were more commonly used for displaying desserts, sometimes stacked in successively smaller sizes to create dramatic dessert pyramids and topped with a compote holding fruit.

In the United States, the first glass salvers were produced in Philadelphia around 1770. Dessert stands were increasingly made from pressed glass rather than hand-blown, reaching their height in the late 19th century. During the boom-time for EAPG production, glass salvers were made by manufacturers like Adams & Co.; United States Glass Co.; Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton; and McKee Bros. Though cheaper to produce, pattern glass still emulated the tastes of wealthy households, as with the O’Hara Glass Company’s “Crown Jewel” from 1888, whose base was meant to resemble the hanging crystals of a chandelier.

Cake servers from this era were sold in sizes ranging from a few inches in diameter to nearly two feet, and made in vivid colors like emerald green, canary yellow, amethyst, and sapphire. Pedestals also appeared in trendy materials like milk glass, jasperware, and jadeite.

On the most spectacular cake stands, like those made by the George Duncan & Sons, the glass feet were sculpted into decorative forms including a woman’s face, a raised hand, or a horseshoe. More restrained designs, like the New England Glass Company’s “Diamond Point” salver, were part of larger glassware sets that included matching plates, bowls, tumblers, candlesticks, and more.

Around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, major American manufacturers like Fostoria made salvers to match their full lines, cut into patterns with evocative names like Diana, Louise, and Virginia. In the mid-20th century, companies like Pyrex and Fiesta streamlined and simplified their cake stands to match modernist trends, even as the use of these items was falling out of style.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Super Antique Walker & Hall Art Nouveau Silver Plated Pedestal Cake Stand 1890Vintage 50's Jeanette Harp Shell Pink Milk Glass Pedestal Cake Stand 10"Vintage Fenton Spanish Lace Milk Glass Cake Stand Plateau Silver Crest Rim Fenton Spanish Lace Blue Aqua Turquoise Pedestal Cake Plate StandVintage Fostoria American Square Pedestal Cake Plate W/ Rum Well2 Imperial Glass Candlewick Pedestal Cake Plate & Cheese StandEapg Glass Pedestal Cake Stand Plate,leaf Pattern 9.5" Early American PatternGorgeous Vintage Imperial Glass-candlewick 3 Ball Pedestal Cake StandWestmoreland Cake Plate Stand - White Milk Glass - Lattice Edge - SignedAntique Eapg Pattern Glass Bryce Walker U. S. Glass Roman Rosette Cake StandA Very Elegant Silver Plated 3 Teir Folding Cake Stand With Beautiful Patterns.Vintage Fenton Pink Silvercrest Cake StandAntique Eapg Pattern Glass Dalzell Gilmore & Leighton Reverse Torpedo Cake StandSwarovski Celebration Gift / Present, Cake, Platter Birthday Vintage White Milk Glass Cake Stand Colony Lace Lattice 13.75 InchesHeavy Glass Dome Cover For Pedestal Cake Stand Or Pastry, 10 1/4"American Fostoria Vintage Round Pedestal Cake Plate With Rum WellFenton Silver Crest White Milk Glass Pedestal Cake PlateWaterford Round Cake Stand, Lismore Round Cake Stand, 4.75"h - Mint No Box Beautiful Fenton ?? Silver Crest Low Footed Cake PlateVintage Spode England Christmas Tree Footed Cake PlateAntique Victorian Adams Lucky Horseshoe Anchor Cake Stand Fostoria Colony 12" Wide Cake/torte StandVintage Travaille Main Handerbeit Pedestal Cake Plate 12" Handcut Glass Dish W RPink Square Wedding Cake Stand Plate Metal Pedestal 6.7 " X 6.7 " X 4.7" H Superb ~ Silver Plated ~ Vogue Style ~ Cake Stand ~ C1915 By AtkinsFreddy Randall Band Georgia Cake Walk/sugar Foot Strut/dark Night BluesTiffany & Co Glass Pedestal Footed Cake Plate Stand Octagonal Windham CrystalParagon Queen Mary Reproduction Cake StandVintage Anchor Hocking White Milk Glass Footed Pedestal Cake Stand Plate SalverVintage Round 13" Milk Glass Cake Plate / Platter With Scalloped Edges Vtg Shabby Mid Century Happy Birthday Revolving Swiss Musical Cake Plate Stand