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    

Superb Vintage Milk Glass Pedestal Cake Plate 12 3/4" ExcellentEapg Antique Glass Pedestal Cake Stand Plate . Belle PatternWhite Hobnail Fenton Cake Plate StandMackenzie Childs Wittika Peanuts Pedestal Cake Plate Tazza CompoteLenox China 9" Footed Cake Stand Pattern Blue TreeRoyal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Half Lace Low Footed Cake Plate 511 CompoteVintage Fostoria American Pedestal Cake Salver/stand Square Rum WellVintage Fenton Glass Milk White Hobnail Large Pedestal Cake Pie Stand.Vintage Square Milk Glass Pedestal Cake Stand-diamond Quilted Pattern W/rum WellVintage Fenton Pink Cake Plate Pedestal Bottom Raised Design On Top Vintage Fenton Silvercrest Spanish Lace Pedestal Cake PlateVtg Signed Fenton White Milk Glass Hobnail 12 1/2" Cake Stand Plate Near MintVintage Clear Moon & Stars Pedestal Cake Stand With Rum Well & Scallop RimVintage Royal Albert Petit Point Bone China Cake Plate StandSuperb Vintage Fenton White Milk Glass Hobnail Pedestal Cake Plate 12 1/2" ExlntOpulent Treasures Metal Gold 7" Cake Stand Crystal Prism Shabby CottageVintage Fostoria American Clear Crystal Round Pedestal Rum Well Cake Stand PlateFenton White Milk Glass Square Thumbprint Pedestal Cake Stand 10" Waterford Crystal Lismore Pattern 12" Cake Plate/platterEmerald Green, Pedestal Cake Plate By Anchor Hocking / Wexford Green Cake StandVintage Clear Pressed Glass Footed Pedestal Cake Plate Stand Scalloped RimColony Glass Harvest Grape Pedistal Milk Glass Cake PlateCake Stand-musical/vintage Tin -rotates When Playing Happy Birthday-ibLarge Pink 3 Footed Depression Glass Cake Style PlateVtg Elegant Fostoria American Pedestal Footed Cake Plate Stand Salver W Rum WellCake Stand 11.5" Godinger Silver Plated Mirrored Grape Design Cake PlateauAntique Flint Eapg Plain Pedistal Cake Stand PlateDemdaco Chocolate Berries Pedestal Cake Plate Cake StandVintage Anchor Hocking White Milk Glass Cake Stand With Mid-century Sunburst EucVintage Fenton Milk White Silver Crest Pedestal Cake Stand PlateAntique Glass Eapg Pedestal Cake Plate/rare/hard To Find/with Button Band/1880sVintage Eapg Cake Stand Square Glass Diamond Pattern Pedestal - 1880's? - VgucW.g. & Co. Limoges Paris France Pedestal Gold Encrusted Cake Plate 9"Eapg Bird And Strawberry Cake Stand11" Large Clear Glass Ball Rim Pedestal Cake Pastry Plate StandFine Vintage Opalescent Glass Pedestal Cake Plate / Stand Sgnd Yalos Casa Murano14" Square Cake Plateau - Cake Stand - Beautiful!!Fenton 12 1/2" White Hobnail Footed Cake Plate And Cover Ruffled EdgePrincess House Crystal Treasures 11" Cake Stand And 9" Dome Fenton Vintage Milk Glass Hobnail Pedestal Cupcake Or Cake Stand~pure White Pedestal Cake Plate Platter Stand Green Depression GlassWestmoreland Grape & Leaf Pattern Milk Glass Pedestal Scalloped Cake PlateAntique Flint Eapg Plain Pedistal Cake Stand PlateVintage Georges Briard Pedestal Cake Plate + Knife Victoria Garden Vintage Clear Glass Cake Stand With Floral DesignClear Glass Cake Stand Indiana-teardrop W/ Scalloped Edge W/ Teardrops, VintageCake Stand Skin Flip Wallet Leather Case Cover For Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500 PhoneVintage Pink Milk Glass Pretty Rose Pattern Ruffled Platter Cake Plate Old!Schumann Arzberg Germany Bavaria Pedestal Cake Plate Stand Grape Seller WomenFenton Milkglass Hobnail Cake Stand. 13 Inch Diameter. About 5 Inches Tall. Vintage Cake Pedestal German CrystalVintage Anchor Hocking Glass 22 K Gold Ivory White Cake Plate Stand Original BoxLot Of 4 Wilton Cake Pans - Barbie - Stand Up Barbie - Cathy - One*vintage Clear Federal Glass Footed Cake Plate Excellent 11 1/4" Discontinued Royal Worcester "silver Chantilly" Fine Bone China Footed Cake PlateVintage Glass Bead Heart Handle Candlewick Glass Cake Platter~candy Dish 8"Vintage 30s Jeanette Greendepression Glass Sunflower Footed Cake Stand ExcellentVintage Porcelain Pedestal Cake Stand Compote Or Candy Dish Hand DecoratedAnchor Hocking Early American Prescut 11 Inch Cake Plate/platter