Most dictionaries define a trivet as a decorative pierced-metal or wire stand that is used as a base for hot kettles, skillets, and pots. The three or more legs on the trivet are there to keep it from directly transferring the heat of the object on top of it to the surface it is designed to protect.

But tile trivets are also favorites of kitchen collectors. Tile trivets have insulating properties that metal trivets do not (thus they don't need legs), which is why some people like to place decorative ceramic squares rather than dark ironwork on their dinner tables before supper is served.

Everyone from the Homer Laughlin Company to Pfaltzgraff made tile trivets. The former’s Fiesta trivets are brightly colored discs that match the Fiesta family of teapots, dinnerware, and other objects. Pfaltzgraff produced trivets with patterns that recalled its early salt-glazed stoneware; other trivets were more pictorial or featured friendly floral patterns.

Makers of fine china and porcelain also made trivets, from Wedgwood to Rosenthal to Limoges. These trivets often had raised edges to frame the bottoms of whatever was placed upon them. Some were beautifully hand-painted and glazed while others were decorated using equally eye-catching transferware techniques. There were also majolica style trivets designed to nest within wrought iron or metal bases.

Metal trivets, of course, have legions of fans. In the 19th century, it was not uncommon to make a trivet out of a horseshoe, sometimes with a solid piece of decorated metal inside the shoe’s arc. Wire was used when relatively light objects such as coffee pots or small pots needed a stand, but cast iron was employed for heavier loads.

Many antique cast-iron trivets have long handles since they were used in fireplaces—often such trivets have a hole or holes at their ends where long-gone wooden handles were once attached. Some 19th-century trivets designed for use around a hearth have upright pieces that were designed to support pan handles, which tipped upward for the convenience of the cook.

Hearts, spokes, scrollwork, and star designs set within circular trivets were hugely popular, as were trivets that resembled lacy doilies. Such trivets often have short handles o...

Those who cook with and collect Griswold skillets often seek out a rugged Griswold trivet designed for the skillet’s diameter. Griswold also made (and continues to make) trivets for it oblong or rectangular roasting pans.

One final category of trivet worth mentioning is the electric trivet, which was popular in the 1950s. Paragon was one of many companies that made electric trivets, which were designed to support a pot that had just been removed from a stove, and then keep it warm thanks to the small hot plate at the trivet’s center.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

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]

Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rookwood Tile, Trivet, Six Pointed Floral/vines Style 468 Ex-conVintage Rookwood Tile Trivet Raven Crow Bird Antique Art Pottery 1930Huge Lot 16 New Scentsy Bars Listed Discontinued Rare Hard To Find +trivet +moreLe Creuset Trivet-oval-blue-newRookwood Tile, Trivet, Women/pot/vines/flowers1958yRare & Large Mid 18th Century Hand Wrought Iron Fireplace / Hearth TrivetFine 18th, Early 19th C American Antique Wrought-iron Trivet With 3 Hearts! NrRare Antique Cast Iron Triple Trivet/stand Holds 3 Sad Irons Made In St. LouisRookwood Tile, Trivet, Potter At The Wheel 1935 Ex-conJapanese Akahada Ware Furnace Furo & Trivet Gotoku Set/ Tea Ceremony/ 13831983 Mackenzie-childs Butterfly Trivet- Pastel Fun!!!2000 Virginia Metalcrafters Brass Williamsburg Pineapple Trivet Nib20-virginia Metalcrafters Original Rubber Trivet Feet 2-sizes,your ChoiceExceptional 19th C Early American Folk Art Heart Trivet Hand Wrought Iron 1800sVintage Webster Lily Pattern Sterling Silver Overlay Glass Trivet,5 7/8"Virginia Metalcrafters Presidential TrivetGriswold # 8 Cast Iron TrivetVintage Sears Merry Mushroom Trivet Hot Pad Wall HangingRookwood Tile, Trivet Beautiful Floral Ex-con 1928 Model 2850Patriotic Boer War Brass Trivet Lord Roberts PretoriaVintage Sears Merry Mushroom Trivet Hot Pad Wall Hanging 1978 Decorative Victorian Antique Brass Trivet With Turned Wood HandleRoyal Albert Sweet Violets Teapot TrivetLe Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Deluxe Round Trivet Black 8 Inch France Near MintPfaltzgraff Tea Rose Heart Trivet, Usa, Hard To FindVintage Arabia Finland Paju Trivet Cheese Board Hand Painted Anja Jaatinen Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad R R Buffalo China Gold Teapot Trivet Ye Old IvoryAntique Wwi Trench Art Brass Trivit Trivet War 1914-1918 Military P. Vozza BasePfaltzgraff Blue Stripe Ceramic Yorktowne Embossed Teapot Oval Trivet Hot PlateLe Creuset Trivet-round-dune-newVintage~blue Willow~trivet~jar , Pot Stand~hard To Find~unusual~beautiful~Antique Cast Sad Iron Trivet X In Geometric Design UniqueAntique Cast Iron Trivet Houchin Ny Rare W/ Large Warrior Medallion FeetRoyal Usa China Colonial Homestead Rare Tile Trivet Metal HolderWilton Cast Iron Bluebird Egg Timer Trivet Wall Hanging Vintage Kitchen ItemLe Creuset Cherry Red Cast Iron 9" TrivetWonderful 18th Or Early 19th C Hand Wrought Iron Footed TrivetVintage Griswold Star Trivet - Old Cast Iron Trivet - Nice Piece!Vintage Teak Wood Trivet Denmark Mid Century Danish Modern Eames Retro ErasVintage Masonic Cast Iron Trivet Free Mason Compass SymbolVintage Trivet Deliver Us From Evil Garret Thew Studios Westpointe ConnecticutJapanese Green Hobnail Cast Iron Teapot With 2 Cups And TrivetAntique Pairpoint Silver Plate Expandable Footed TrivetDansk - Blue Fish Trivet -denmarkMichigan Bell Telephone 100th Anniversary Operator 1978 Ceramic Tile Trivet NosUnusual Deco Stacking Mexican Teapot Sugar Creamer & Trivet 4 Pieces JapanMason's Patent Ironstone Vista Square TrivetLongaberger Pottery Blue Rooster TrivetArthur Court Grape Vines Tray And Trivet 1995 Serving Utensils Spoons 1997Antique Brass Fireplace Footman TrivetWallace Grande Baroque Pattern Trivet !!!Vintage Mickey Mouse Kemper-thomas Tile / Trivet Walt Disney 1940'sVery Rare Find~very Vintage/antique John Wright Cast Iron Heart TrivetLongaberger Braided Green White Trivet Pad Rug 9 X 14 Excellent New ConditionLenox Holiday Holly Pierced Trivet - New In Box - Discounted Price!!Mackenzie-childs Vintage 1983 Porcelain And Wood Trivet,rareSmall Antique Sad Iron Trivet, WilliamsVintage Orange Flame Descoware Cast Iron Enamel 2 1/2 Qt. Pan & Trivet BelgiumVintage Fritz & Floyd Blue White Modernist Angel Fish Porcelain Trivet Eames EraVintage Owl Hotplate Trivet Lucite Real Organic Material Encased Retro