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    

Antique Richard Klemm Dresden Porcelain Trivet Plate W Hp Scenic Portrait 7"Rare Vtg 1955 1956 Disneyland Ceramic Tile Trivet Main St Disney Souvenir Minton China Porcelain Persian Rose B838 Older Teapot Creamer Sugar Bowl TrivetRare Old Griswold Cast Iron Lace Trivet No. # 1738 3 VintageMiniature Antique #24 Sadd Sad Iron Wood Handle Patented May 9 '93 W/ TrivetVintage**rare**cast Iron Colt Firearms Cast Iron Trivet Sign Vintage Elaborate Wedgwood Jasperware Black Large Teapot With TrivetL601 Antique Cast Iron Sad Iron Trivet Pre Nazi Party Good Luck Symbol SwastikaChemex Electric Coffee Warmer Trivet In Original Box Model Ew-2Vintage Cast Iron Oval Trivet Pot Holder Or Decoration (clm#3.50)Beautiful Kings Arms Cast Iron Trivet Virginia Metalcrafters 1953 Cw 10-17Griswold TrivetOld Vintage Antique Small Sad Iron W/ Williams Sad Iron TrivetDresden Hand Painted Flowers Vanity Dresser Tray Or Trivet Elaborate Gold Arthur Court TrivetRare 1881 Cast Iron Kitchen Stove Multi Tool Lid Lifter Trivet - Excellent !1952 Confederate State Of Amercia Trivet Brass By Va. MetalcraftersHlcca Fiesta ® Retro Red Stripe Trivet Ivory With Red Stripes New! Virginia Metalcrafters Trivet Rubber Foot CoversCast Iron Willowhouse~southern Living Rectangular Trivet Wall Plaque ~10" X 6"Vintage # 5 No 5 Wapak Sad Iron With Trivet Cast Wapakoneta, Ohio Skillet Polish Pottery Trivet Set - Factory Direct From The "basket Store"Antique American Matthews Sterling Silver Overlay Glass 6" Trivet .999 HeartsSouthern Living At Home / Willow House Estate Trivet TrioMiniature Cast Iron Skillet Pot Trivet Vintage Kitchen Griswold Hermitage EmigFish/ Pisces Tile/trivet Handmade By Local Color, Kennebunk MaineFrankoma Horseshoe Trivet Good Luck 94trhSouthern Living At Home Slah Clairmont Casserole Caddy Trivet - 8" X 8" Size Brass Pig Hot Plate Or TrivetWalt Disney World Mgm Studios Vintage Mickey Mouse 1989 Ceramic Kitchen TrivetA Very Nice Art Nouveau Silver Plated Trivet - F H S - SheffieldLe Creuset 9-inch Candle Warming Trivet, Fire Orange New Without Box Retail $70Peach Roses Hand Painted China Tea Tile Trivet Caddy Plate Signed Ship DiscCorelle Coordinates Callaway Ivy Tabletop Set 6 Salt Pepper Spoon Rest TrivetHeavy Silver Overlay Hot Plate / Trivet 5 7/8" Art Nouveau DesignArthur Court Grapes Trivet With Ceramic Center Signed 2007 Very UniqueRookwood Pottery 1962 National Shrine Of The Immaculate Conception Dish TrivetAntique Sad Cast Iron Trivet Ypsilanti Mfg Co Michigan (78)Early Iron Trivet-original-rare-nice Condition-6 1/2 By 4 Inches-Rare Iron Virginia Metalcrafter Fleur De Lis Trivet!2-new Gorgeous Sculptured Square Dinnerware Franciscan Red Apple Tile Trivet-wowHand Painted "stetson" Blue Ridge Pottery Flower Tea Pot With TrivetWallace Silverplate TrivetVintage Cast Iron Trivet With Mickey And Minnie Mouse Ceramic TileEfm Trivet Emmaus PaAntique Brass & Copper TrivetPfaltzgraff Folk Art Soap Scrubby Toothpick Holder Heart Trivet Dish LotFiesta Ware Retired Marigold Trivet Nwt Factory First Decorative Salt And Pepper Set, Spoon Rest And Tile Trivet, Birdhouse DesignLot 3 Longaberger Green Woven Traditions Trivet, Basket Wliner, Small Pint CrockAntique Niagara Falls-u.s. Side From Goat Island 6.5" Tes Tile Trivet SouvenirVilleroy & Boch Catalina Bird And Berry Cheese Cutting Board Trivet Small Vintage Cast Iron Trivet For Sad Iron Miniature Childs ToyVintage Rare Williamsburg Metal Trivet Food Warmer Model 1700Delft Blue Colored Windmill Scene Tile Trivet W/ Chrome Holder ~ West GermanyCeramic Trivet / Plate - Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. 1915-2002Carved Wood Footed Trivet W/ Inlaid Floral Heart Design Art Wooden Hot PlatePampered Chef Round Up From The Heart Trivet 2008 No. 2939 Copper Color"try Our Famous Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich" TrivetVintage Hall Autumn Leaf Oval Trivet 7-1/4" X 10-3/4" Long ** Colorful