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 Sterling Silver 5-1/2" Overlay Glass Trivet Hot Plate Coaster - "a 92 C"Vintage Sad Iron & Trivet -" St. Louis " Iron & Acme TrivetAntique Vintage Cinderella “never Fail” Stoves Cast Iron Trivet For Sad IronAntique Miniature Cast Iron Primitive Swan Sad Iron & Trivet **antique Cast Iron New York City Ny Advertising Trivet Horseshoe Rare** Mackenzie Childs Fish Tile Trivet, DiscontinuedVintage Tiffany & Co. Silver Plated Expandable Footed TrivetTwo (2) Vintage Wapak Sad Irons With Handle And Trivet Mackenzie- Childs Tile For Trivet, Display Or Project. 8x8 InchesHaviland Rosalinde Porcelain Trivet, Hot PlateLe Creuset France Enameled Cast Iron Blue Deluxe 5" Trivet Pot Stand RestXenia Taler Round Emoji Style Face Handmade Ceramic Art Tile Trivet Canada Exc!6-pc Vintage Ornate Silverplate Trivet, Salt Cellars, Shaker, Sugar Beautiful!Beautiful Vintage Oval Resin Abalone Footed Trivet -international Gifts 8" X 6"Antique Brass Trivet Stand By J E Summerfield Acanthus Flower Tile Trivet - Craven, Dunhill, Jackfield Ltd., EnglandVintage Jewel Cast Iron Antique Mini Toy Salesman Sample Trivet 8"x8" Dachshund W/ Chef Ceramic Trivet ~ Aids Drsf Rescue OtisVintage 1956 Cast Iron Trivet Groundhog Lodge Hearts Northampton Pa-dutchLot Of Arabia Finland Sailor Trivet Vintage, Ship In Full Sail, Yellow Rim 6.5" Trivet Harley Davidson T Shirt Sydney Australia "land Of The Southern Cross" LgCook's Companion 3-piece Pan Rack & Trivet Air Fryer Accessory Set NewCathedral Basilica Of Saint Augustine Usa Florida Tile Trivet ~ 9x9 Vintage TileTile Trivet Norwegian Little Norway Valley Of The Elves Gnome Pioneer HomesteadMiniature Sad Iron With Trivet Small Cast Iron VintageAntique Good Luck Shaking Hands Cast Sad Iron Horseshoe Trivet/plaque W/eagleArthur Court Trivet Rabbit Style Price ReductionCast Iron Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce Large TrivetAntique Wilton 1884 Three Legged Brilliant Heavy Cast Iron Trivet Nice Piece! 4 Small Size Toy Sad Irons , 3 Cast Iron 1 Brass And 1 Trivet , No Reserve Virginia Metalcrafters Trivet Rubber Foot CoversSmall Cast Iron Sad Iron And TrivetDelfts Holland Blue & White Ceramic Tile & Trivet LotPampered Chef Wooden Trivet Casserole Rectangular Baker Adjustable Holder Virginia Metalcrafters Trivet Rubber Foot CoversVintage Cast Metal Iron Stand Trivet Lyre & PineappleVintage Souvenir Disney World Hot Plate Trivet, Cinderella's CastleAntique Forged Iron Kettle Stand Holder Fireplace Trivet Tool NrAntique Miniature Cast Iron Primitive Sad Trivet Blue Willow Tin Trivet,nesco Metal,paper Back,7",vintage,hot Pad,oriental,rareBlue Willow Tin Trivet,hong Kong Made,cork Backing,9.5"x7",vintage,hot Pad,rareBlue Willow Trivet,velvet Backing,7.25",circle,fabric Sewn Rim,vintage,hot PadBlue Willow Tin Trivet,nesco Metal,paper Backing,6",circle,vintage,hot Pad,rareAndreas Silicone Trivet, Sea Shells, 10 InchSilicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip Resistant Holder MatIron Trivet With Pressed Steel LeavesHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantVintage Brass & Metal Iron Trivet Stand Wood Handle Nr5 Vintage Souvenir Cast Iron Ceramic Tile Trivet Sd, Nm, Mi & IlAntique Silverplate Footed Butter Stainer Trivet For Master Dish