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    

Shabby Chic Le Creuset Cast Iron Large Square Trivet Pot Stand Apple Green Vintage Webster Sterling Silver Overlay Glass Coaster Trivet Daffodil Pattern 6"2 New Virginia Metal Crafters Colonial Williamsburg Cypher Trivet Cw10-14 Griswold # 8 TrivetLinden Sweden, Inc. 55240b Buffet Bowl With Wood Trivet Stainless Steel NewRookwood Trivet, Excellent ConditionLe Creuset Round Cast Iron Trivet - Red Arthur Court 04-0640 Grapevine Round Trivet 8in Aluminum Alloy NewVintage Le Creuset V6 France Orange Colored Enamel Cast Iron Trivet Hot PlateVirginia Metalcrafters Vmc Cast Brass James Madison Cypher TrivetVintage Porsgrund Norway Mid Century Danish Modern Porcelain Fish Trivet Salmon Falls~ Berry Vine Trivet~200312 Virginia Metalcrafters , Original Rubber Trivet Feet ,two Sizes,your ChoiceAntique Advertising Cast Iron Hearth Trivet Jr Clark Co Minneapolis MnSilver Plated Teapot Stand Or Table Trivet, Manco (myatt & Co Birmingham) C.1910 Virginia Metal Crafters William & Mary Brass Trivet For Colonial WilliamsburgAntique Fireplace Hearth Footman Brass Trivet W/ Wrought Iron Stand Wood HandleVintage Retro 6" Lucite Resin Trivet Hot Plate Real Flower Daisy Pansy TerrariumFiggjo Folklore Turi Design Butter Plaque Trivet Made In Norway Ostebrett 1635 Disney Mickey Mouse Trivet Pot Holder Silver Kitchen AccessoryRoyal Copenhagen Mid Century Modern Trivet/table Rest Green MibLenox Expandable Holiday TrivetVintage 1941 Virginia Metalcrafters King George Cypher 5" Solid Brass TrivetLongaberger Pottery Christmas Trivet *traditional Holly" 8-3/8" In BoxCast Iron Red TrivetMartha Stewart New Leaf Silver Textured Silver Plated Trivet BhfoVintage Sibley Machine Tool Company 1874-1974 Cast Iron Trivet Sign MachinistAntique Coleman Gas Iron With Trivet BlueVirginia Metalcrafters Brass Trivet Seal Of The Confederacy Confederate States Prusa Mission Trivet Tiles Sancarlos Borromero De Carmel 2nd Ca MissionRowe Pottery 1990 Salt Glaze Cow Plaque Trivet Hand Crafted Cambridge, Wis. Vintage Holt Howard Coq Rouge Rooster Line Trivet In Ob Nice!!Wood Frame Decorative Wine Bottle Cork Hot Plate Trivet Or Wall Art Vintage Rooster Cream Trivet, Made By Frankoma 94trVintage Cast Iron & Tile Kitchen Trivet Colorful Rooster Chicken Retro UniqueLenox Trivet CarvedRowantrees Pottery Blue Hill Maine Hand Painted Seagull Trivet 1930s Handi Works Travelling Kerosene Iron With Trivet - Ex Condition ϿSouthern Living At Home Estate Trivet TrioLot Of 2 Bjorn Wiinblad Denmark Pottery Saison Start & Paradis Wall Plate TrivetLenox Fine China Winter Greetings Pattern Footed Trivet Cardinal Design NibFrankoma Pottery Desert Gold 5tr "good Luck" TrivetBennington Vermont Potters Pottery Cooperative Flowers Trivet David Gil 1561Eagle Masterworks Hand Crafted Art Tile Ceramic Trivet 6 X 6 UsaBjorn Wiinblad 'may' Wall Plaque / Trivet Nymolle, Denmark Vintage 4" Cast Iron Metal Owl Trivet Hot Plate Very CollectableHandcrafted Turtle Ceramic Tile TrivetLongaberger American Craft Originals Trivet Cornflower Usa Retired New In BoxVintage Cast Iron Trivet Zoar Sunburst Meissen Porcelain Square Trivet With Dresden FlowersSuggestively Cute V&b Villeroy & Boch Ceramic Tile Danischburg Germany Or TrivetVintage Cast Iron Oval Painted Turkey TrivetVtg Scandinavian/swedish Wire Kitchen Trivet Hobo Folk Art Farm Primitive/1800'sSouthwest Coiled Basket & Large Reed Coiled Trivet1930's Feedsack / Flour Sack-novelty - Horse Bird Trivet Couple Star 36 X 43"Vintage Birds Cast Iron/ceramic Tile Trivet Cleo Teissedre Hand Painted 4x4 Ceramic Coaster,trivet,wall Decor Mushroom Tile Mid Century Modern Mosaic Tile Pot Holder TrivetHandcrafted Butterfly Ceramic Tile TrivetHandcrafted Water Lily Ceramic Tile Trivet