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 Miniature Cast Iron Primitive Swan Sad Iron & Trivet Michael Aram White Orchid Trivet -newNew Le Creuset 5” Round Cast Iron Trivet, YellowRare Civil War Era Ca 1850 American Star Pennsylvania Flat Table Trivet -8 1/2"Cast Iron Sad Iron TrivetVntg 1943 Coleman Fuel Iron, Original Box & Accessories, Parts List, TrivetFrankoma Desert Gold Wagon Wheel Trivet The Romance Of The West 9715Rowantrees Blue And White Pottery Trivet Cat Bluehill Maine Large Vintage 8" Sterling Silver Overlay & Glass Floral Orchid Trivet (3715)Alessi Tripod Trivet W/ Adjustable Element Gabriele Chiave Gch01 W/boxVintage Sterling Silver Gorham Trivet Tray Virginia Metalcrafters / Harvin ~~ White Bronze Grape Leaf TrivetCook's Companion 1200w Air Fryer W/ Silicone Baking Cups & Trivet Silver NewChicken Of The Sea Tuna Baker Trivet (trivet Only) 6" Sq Art Tile Trivet Wall Decor 1995 Eskimos Berry Gathering Barbara Lavallee Pyrex Glass Black Silver Electric Server Warmer / Trivet For Coffee PotVintage Ypsilanti Michigan Mfg. Co. Cast Iron TrivetCook's Companion 1200w Air Fryer W/ Silicone Baking Cups & Trivet Silver NewDisney Parks Mickey Mouse Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Holder Lot 2 NewItalian Proverb Decorative Tile Or Trivet... Cortopassi Family 2012 HandpaintedBrass Trivet Large And BeautifulItalian Proverb Decorative Tile Or Trivet... Cortopassi Family 2012 HandpaintedWilton Armetale Vintage Floral Scrolled Pattern Trivet - Beautiful & Excellent!Vintage Cast Iron Trivet Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread Pot RestBennington Pottery Mid- Century Sunflower Wall Tile/trivet David GilPyrex Terra 1 1/2 Pint Round Casserole W/lid* 472 W/gold Footed TrivetVintage Buchan Scottish Stoneware 6" Thistle Trivet Hotplate Excellent ConditionFrankoma Pottery Oklahoma State University Music Dept Cowboy TrivetWall Tile Trivet Fancy Chickens Hens Green Brown Black Soriano Ceramics 6"Villeroy & Boch Dresden Saxony Trivet: Blue & White, Footed: Concord: AntiqueRed Enamel Iron Trivet2 Vintage Crocheted Pot Holders Potholders Doily Trivet Set Antique Enterprise Co. Philadelphia Metal TrivetCobalt Blue Glass 7-1/2" Footed TrivetCast Iron Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce Large TrivetCurrier And Ives The Farmer's Home~winter Tile Trivet Metal Key Good Condition Vtg Ceramic Tile Teissedre Hand Painted California Poppies Orange Poppy TrivetAntique Brass Trivet Vintage Trivet For Laundry IronAvon Country Kitchen Ceramic Trivet - MushroomOld Rare Brass Iron Shape Trivet 24 X 10.5 X 2 CmNice 18th Century Brass TrivetCast Iron Painted Red Rooster Large Trivet Cock Farm House Country DecorVintage 1964-65 New York World's Fair Souvenir Ceramic Trivet/tileWilton Cast Iron TrivetVintage Wilton Black Cast Iron Scrolled Flower Pot Grapes Footed TrivetHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantMinton Tile / Teapot /trivet Stand Depicting A Seated Fox Sale Vntg Villeroy & Boch Laplau Signed Large 8" Trivet Hot Plate Town Square NrVilleroy&boch-botanica-agrimonia Eupatoria 6.5" Trivet/hot PlateHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantVilleroy & Boch Design Naif 8" Trivet - Guc!Holder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip ResistantHolder Mat Silicone Kitchen Trivet Pot Tray Straightener Heat Non-slip Resistant