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 1930's Lodge Arc Logo #8 Cast Iron Dutch W/ Trivet Cleaned Seasoned Usa Vtg Vintage Harlander Pottery ** Faces ** Mid Century Canadian Pottery Tile / TrivetLovely Mackenzie Childs Hand Painted Teapot Shaped 9 By 12 TrivetIron Griswold Trivet 1738Le Creuset Round Cast Iron Trivet - Red Griswold Trivet No.8 Usa Vintage CookwareDisney Mickey Mouse Trivet Pot Holder Silver Kitchen Accessory12 Virginia Metalcrafters , Original Rubber Trivet Feet ,two Sizes,your ChoiceLe Crueset Cast Iron Trivet Ocean New Without Box!Vintage Webster Sterling Silver Overlay & Glass Trivet 6" Floral Daffodils Michael Aram 11" Trivet Art SculpturePewabic Pottery Leaf Green Tile Trivet Of The World 1999 Round About 7" Detroit Vtg Scandinavian/swedish Wire Kitchen Trivet Hobo Folk Art Farm Primitive/1800'sVintage Mason's Vista Pink Round Tea Tile TrivetVintage Amish Farm Primitive Cast Iron Trivet With Original PaintAntique Lot Of Cast Iron French Roll/corn Muffin Pans And TrivetRare Old Curiosity Shop Trivet Tile + Rack By Wheeling For Royal ChinaVtg Early 1900's Rare Marvel Comic Collector Cast Iron Wall Decor Stove TrivetPampered Chef Trivet Round-up From The Heart 2009/spring Wreath Stoneware MoldVintage Odd Fellows Cast Iron Trivet Wall Plaque Ioof Eagle HorseshoeLongaberger Pottery Christmas Trivet *traditional Holly" 8-3/8" In BoxVtg. Virginia Metalcrafters Brass: 'w & M' Cypher Trivet & Pilgrim Dinner BellVintage Corning Ware 8 Cup Tea Pot With Tea Infuser & Warming TrivetVintage 1950's Pal Bell Of Israel Verdigris Brass Trivet(nice) NrCast Iron Owl Hot Plates/trivet(set Of 5)(544-016)Burleigh Ironstone Calico Brown Creamer, Bowl Trivet Lot ~ Staffordshire EnglandCinderella Tile Trivet Edward Burne-jones Metropolitan Museum Of Art Met MosaicSet Of Two Monroe Salt Works Corn TrivetSouthern Living At Home Harvest Pear Metal Trivet Fruit Kitchen DecorVintage Great Corningware Trivet & Hand Pot Holder Mitt Sunsations Sunflower PtnSet Of Two Monroe Salt Works Pine Tree TrivetWine Enthusiast Cork Trivet Kit New Fiestaware Trivet Periwinkle Blue Retired Dancing Lady 1st Quality FiestaVintage Connected Hearts Trivet India Vintage Rosewood Carved Table/stool Or Trivet 13-1/2" Tall X 11" Wide! Le Creuset Dark Green 9" Cast-iron Trivet - Collectible! - Retired Color!Antique Vtg Cast Iron Trivet Wood Stove Plate "cereals Will Never Burn" CookwareAnthropologie Trivet Bee Bug Nature Brown Cast Iron Metal Griswold Cast Iron TrivetPrimitive Fireplace Hearth 3 Leg Standing TrivetVintage Iron Metal Wood Handled Eletric With Trivet StandMason's Vista Pink 4 Toed TrivetMilitary Mug Mat 82d Airborne Division 504 Pir Strike Hold Drink Coaster TrivetWine Enthusiast Wine Cork Trivet Kit 9" X 10" Oak Wood Frame New In Box3pc Chili Peppers Red /green Kitchen Dish Hand Towel Set W/trivet-new SealedVirginia Metalcrafters Brass Trivet Thomas Jefferson Cipher Monticello C. 1951Handcrafted Butterfly Ceramic Tile TrivetVintage Wilton Cast Iron Round Flower Theme Trivet- Made In UsaWm. A. Rogers Pineapple Trivet, Used, Solid BrassLenox Trivet CarvedFagor Duo 6qt Pressure Cooker With Steam Tray And TrivetLongaberger Wi Trivet Set Of 2 Wrought Iron Round Trivets Foundry Collection NibVirginia Metalcrafters Jefferson Brass Thomas James Madison Cypher Trivet - Rare1975 Dogpatch Usa Trivet .... Harrison ArkansasFrankoma Pottery Desert Gold 5tr "good Luck" TrivetVintage Ober Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Leaf Square Trivet! Great Shape! Cast Iron Griswold Chlids Size TrivetHandcrafted Turtle Ceramic Tile TrivetLongaberger American Craft Originals Trivet Cornflower Usa Retired New In Box