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    

Michael Aram Silver Forest Leaf Trivet 7.65" X 7.25"Vintage Cast Iron 8 Griswold Slant Logo "erie" 833 A Trivet & Lid - Clean UsaAntique Cast Iron Wagner Ware Sidney Ohio 1309 Hot Plate Trivet Burner CoverLe Creuset Enameled Cast-iron 9-inch Deluxe Round Trivet Red- NewVintage Guardian Service Ware Cast Aluminum Trivet 12"18th Century American Hand Forged Iron Trivet !! Early Forged Iron Trivet. AafaVintage Sterling Silver Overlay Web 6" TrivetAntique Primitive Hand Forged Iron Valentine Heart & Star Kitchen Hearth TrivetPyrex Celtic Floral Red Hearts With Trivet 473 1qtJapanese Pottery Trivet, Tripod Gotoku W/sign; For Brazier Hibachi/ 5471Virginia Metalcrafters Queen Anne Cypher Brass Trivet~boxed~1950 Williamsburg VmAntique Cast Iron W. Walters Findlay Ohio 1889 Ironing Trivet8 Different Trivets / Iron Stands Antique / Vintage /Antique 7 Tools In 1 Multi-tool Pat 1881 By W.h. Thayer Trivet, Eye Lifter, EtcLongaberger Blue Ticking Small Garter And Oval Trivet - Mat (or Dollhouse Rug)Webster 6" Sterling Silver Overlay Glass Daffodil & Vine Trivet CoasterWaechtersbach Christmas Tree Ornament Trivet With Single Shaker Virginia Metalcrafters Trivet Rubber Foot CoversVintage "enterprise" Cast Iron Sad Iron W/handle No 50 Size 1, W/ TrivetVtg Kitchen Cooking Trivet Spoon Rest Caddy Mother Of Pearl/abalone Shell ResinFranciscan Desert Rose Trivet Teapot Tea Set 17 Pc Russian Porcelain Cheese Dome Trivet Compote Cups & SaucerVirginia Metalcrafters Colonial Williamsburg Brass Cypher Trivet Cw10-14 1950Large Heavy Solid Brass Firefighter Trivet Fireman's Helmet & Ladders 1/4" ThickLarge Oval Temp-tations Baking Dish With Lid Trivet Blue Floral LaceDisney Gourmet Mickey Mouse Decorative Kitchen Raised Chef Image Tile Trivet 6"Vintage Brass Trivet Very Detailed Sad Iron Le Creuset Orange Food Warming Cast Iron TrivetVtg 1970s Retro Gold Brass Groovy Typography H-o-t Hot Plate Trivet Mod Tray ArtChina Mosaic Tile Set ~ Vintage Red White Blue Oriental Flowers Trivet 10 1/4"Trivet For An Iron / Vintage / Initial RGood Luck Cast Iron Trivet With Bald Eagle 1880s No ReserveVintage Red French Enamel Cast Iron Oval Trivet1939 New York World's Fair Trivet Hot Pad Copper ?Pewter Cast Craft Pig Trivet Pfaltzgraff Pottery Tea Rose Cat On Rug Trivet~mint With Tags! Pretty!!Vintage Electra Tile Electric Trivet "mardi Gras" Excellent Condition With BoxCampagna Vietri Cassetta Italian Pottery Painted Burgundy Chicken Table TrivetVintage Iron American Gas Machine Company Made In Albert Lee, Mn! & TrivetDansk Scandinavian Design Black Cast Iron Stove Trivet Celtic Clover 11 Inch Mackenzie Childs Square Trivet/tile 4x42000 Arthur Court Bunny Rabbit Trivet/wall Hanging - 8" Will Rogers Frankoma Tile Vintage Pottery Ceramic Wall Plaque Trivet Vintage1936Desimone Pottery Trivet - Girls In Hotair BalloonLenox Expandable Polished Aluminum 'vibe' TrivetGriswold #8 Cast Iron TrivetMickey Mouse Trivet Very Cute Only Displayed... Hot PlateLongaberger Woven Traditions Pottery Trivet - Ivory3 Antique Dutch Kids Hand Painted Scenes Hot Plate Trivet Porcelain Tile SetVintage Brass Trivet Very Detailed Sad Iron Red Cast Iron Trivet - Dutch StyleFrankoma Pottery Trivet Historic Sequoyah Cherokee Alphabet Language White SandAntique Vintage Cast Iron Stove Burner Cover Grate Insert Trivet 10-1/4" DiaPrimitive Crackle Cast Irong & Ceramic Trivet Hot Plate ~ Country DecorOld Antique Cast Iron Trivet**fox & Co**st Louis^^ No. 2 Kings Arms Trivet - Va Metalcrafters Cast Iron 1953 Vintage Cast Iron "bless This House" TrivetSet Hello Kitty Oven Mitt Glove Cooking Baking & Fabric Trivet Hot Pad - 9000022Japanese Hobnail Cast Iron Iwachu Teapot & Trivet With Stainless Steel StrainerVintage Porsgrund Norway Fish Trivet, Tile, Or Wall Plaque - Cobalt Blue & White