Antique Sterling Salt and Pepper Shakers

Before matching salt-and-pepper shakers became popular in the late Victorian era, better households offered their guests salt cellars (or salts, as they were also known) and pepper casters at the dining table. The best examples of these objects were made out of sterling silver.

Salt cellars from the early part of the 18th century were round, rectangular, or octagonal in shape, usually with no feet. Later in the century, footed cellars with pierced sides were popular—a glass dish that fit within the cellar kept the salt from spilling out. In those days, guests did not typically “pass the salt.” Instead, salts were sold in sets, so that each guest might have his or her own, which was not a bad idea since salt was commonly applied to food with the fingers.

Casters were used for a number of spices, but they are most closely associated with pepper. So named because they allowed users to “cast” spices upon their food, casters had round bodies and domed tops, which were secured to the bodies with clasps. A variation on the caster was the pepper box, which accomplished the same thing as a caster but had squared-off sides and a handle.

By the 19th century, casters had won the design competition over cellars, as matching salt-and-pepper shakers that could be passed around the table from guest to guest became the dominant form. Some had ornately detailed feet and sides, with fussy finials at the top. Others were balanced on circular or square pedestals, and many antique sterling silver salt-and-pepper shakers were engraved with a family’s monogram.

Of particular interest to collectors are the novelty salt-and-pepper shakers from the Victorian era. British shakers in the form of dogs and bears are today very collectible. Also prized are the early 20th-century Art Nouveau shakers by Georg Jensen of Copenhagen and Liberty & Co. of London, which also produced silver shakers in the Arts and Crafts style.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

David Andersen Yellow Guilloche Enamel & Silver Pair Salt Cellars Pots NorwayFrench Empire Silver Birds Swan Salt Dish Art Nouveau Antique Table WareVintage Norway Norweigian Silver & Enamel Viking Ship Open Salt Theodor OlsensLarge Antique Solid Silver Sugar Castor Shaker 1887 Sheffield By James RossiterAntique Chinese Solid Silver Hung Chong Signed Dragon Punch Bowl Open Table SaltBeautiful, Ornate Silver Metal Pedestal Open Salt Dip, Cellar, Dish W/glass!Pair Antique Imperial Russian Sterling Silver 84 Figural Swan Salt Cellars.Gorgeous Pair 19th C German Solid Silver Salt Cellars Sphynx Empire Sy & WagnerMt. Washington Ribbed Pillar Salt & Pepper Shakers Pairpoint Silver Plate HolderBeautiful English Antique 1903 Solid Silver Sugar Shaker In Original Fitted CaseP. Orr & Sons Late 19th Century Swami Madras Indian Silver Pair Of Salt PotsPair Of 19th Century Indian Silver Castors Typical Decoration Very Special Pair Of Beautiful Art Deco Danish Silver & Enamel Salts By Egon Lauridsen ExcRare Edwardian Solid Silver Teddy Bear Pepperette London 1909 - Novelty SilverPeruvian Sterling Silver 925 Holder Figure Llama Salt And Pepper Shakers Antique Norwegian Sterling Silver Cornucopia Condiment Set Theodor Olsen C19505x Sterling Silver Sugar Mustard Pepperette Open Salt Jar / Pot Set & Blue GlassGeorgian Mid 18th Century Hallmarked Silver Castor With Period DecorationPair Of Sterling Silver 950 Japanese Round Pagoda Salt And Pepper ShakersQuality Solid Silver Hm1948 Celtic Design Salt Pepper Mustard Blue Glass AntiqueJapanese Shamisen 950 Sterling Silver Banjo Guitar Salt And Pepper Two SetVintage Solid 925 Sterling Silver Blue Enamel Georg Jensen Denmark SaltStunning Arts & Crafts Solid Silver Pepperpot - 1908 Birmingham - Lionel SmithGeorgian Mid 18th Century Hallmarked Silver Castor By London MakerAntique Circa 1760 Hallmarked Silver Pepper / Cruet PotSilver Novelty Salt & Pepper Pots Shaped Like Wicker Baskets - Estate ClearanceSterling Silver Swan Open Salt Cellar With Double Crystal Body Antique Silver Pepper Pot Birmingham 1903 Ref 246/6Solid Silver Art Nouveau Victorian Pepper Shaker Henry Hobson 1900Rare Wood & Sterling Silver Pepper / Pepperette Grinder By Hardy Brothers C.195519th C Victorian Sterling Silver Repousse Cauldron Salt Pinch Pot William CooperAntique Japanese Sterling 950 Silver Salt & Pepper Shaker Set Man Pole & Buckets3 Crystal Sterling Silver Divided Salt Pepper Swans. Marked .835Fine Quality Turned Rosewood & Silver Mounted Pepper Grinder Mill Hm1981 No ResSilver Pepper With Blue Glass Liner. London 1931.Lovely Small Solid Silver Pepper ShakerA Stunning Antique Solid Sterling Silver Victorian Pepper Pepperette Dates 1899.Antique Sterling Silver Gorham Bee Hive Salt & Pepper ShakersFine Solid Silver Art Deco Pepperette - Bham 1920 - Sanders & MackenzieLarge & Heavy Solid Silver Sugar Caster/shaker Adie Brothers 1963Fisher Sterling Salt & Pepper Shakers #441 Solid Sterling Silver Not WeightedHm1907 Antique Solid Silver Salts Shell Shaped Cased William Davenport No ResExtremely Rare Solid Silver Egg Shape Victorian Novelty Pepper Shaker 1881An Antique Sterling Silver Three Piece Condiment Cruet Set Sheffield 1908.Goebel Tiny Silver Clad Breton Girl & Boy Vintage Salt & Pepper Shakers -p449/50Job Lot Antique/vintage Silver Scrap Or Re-use Hm 1896-1955 Pepperette/spoons Russian Silver Salt BowlVintage Cartier 8 Pc Sterling Silver Salt & Pepper Shaker Set In Original Box Small Silver 925 Sugar Or Salt Scoop House Clearance FindHo Scale Bachmann Silver Series Cargill Salt Acf Covered Hopper Car TrainVintage Silver Plate Repousse Salt & Pepper Shakers SetVintage Cartier Sterling & Gold Salt & Pepper ShakersVintage Sterling Silver Weighted Candlestick Lot, Salt And Pepper Keep Or Scrap2 Sterling 950 Salt & Pepper Shakers-asian-figural-2.1 Ozt-3 Inch-nr!A Fine Sterling Silver Open Salt & Blue Glass Liner Birmingham 1920.Pair Of Vintage Sterling Silver Salt And Pepper ShakersBoyd's Sterling Thumbhole Stock Remington 870 20 Ga. Pepper Finish 14" Oa2 Antique Vintage Atkin Bros Sterling Silver Handled Open Salt Cellars C1915 70gAntique Russian Silver And Enamel Salt Pot With Clear Glass LinerSix Vintage Sterling Silver Salt & Peppers Shakers 3 Pairs