Salt Cellars

Salt used to be an expensive item. To show it’s worth, containers housing it were also made of a similar worth. In fact cellars showed a persons social and economic status, the fancier the cellar the higher status you had. Imagine that! All from a salt container.

Margaret’s first salt cellar.

Margaret has around 100 cellars. Her collection is made up of glass and crystal cellars. Including one crystal cellar that was pulled out of the garden when renovations were undertaken at their house. Her collection began when a friend gave her a salt cellar for her birthday, a cellar that she used for daily use.

The salt cellar found in the garden.

In the dining room, the collection sits in an old printers tray that is displayed vertically. It is a beautiful collection due to it’s originality and lack of knowledge people have about cellars. It seems right to have the collection displayed in the dining room, discussing the history of salt, whilst eating a delicious meal.

I knew little about the history of salt and it’s containers until I looked into it to share this post. Salt shakers that were invented in the 19th century had a hard central piece in the middle of it and when you shook it, little pieces of the salt would break off. It wasn’t until 1911 that a company added magnesium carbonate to their product that it made it possible to pour salt from a sealed container changing the way we used salt shakers and had more control of this precious resource.

Large cellars sit next to the printers tray on a side board.

I loved finding all this information. I have to say that I haven’t thought much about the history of salt but I do use a cellar myself, rock salt on one side and fine salt on the other. Have a look at some passionate people who truly love salt containers- -it almost makes me want to visit the museum.

Just to finish off I want to share one of Margaret’s secrets to ensure safe displaying, especially in a city with many earthquakes like Wellington. Quake wax from Kirkcaldies in Wellington city which costs around $30. Lets precious collections sit with a little more stick to side boards and printers trays! Do you have a secret displaying technique for any of your collections? 

This entry was published on May 28, 2012 at 11:38 am. It’s filed under Glassware, Other and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Salt Cellars

  1. You’re feeding my addiction to collections, Alice. Makes me want to start a new collection, or find out some more of the history and stories that go with my current collections. This is so much fun!

  2. I love your blog, so much information about collections & the reason people collect what they do. I have a question which may be controversial given what your blog is about but here goes… when does a desire to collect become hoarding?! I only ask as I’m a bit of a “lets have a good clear out” kind of person, I’m not overly sentimental about items but I do appreciate that certain things remind us not only of great times we’ve had but also of great people. Is a collection a collection only when its displayed appropriately? Does it need to be viewed or even touched or played with – I’m thinking of the marbles here – to give it collection status? mmm……

    • Karen, I have been giving this a lot of thought. As long as you love or have a passion for your collection it’s a collection. Like I have a collection of dust, however I’m not proud of it, don’t talk about it, and won’t put it on display. But I also have collections of other things that I do like to show off, look at and touch. Some are worthless and others I could sell for $20! If you have thrown stuff away and it hasn’t meant anything to you, then it’s not what you need to collect. Find something that draws you in. Something you find beautiful. Start with one and go from there. It doesn’t need to be old- I saw an excellent collection of subway tickets, displayed so fantastically. What are you into?

  3. Kirsty Ferguson on said:

    Awesome, that’s very interesting… And wow a geat collection Alice. What other treasures will you uncover…love the quake wax, cool, I use blue tack, but that’s probably better. Kirsty ferguson

  4. becky on said:

    Love it, I think I may even have a salt celler lurking about but I didn’t know what is was until now ; )

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