What is a salt cellar? This is a question I get asked frequently. The short answer is that it is a dish to hold salt that has been ground or crushed. Many times this answer leads into more questions. Until the early 1900s, depending on the climate you lived in, salt would frequently clump up even if it had been recently ground or crushed. Morton Salt provides a short history of salt and their part in how we use and consume salt today. Morton Salt states they began adding an anti-caking agent so that salt would not clump. If you are familiar with their logo – a girl holding an umbrella and their slogan regarding salt free flowing even if it is raining – you now know where that originates! Free flowing salt was not available until the early 1900s. Prior to that, people needed a way to offer ground salt while dining, hence a salt cellar.
For me, this hobby has created a cascade of questions in the years that I have been collecting and making salt cellar pincushions. I have become interested in the history of salt and its importance for us physically as well as its societal role. I’ve learned so much! Thanks for joining me in my salt cellar journey.
Happy glass shopping! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
July 22, 2022 at 11:32 am
Lesley, thank you for the salt history lesson. I remember my mother putting out salt “cellars” on the holiday tables, they were as tiny as the first ones I bought from you, beautiful cut crystal glass. I wish I had some of hers.
I just love your finds! Interestingly enough, I never ever see them where I scour for used things here.
July 22, 2022 at 11:43 am
Thanks Marty! The history is really interesting. I wonder if the midwest has more salts when antiquing due to many of the glass manufacturers being located in that area. Ohio had a lot of glass manufacturers in the 1800s – a good blog post topic – because of natural resources needed to make the glass. I think there’s a “repository” of sorts there because of the long ago and current day manufacturing. I wish you had your moms salts too!