Previously we discussed how salt cellars were used prior to the introduction of free-flowing salt. Salt and pepper shakers are now a staple in most homes and make a fun, useful collectible. Shaker collecting is so popular that there are clubs and museums dedicated to shaker enthusiasts.
In 1858, John Mason, inventor of the Mason jar, created the first saltshaker by punching holes in a tin cap to distribute salt across his food. In 1871 C. P. Crossman patented an agitator which broke up clumps and kept salt free-flowing. Later salt was more finely milled and ceramic containers with perforations in their tops were invented. Prior to these inventions, salt mills similar to pepper grinders, ground the salt into small bits.
Salt shakers became increasingly common after anti-caking agents were introduced by the Morton Salt company in the 1920s. The Great Depression of the 1930s boosted the popularity of shakers as Japanese ceramics producers concentrated on exporting inexpensive items. By the 1940s and ’50s, novelty shakers shaped like produce, animals and other characters, were in demand. As Americans traveled more by car, shakers became popular road-trip souvenirs.
Whether a vintage find or a souvenir of travel, shakers can add a little charm to your home.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a variety of salt and pepper shakers and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!