A salt cellar, also called an open salt, is a special dish designed to hold and dispense salt. Their use is documented as far back as ancient Rome and continues through the first half of the 20th century.
In well-to-do households during the middle-ages, the head of the house was given a salt bowl called a master salt with a tiny silver spoon. This cellar would be passed around the table to guests, and each would help themselves. With the introduction of free-flowing salt in 1911, use of cellars declined as they were replaced by salt shakers.
Salt cellars are still available today, but most now have lids. These salt cellars come in porcelain, glass, or wood and are used at the stove instead of being placed on the table. Instead of using a measuring spoon cooks can use their fingers when a recipe calls for a pinch of salt.
In addition to being a practical kitchen item, cellars are also affordable and interesting collectibles.
They come in a wide variety of materials including glass, silver and pottery and their styles range from classically elegant to whimsical.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a wide selection of salt cellars and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!