| Sheila Howell

Collecting Antique Salt Cellars

Salt is one of the earliest known food seasonings and preservatives, and its scarcity and difficulty to harvest made it extremely valuable in trade and as religious offerings.

In earlier centuries, every formal dining tables and many family kitchen tables held a small bowl to hold a treasured seasoning, salt. Wealthy families displayed their status by serving large quantities of salt at their table in precious containers. A luxury food flavoring used since Roman times, salt cellars are open or closed containers to serve salt at the table. Small salt cellars are placed at each place setting for individual use, larger salt cellars are shared and passed. 

Salt cellars can be highly ornamental and be made of silver, glass, china, pewter, stoneware and other materials. Many salt cellars had a liner of glass or gold to prevent the properties of salt from corroding their silver salt cellars. Salt cellars are often simply called salts; other names for salt cellars include:

  • salt bowls
  • salt pigs
  • salt dip
  • standing salt
  • open salt 

Salt cellars are often paired with tiny spoons used to serve the salt. 

Morton SaltWhile salt cellars continue to be made, the use of salt cellars declined starting in 1911 when salt was packaged with ingredients to prevent it from clumping and salt shakers became popular. Morton Salt was famous for its picture of a young girl walking and carrying an umbrella, and its slogan: When it rains, it pours. 

Many hosts and hostesses continue to use salt cellars when entertaining. Salt cellars continue to be manufactured today; antique salt cellars and spoons are highly collectible and easy to find in a wide price range. 

Antique German Porcelain Salt Cellars | European Finds | Online Antique Warehouse 

Fine Porcelain Salt Bowls with Gold Trim and Feet 

A set of gold encrusted German porcelain salt bowls. Gilded band trims the delicate ruffled edges and the footed bottoms are trimmed in gold as well. There is one bowl with a hairline crack and small hole on the side.  Origin Germany circa 1920.

Set of 7


European Finds has antique salt cellars and other tableware accessories available in our online antique warehouse. If you don't see what you are looking for, give us a call, and perhaps we can help you find the perfect piece!  We also provide antique sourcing services if you are looking for a specific piece.

Contact: customerservice@europeanfinds.com