What is this collecting mania?
It’s fascinating to talk to people about what they collect, and why and how they started collecting a particular ‘thing’.
I have a friend who has started collecting quirky salt and pepper shakers. He didn’t intend to start a collection. He brought his beautiful cruet in to Annie’s to show me. It is a fantastic blue colour and is in the shape of a fish. It has the most wonderful pair of fish as the salt and pepper shakers which sit on the fins at the back.
My friend has now added a monkey, a pair of windmills and a slice of Paris to his collection and can definitely be classed as a collector.
I also recently had a visit from a lovely lady who brought along her photo album to show me her collection of over 400 cruets. They were crystal, ceramic and porcelain (no metal, thank you) and appeared in any imagined shapes. From animals to fruits and vegetables; round, square, triangular – you name it. They were amazing.
The one cruet set she is still searching for is in the shape of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the salt and pepper making the pylons at either end.
Cruets and salt and pepper shapes
I always understood that the word ‘cruet’ referred to a stand or base plate, with a number of smaller containers or bottles to hold salt, pepper, vinegar, etc.
Wikipedia, however, defines a cruet as “a small flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck. Cruets often have an integral lip or spout, and may also have a handle. Unlike a small carafe, a cruet has a stopper, lid, or phoedelia,” (the church name for the stoppers that accompany the cruets.)
It follows that a cruet-stand (or cruet in British English) is a small metal, ceramic or glass stand that holds the containers for condiments. These typically include salt and pepper shakers, and often cruets or bottles of vinegar and olive oil. The stand and containers form a cruet set.
When David and I travel, we keep an eye out for items that customers have requested and salt and pepper shakers is one category where we are looking for a
number of specific sets. One is the Sydney Harbour Bridge mentioned above and the other is a married couple – newly married on one side and an older couple on the other.
While we are looking for specific items, we often find others that we just can’t leave behind. Some of the salt and peppers we have collected include langouste or lobsters, Mother Goose and her goose, stunning peacocks, beautiful green deco uranium glass, silver plated sets, old Bakelite, vintage 1950s depression glass, crystal, china and pottery.
Of course, we can say that we are not really collectors, we just buy them for Annie’s.
Till next time, take care.