At one time, toothpick holders were expensive cases carried on ones person. Some toothpicks were personal items made of gold, silver and ivory. Other toothpicks were just whittled out of wood as needed. Toothpick holders as we know them today were not necessary until disposable wooden or quill toothpicks were introduced in the 19th century.
Toothpick holders were made of glass, ceramics, and metal. They did lose their popularity when Victorian etiquette frowned upon cleaning one's teeth at the table. In the 20th century, they became a collector's item. Today they can be found made of wood along with glass, ceramic and metal in all different shapes.
Imperial Glass Bellaire Toothpick Holder Vintage Purple Slag Glass #505
Vintage Imperial Glass Toothpick Holder. This vintage glass toothpick holder was made by Imperial Glass. IG's mark is on the bottom inside the holder. The toothpick holder is a purple slag glass. It is in pattern #505, aka Bellaire. It is approx. 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". It is in good condition with minor wear and aging .
Both salt and pepper used to be served in cellars with small spoons. However, the salt would gather moisture and clump. In the 1920's, Morton Salt added magnesium carbonate to salt to prevent the clumping. This allowed for salt to poured out of a sealed container. Since pepper was always served with salt, and thought of as a pair, pepper shakers were also created.
The automobile industry is responsible for salt and pepper shakers becoming a collectible. People could travel more easily and shakers were a perfect gift due to size, price and subject matter.
Even today, salt and pepper shakers are quite collectible. You can choose to collect by style, colors, singles or by what they are made out of. Anyway you choose, they are perfect to be put on your vintage shelf display!
1. The Salt and Pepper Museum
2. Wise Apple Vintage
3. Smithsonian Magazine