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.
Kanawha Strawberry Toothpick Holder Green Marbled Glass
Vintage Green Strawberry Toothpick. This vintage green marbled glass toothpick holder has a strawberry design. It was made by Kanawha. The toothpick is approx. 2 1/2" tall x 2" across the opening. It is in good condition with some wear and aging.
Swans and Cattails Toothpick Holder Westmoreland Milk Glass #115
Vintage Swan Toothpick Holder. This vintage milk glass toothpick holder is by Westmoreland Glass. It is called Swans and Cattails and is pattern #115. The toothpick is approx. 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". It is in wonderful condition with minor wear and aging.
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 .
Manhattan Toothpick Holder US Glass EAPG New York Gold Accent
Antique Manhattan Toothpick Holder. This antique Early American Pattern Glass toothpick is in the Manhattan pattern. It was made by US Glass between 1902 and 1910. It is aka New York. It is clear EAPG glass with gold accents. Most of the gold has worn off. The toothpick holder is approx. 2 3/8" tall x 2 1/8" across the top. The holder is in good condition. There is wear and aging and some chipping to the bottom.
McKee Glass Peek A Boo Toothpick Holder Antique Clear Glass 1890's
Antique McKee Toothpick Holder. This antique clear glass toothpick holder is EAPG or Early American Pattern Glass. The toothpick was originally made by Belmount Glass, then by McKee Glass after 1890. It is their Peek A Boo pattern. The toothpick does have a hallow base. It is approx. 3 3/4" tall. There is some wear and aging along with some chipping and roughness.
Dog Toothpick Holder Delft Blue Hand Painted Puppy
Vintage Puppy Toothpick Holder. This vintage delft blue toothpick holder features an sweet little puppy or dog. It is approx. 3" across x 2 3/4" tall. The holder is marked 1984 DAIC, hand painted delft blue on the bottom. It is in good condition with some wear and aging.
Brown Lion Toothpick Holder Ceramic
Vintage Lion Toothpick Holder. This vintage ceramic lion is a toothpick holder. He is brown in color. The lion is approx. 4 1/2" x 3 1/4". He is in good condition with some wear and aging.
Joe St. Clair Bicentennial Toothpick Holder Vintage Blue Carnival Glass
Vintage Blue Glass Toothpick Holder. This vintage blue carnival glass toothpick holder was made by Joe St. Clair. It is their Bicentennial holder featuring presidents and liberty bell. The toothpick holder is approx. 3" tall x 2" across the top. It is in wonderful 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