Trivets were originally made for cooking purposes, but now serve even more functions. Cast iron is an iron-carbon alloy that also contains other elements, such as silicon, manganese, sulfur and phosphorus. Cast iron trivets were originally produced to take advantage of cast iron's excellent heat distribution and retention abilities, creating sturdy and reliable cooking surfaces.
Why Cast Iron?
Cast iron trivets are sturdy and reliable. Cast iron is often seasoned in polymerized oils and fats. The seasoning creates a stick-resistant coating and prevents rust. It may also be enameled for the same purposes. Rust is no longer an issue, and food spills are easily cleaned.
Cast Iron Trivets
Trivets were generally made of wrought iron until the 1830s. It was then that cast iron trivets were introduced. By the 1850s, nearly all trivets were made from cast iron. This was due to cast iron's excellent ability to distribute and retain heat.
The Purpose of Trivets
In the 1800s much of cooking was done over open hearths. The trivet was created to hold pots and pans used for cooking. Cast iron trivets kept the bottom of the cookware evenly heated and warm, allowing the food inside to cook uniformly. Nowadays, trivets are mainly used to set hot pots and pans on, protecting countertop and table surfaces. They are also used for cooking outdoors. The trivet is placed on top of coals, where it heats up and provides a level surface for cookware.
Some cast iron trivets are basic circles, while others are different shapes and made to match a multitude of décor styles. They may exhibit elegant cut-out designs, such as scrolls or flowers. Rooster, sun burst or other decorative images are often seen on trivet designs. Different styles are made by pouring the melted material into a custom trivet cast, where it cools into its final form. Some trivets are simply enameled and painted.
Caring for Cast Iron Trivets
Caring for cast iron trivets is simple. Merely rinse the cast iron trivet under hot water and gently scrub with a sponge when necessary. Do not use abrasive cleansing pads or detergents, which may remove the seasoning from seasoned cast iron. For enameled cast iron, wipe it clean with a hot, wet cloth.