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Toast rack

Toast rack

  • Place of origin:

    Sheffield (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790-1795 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sheffield plate, a laminate of sterling silver fused on to a copper core

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs M. D. Chaplin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 65, The Whiteley Galleries, case 16, shelf 1

Toast racks such as this were an elegant way of serving toast at the breakfast table. They first appeared in the 1780s as part of the general refinement of dining customs among the middle classes. Silversmiths initially explored a variety of designs, including articulated racks, before the simple arrangement of parallel arches became standard.

This example is made of Sheffield plate, a thin layer of silver fused onto a copper core. From the 1760s fused plate wire of varying diameters was made in the rolling mills. Manufacturers of toast racks took advantage of improvements in the manufacture of fused plate wire and many of their pieces are made almost entirely of sections of wire soldered together. Wirework objects and dishes first became popular in the 1780s and continued to be manufactured well into the 19th century.

Physical description

Toast rack. Sheffield plate, boat shaped tray, the sides pierced with vertical slots, the ends with sprays and palmettes. Seven graduated wire partitions with beaded edges, the middle one with a loop handle.

Place of Origin

Sheffield (probably, made)


ca. 1790-1795 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Sheffield plate, a laminate of sterling silver fused on to a copper core

Marks and inscriptions

No marks


Height: 6 in, Length: 10.125 in

Descriptive line

Sheffield plate

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail


Sheffield plate

Subjects depicted



Eating; Metalwork; Tableware & cutlery

Production Type

Mass produced


Metalwork Collection

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