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CD 100

  • Object:

    Table Heater

  • Place of origin:

    Tipton (made)
    Chipping Campden (designed)

  • Date:

    1978 (made)
    1961 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Robert Welch MBE, RDI (designer)
    Victor Castings Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Victor Castings Ltd

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Robert Welch (1929-2000) was trained at the Birmingham School of Art under Ralph Baxendale and Cyril Shiner. From 1952 to 1955 he was at the Royal College of Art, after which he was appointed as design consultant to J.J. Wiggin of Bloxwich, manufacturers of stainless steel tableware. Throughout his career he undertook many industrial design commissions (he designed the stainless steel tableware for the Orient liner <font –I>Oriana</font>) while continuing to practise as a silversmith.

Physical description

Table heater of cast iron, patinated black. A squat cylinder supported on three, hemispherical feet, a wide falnge encirles the middle of the body, the circular candle holder holding a tea light is in the centre supported by three spokes attached to the internal circumference of the main body, the upper edge of ehich has three, equally place cut out sections. The body supports a circular plate (detachable) with a central, circular aperture from which radiates a continuous series of spokes.

Place of Origin

Tipton (made)
Chipping Campden (designed)


1978 (made)
1961 (designed)


Robert Welch MBE, RDI (designer)
Victor Castings Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron

Marks and inscriptions

Embossed lettering on the underside of the candle holder.

Kitemark label for the London Design Centre


Height: 7 cm, Diameter: 19 cm

Historical context note

Robert Welch's interest in cast iron dates from 1960. Although a common enough material in the manufacture of kitchen implements, it was at that time a new material for tableware. Its use for items suited to a dinner party is probably linked to the interest in 'natural' and unadorned materials suited to the growing habit of dining in the kitchen.

Welch's first range of products in black iron included a set of three candlesticks, pepper and salt mills and a fruit stand as well as this nutcracker. The curved flange forms, and, in this case, the bar-bell screw press, are reminiscent of the bold simple shapes of nineteenth century engineering. They proved to be adaptable to a wide variety of applications which in time formed a large number of related pieces. Interest from export markets, principally Denmark and the USA, was immediate when this range was launched in 1962.

[Eric Turner, 'British Design at Home', p.179]

Descriptive line

Table heater, cast iron, made by Victor Castings Ltd., Tipton, 1978, designed by Robert Welch, 1961.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Charlotte and Peter Fiell, Robert Welch, Design: Craft and Industry, London, Laurence King Publishing, 2015, pp.97. ill. ISBN: 9781780676050


Cast iron




Ironwork; Metalwork; Tableware & cutlery

Production Type

Mass produced


Metalwork Collection

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