Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125b

Egg Coddler

ca. 1890 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Using an egg boiler or steamer, eggs could be prepared at the table and served hot and fresh to diners. A frame within the vessel held the egg under the boiling water, and the cover prevented hot steam from escaping and assisted the boiling process.

Design & Decoration
The earliest egg boilers date from the 1790s.They were usually oval, hemispherical or cylindrical in shape, on openwork feet, with the lamp resting between. They catered for between four and six eggs. This boiler is typical of late 19th-century examples, with complementary ornament such as the chicken finial on the lid and the engraved farmyard scenes. Some egg boilers had larger stands to accommodate egg cups.

Materials & Making
Walker & Hall were important manufacturing and retailing silversmiths in the 19th century, with a factory in Sheffield that supplied markets throughout the world with cheap electroplated goods from cutlery to tea wares and race prizes. The founder, George Walker, worked as an assistant to Dr John Wright, who conducted experiments that led to the development of commercial electroplating. Walker understood the significance of the new process, which could produce a cheap substitute for silver. Licensed by Elkington & Co., electroplating was a technique by which silver could be deposited on a base metal alloy, usually nickel, by the action of an electric current.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Egg Coddler
  • Lamp
  • Egg Holder
  • Lid
Materials and Techniques
Electroplated nickel silver, with engraved ornament
Brief Description
Electroplated egg coddler with integral egg stand and spirit lamp, Sheffield, Walker and Hall, about 1890
Physical Description
Oval egg boiler with domed lid surmounted by a cast chicken. The sides of the lid are engraved with flowers and pastoral scenes. The egg boiler is set upon three scrolling supports under which is an openwork spirit lamp on a circular base.
Dimensions
  • Height: 23cm
  • Diameter: 12.5cm
  • Including foot from heater diameter: 15.2cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 23/06/2000 by ET
Production typeMass produced
Marks and Inscriptions
Mark engraved: "WALKER AND HALL SHEFFIELD WARRANTED HARD AND SILVER SOLDERED, 39, 51255" and pennant with "W&H". (On the base.)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The egg boiler or steamer cooked eggs at the table using the heat from a spirit lamp. Lightly boiled eggs could be eaten at breakfast, or in the late afternoon, at high tea. A similar egg boiler was advertised in the catalogue of James Dixon & Sons of 1892 for 34s (£1.70p).(27/03/2003)
Object history
This is a vessel for coddling or boiling up to 8 eggs. Usually in the form of a cylindrical or vase-shaped receptacle with either a flat or a domed lid. Central vertical handle with loop at top to lift out integral egg stand from water. Stand for a spirit lamp. Also known as an 'egg boiler' or 'egg steamer'.



A similar coddler, also with a cast chicken on the lid, features in the J.Dixon & Sons catalogue of 1892 in electroplated nickel silver, priced 34s. For four eggs. Known here as an egg boiler.



Manufactured by Walker & Hall, Sheffield
Production
Reason For Production: Retail
Subject depicted
Summary
Object Type
Using an egg boiler or steamer, eggs could be prepared at the table and served hot and fresh to diners. A frame within the vessel held the egg under the boiling water, and the cover prevented hot steam from escaping and assisted the boiling process.

Design & Decoration
The earliest egg boilers date from the 1790s.They were usually oval, hemispherical or cylindrical in shape, on openwork feet, with the lamp resting between. They catered for between four and six eggs. This boiler is typical of late 19th-century examples, with complementary ornament such as the chicken finial on the lid and the engraved farmyard scenes. Some egg boilers had larger stands to accommodate egg cups.

Materials & Making
Walker & Hall were important manufacturing and retailing silversmiths in the 19th century, with a factory in Sheffield that supplied markets throughout the world with cheap electroplated goods from cutlery to tea wares and race prizes. The founder, George Walker, worked as an assistant to Dr John Wright, who conducted experiments that led to the development of commercial electroplating. Walker understood the significance of the new process, which could produce a cheap substitute for silver. Licensed by Elkington & Co., electroplating was a technique by which silver could be deposited on a base metal alloy, usually nickel, by the action of an electric current.
Collection
Accession Number
M.23:1 to 4-2000

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record createdJune 1, 2001
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