Date Made/Found: Around 1786
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate
Dimensions: Overall: 130 x 140 x 240mm (5 1/8 x 5 1/2 x 9 7/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1943.223
This is a toast rack made of Old Sheffield Plate. It dates from around 1800.
The earliest plated wire was made with copper or brass hollow tubing with a coating of thin fused plated metal secured around it. This did not wear very well and was thus unpopular. In about 1768 solid plated wire was introduced, produced by rolling mills in strips. The method was improved in the 1780s by former apprentices of Matthew Boulton of Birmingham.
The toast rack would have been used to carry and serve toast at the table. It would most probably have been used at a light meal such as breakfast or supper. In the late 1700s toast racks were often combined with other useful items such as egg cups, salt dishes and pepper casters.
Like many old Sheffield Plate objects this toast rack has no manufacturers mark. Unlike Sterling silver there was no requirement for Old Sheffield Plate to be marked either by the makers, or assayed for purity and hallmarked by the Assay Office. Some manufacturers chose to mark their goods but many did not. The ‘L’ on the base of this object is likely to be the mark of the individual craftsman who made this particular rack.
This object is part of the Bradbury Collection.