Thomas Atterbury received a patent in 1873 and assigned it to Atterbury and Company to manufacture “salt and pepper dredges combined.” They can be found in clear glass and the distinctive Atterbury white opaque. This rare Atterbury Twin (Fig. 11) has a handle, is double chambered, and dispenses salt from one side of the pewter top and pepper from the other, depending on the direction it is tilted. Dexterity and experience are needed for successful dispensing.
We have collected others that contain variations of the loose agitators, propellers (Fig. 12), choppers or moisture absorbing cylinders. Then there are the elusive ones such as Chain Top which was advertised in 1881 by the Union Salt Castor Company of New York. Suspended inside from the top was a long chain which the company claimed would not be rusted by the salt. Their ad also states “It is against International Law to use chain shot, but we make a shot and keep the law by using a chain in our Castors.” We have not found one of these shakers but maybe next week…next month…next year?
So much of this information comes from Dr. Arthur G. Peterson’s books that credit and gratitude must be expressed. Dr. Peterson is Honorary President of our Antique and Art Glass Salt Shaker Collectors’ Society but is also esteemed by a much wider group of glass collectors as a meticulous researcher and as one who named many glass patterns. His name appears as a reference in most recent books on pattern glass. Dr. Peterson’s book, Glass Salt Shakers, 1,000 Patters, is the shaker collector’s bible as well as a general reference for pattern names. His Glass Patents and Patterns contains a wealth of information on patents and patterns of early glass, glassmakers, inventors, and more, with illustrations. In fact, this book won the 1972 award of The Philadelphia Patent Law Association. That makes it sound rather pedantic, but it is fascinating reading for any glass collector and student.
Salt Shakers are taken very much for granted today. Some people look incredulous and question the time we’ve spent collecting them. Just see what can be learned, not only about glass and patents, but about history and the ingenuity of our ancestors. When next you salt your potatoes, give a little respect!