Monday, August 2, 2010

Carol D.'s Collection of S&Ps

Salt and his parter, pepper, are the most popular spices in the world. This popularity has spawned a mini industry of mini shakers. If you have to have a set of S&P shakers, why not create them in the shape of something…ceramic pigs, U.S. state outlines, out houses and, most interesting, buildings and monuments. S&P collector Carol D. inherited both here interest and some of her collection from her Grandmother. "When we traveled we would get two sets, one for me and one for grandmom," Carol said. "Then after she passed away I inherited her collection. My collection holds a lot of memories of my grandmother, trips I have taken and gifts from friends. I just like them" A subset of her S&P collection are replicas of buildings which could dispense condiments. But, collectors never fill their metal shakers with salt as it will corrode the material. "I always liked souvenirs and I had started looking for some buildings." She said. "Then several years ago (I guess October 1994), I was at Atlantique in Atlantic City and came across a booth with lots of metal buildings. It was David and Margaret. They had information in their booth about the SBCS that I picked up. I joined the club shortly thereafter. I missed the first New York convention (1995), but attended the second in Washington DC in 1997." Her collection is always growing. "I have been collecting shakers for about 45 years. I have about 1,000 sets of salt and peppers. I would say I have maybe 50 to 75 or a few more that are buildings." Her very first shaker was the corn palace. "It was in my grandmother’s collection. I think she got it when we visited the corn palace on our big 3 week trip out west. I think the first building I got on my own was probably a ceramic Washington Monument and Capitol. I got them in April of 1976 on a one day trip to DC." Like parents, we never tell our collections which among them is our favorite, but secretly, we all do have one we enjoy the most. " My favorite building set I guess might be the corn palace. Nice memories of our trip there and my grandmother." As collectors, we are always on the hunt for additional pieces. Carol adds to her collection through "Gift shops when we travel, at the S&P convention, Ebay and looking around antique shops. I also have gotten several sets as gifts." Carol has her collection displayed in a few different rooms of her home. "My uncle built cabinets that hang on the wall and show my shakers off very well. That is how I display most of my collection. I also have two curio cabinets. In one room I have a real 6 ft long, cast iron pig trough that I use to display my pig shakers." Carol continued, "With collecting souvenir shakers I have fun when I travel trying to go see the places that I have shakers of. It was great to see the corn palace, the Irish Hills towers, or the Duck Baby and Frog Baby statues. I have salt and pepper shakers from a restaurant in Portland. When the S&P convention was in Portland several of us went and had lunch at the restaurant. Waddles – their motto was “walk in waddle out”. The portions were huge. Their symbol was a duck and that is what the shaker is of. I am sorry to say that the restaurant has since closed and been demolished." Her collection is close to her heart. "I have lots of memories with my shakers because of my grandmother and because of the places I have been. But meeting fellow collectors and the friendships I have made are a very important part of my collecting," Carol said. Souvenir building collectors have the SBCS. Similarly, S&P fans have their owns collector's group - the Salt & Pepper Novelty Shakers Club. "Salt and Pepper collectors are crazy and proud of it." Carol said. "We are much more informal and just plain fun. (Recently) at the S&P convention, they had a pajama party. I was amazed at the crazy outfits that people wore. I just can’t imagine the SBCS doing something like that. But by the same token, I really enjoy going to the SBCS and touring the cities and learning about the buildings and architecture. They are both great groups of people, but very different." I have written in the past about salt & pepper replica buildings, but wondered about the history of these ubiquitous condiment holders. Before there were salt and pepper shakers as we know them today, Victorian-era diner placed their salt in open cellars. Salt came in large rock form and had to be chipped off to be utilized in smaller quantities. Later, salt mills used an arm device to break the salt up. As Salt was sold in small, granular form, salt shakers began to take their more modern appearance. According to another website devoted to S&P's, "The production of salt and pepper shakers really took off in the 1940's with the birth of modern ceramics. It became easier to make shakers in a variety of shapes and designs. The market for souvenir shakers and novelty shakers grew with the capacity to produce such items affordably. Today, salt and pepper shakers can be found in nearly every conceivable shape and size. They are made in a variety of materials including wood, metal, ceramics, glass, and plastics." There is even an Museum of Salt & Pepper Shakers in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

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