History of Grand Dining – Silver for breakfast, dining in style and a grand display. Today we call it brunch.
Used in private homes and across public dining rooms and hotels Silver egg coddlers were a desirable table piece for elegant dining. Using an egg boiler or steamer, eggs could be prepared at the table and served hot and fresh to diners.
A frame within the egg coddler holds four eggs under the boiling water keeping them warm, and the cover prevents hot steam from escaping and assists the boiling process. A burner sits underneath to maintain the temperature. The burner would originally have had a methylated spirit tablet
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 the feet . 19th-century examples were designed with complementary ornament such as the chicken finial on the lid and engraved farmyard scenes. The final lid ornament is one of the main characteristics of collecting and sourcing egg coddlers. It consists of simple black wooden knobs or the more desirable cast animals like hens eagles and more obscure ones like kangaroos.
Some of these coddlers were sterling silver but a greater number were silver plate.
The majority of old plate was made by master silversmiths and just as much work went into the manufacture of an article as went into one of solid silver. This fact is often forgotten.
It is unusual to find an English Breakfast Egg Coddler, Boiler, Steamer that is complete! Often the internal frame for holding four eggs and the spirit burner are missing. We have some fine egg coddlers for sale from 19th century silversmiths / makers including William Hutton, Walker & Hall and Maplin and Webb. Many of our decorative coddlers have the desirable animal finials.
Walker & Hall were important manufacturing and retailing silversmiths in the 19th century, with a factory in Sheffield that supplied markets throughout the world with electroplated silver
We have some impressive egg coddlers, many with all original parts still in place. Most of our metal coddlers are in silver plate. We have collated some with plain and simple design others have fabulous hand chasing and embossed decoration. We even have some later European copper examples. Here are some ideas what to do with an egg coddler today. Or check out our Pinterest boaord 'Dine and Brunch' for some more images of antique silver egg coddlers
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