The dinner castor, or cruet holder, was a very popular table item in the 19th century. It consisted of a silver or silverplate frame which usually held 5 or 6 cruet bottles. Breakfast castors generally contained 3 or 4 bottles. Most dinner castors of the Victorian era were, as you’d expect, very fancy. Some had a call bell on the handle, others had a flower vase and some had a revolving frame. Some castors had a removable bottle rack so that the base could be used as a fruit stand.

Most Cruet bottles were made of plain or engraved glass but could also be purchased in the more expensive cut glass. The majority of cruets were clear glass but some cut glass designs were available in blue, amber and cranberry. Manufacturers offered buyers a choice of handles and cruet styles.

   

Sampling of cruet styles below. Prices for these examples ranged from $4.50 to $30.00 (a lot of money in the 1800s).Sampling of cruet styles below. Prices for these examples ranged from $4.50 to $30.00 (a lot of money in the 1800s).Sampling of cruet styles below. Prices for these examples ranged from $4.50 to $30.00 (a lot of money in the 1800s).

Sampling of frame handle styles below. Top row with vases, bottom row with call bells:

Silver castors were produced in huge quantities, so many of them have survived. They are not always in the best condition, and many are missing some or all of the cruet bottles. The cost to replate an antique 6 bottle castor frame is about $110-130. It could be more cost-effective to find a frame in good condition without the bottles. If you need one or two bottles, you may have difficulty finding them to match your set. It is sometimes easier to find a complete set of 6 cruet bottles without the frame, so you could replace the entire set.

       

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