Among the table plate of seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century households, cruets of various kinds have been conspicuous. The pepper boxes were an early institution, and some of the older pieces are remarkably quaint both in design and in their decoration. The tops of pepper pots have always been favourite objects for the engraver to show his handiwork. Some of the peppers and pepperettes followed the fashion of the salts, and later that of the more varied tea table appointments of modern days. Some have been square, others octagonal, and - many of them of cylindrical form. The large casters and sets of cruets are among the finer pieces of later days, for following the fashion of odd pepper boxes, there came in the table cruet frame which held quite a number of
fig32 Pewter Church Flagon Irish Early 18th Century
bottles for the different condiments which increased in number as time went on. The vinegar cruet is of very ancient origin, for the Romans used these vessels and many of the early mediaeval cruets were not unlike those of modern times. The examples of eighteenth century a pepper boxes met with in collections are numerous ; the c fashion of larger sugar casters was an invention of the later days of the eighteenth century. In modern times its size has been considerably reduced, although there have been a number of replicas of these old casters made quite recently.