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Magic Dinner Caster

Decorative Arts and Design

Silver objects had long been cherished as status symbols because they were made out of the same silver that was used for coinage. By the mid-nineteenth century, the new technology of electroplating provided the appearance of silver at a fraction of the cost.

The Industrial Revolution created a fascination with novelty objects made for the middle class, such as the “magic caster,” patented by Edward Gleason in 1856. The turn of a knob rotates the niches to reveal bottles for condiments such as mustard, ketchup, and pepper.
MEDIUM Silverplate, colorless glass
DATES Patented December 1, 1857
DIMENSIONS 17 x 9 1/8 x 9 1/8 in. (43.2 x 23.2 x 23.2 cm) 4 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (11.4 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS embossed on one of six panels: "PATENTED DEC. 1 1857"
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
ACCESSION NUMBER 87.175.1-.7a-b
CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION R. Gleason & Sons. Magic Dinner Caster, Patented December 1, 1857. Silverplate, colorless glass, 17 x 9 1/8 x 9 1/8 in. (43.2 x 23.2 x 23.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 87.175.1-.7a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.175.1-.7a-b_closed_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, closed, 87.175.1-.7a-b_closed_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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