Antique Christmas Tree Stands
When displaying and decorating cut spruce Christmas trees first came in vogue, it presented the age-old problem: how best to hold the tree upright? To this end, a number of Christmas tree stand designs were invented, ranging from homemade tripods to ornate spring-based mechanical stands, some complete with music boxes! At least 20 different stand designs were patented before the end of the 19th century.
A couple of tree stand designs from the 19th century include the cylindrical stand patented in 1876 by Mott and Albrecht (which used a rotating ring and clamps to secure the tree) and a simple double-pronged stand patented in 1891 by Martin Merk. Both of these were made of cast iron, and the Merk stands can be identified by the name of the inventor and the patent date inscribed on the rim of the base.