By Sally Sebert

The word “Novelty” in our club name means we primarily collect figural character shakers, i.e., people, animals, fruits and vegetables and objects. We do not include antique painted glass or traditional silver/metal sets as another club specializes in those nor do we collect standard cylindrical restaurant-style shakers – which doesn’t mean we do not have some in our collections!

Materials to make novelty shakers are limitless. Shakers can be glass, porcelain, plastic, ceramic, metal, wood, etc.

What’s a Novelty Pair?

Firstly, any salt and pepper shaker set in its original combination is a PAIR. What the shaker set looks like (FIGURE) and how it is formed (FORM) further define how a collector describes it. A figural character PAIR will have a FIGURE definition, but may not have a FORM definition – such as two realistic dogs that stand alone without a tray or any other unique structural feature are just a PAIRof realistic animals.

Figure Vs. Form

FIGURE is the figural character of the set – is the set a circus character (clown, dressed elephant or trained seal), a Christmas character (Santa, elf, snowman or reindeer), a marked advertising character (person, sign, or object), a person character (ethnic, realistic or funny stylized), a non-human character with human features (vegetable, egg or animal), or an animal character (realistic or funny stylized), etc.?

FORM is the structural makeup of the set – does one piece sit on top of the other, are the pieces meant to touch/kiss/hug each other, are both the salt and pepper built into just one piece instead of two, are the pieces over 6″ long or high or are they very thin, are they formed to sit or lay on a bench or shelf, are they meant to sit on another piece/tray, etc.?

There are unique name definitions for each one of these shaker forms and more listed below with shaker photos to help you learn to identify them.

Many shaker sets can be more than one FORM category – a longboy may also be a one-piece, a wire set may also be a hanger, a kisser set may also be a three-piece, etc. This is what makes arranging a shaker collection into reasonable displays so challenging.

Common Shaker Form Definitions:

Little boy and nurse girl sitting on wooden bench salt and pepper shaker

Bench Sitters or Sitter Sets

Bear pulling bear cubs and cart salt and pepper shaker with oil and vinegar jars

Carriers, Carts, and Holders

Gardner with watering cans condiment salt and pepper shakers

Condiment Sets

Go with brick mason's brick wall with tool salt and pepper shaker




Hugger Van Tellingen love bugs salt and pepper shaker


Kissers Peanuts characters Lucy kissing Linus salt and pepper shaker

Kissers and Magnetic Sets

Tallboys monkey couple salt and pepper shaker

Longboys or Tallboys

Vintage plastic cash register salt and pepper shakers

Mechanical Sets

Miniature girl with teddy bear in cradle salt and pepper shaker by Sandy Srp


Betty Boop napkin holder and Pudgy the dog salt and pepper shaker

Napkin Holders

Nester kangaroo with joey nesting in pouch wearing tuxedos salt and pepper shaker

Nesters or Stackers

Camel with monkeys nodder salt and pepper shaker


Long arched black cat one piece salt and pepper shaker

One-Piece Sets

President John F. Kennedy in rocking chair salt and pepper shaker


Egg head egg cup couple salt and pepper shaker

Shakers Plus Sets

Kids in snow with snowman snow globe salt and pepper shaker

Snow Domes/Snow Globes

Spike and bobber large cats salt and pepper shaker

Spikes or Bobbers

Introduction to Shaker Types - Squeakers - Plastic penguins


Pigs on tray salt and pepper shaker

Three-Piece Sets

Introduction to Shaker Types - Turnabouts - Black Americana couple


Introduction to shaker types - wire and spring sets - Santa heads on wire springs

Wire and Spring Sets