TERM: Dish dresers are sometimes called “pewter cupboards” or “Welsh dressers.” The term most frequently found in inventories of German households is “kuche schrank,” or kitchen cupboard.
FORM: Open top cupboards such as this appear to have been used in both English- and German-speaking households. The form originated in the British Isles and continental Europe, and the idea of it was carried to Pennsylvania by European immigrants. Numerous Pennsylvania examples survive, but few have exact histories of ownership. The form subsequently found its way into Piedmont North Carolina. The large display area allowed for the exhibition of ceramics and other objects related to cooking and eating. Because of their display function, decorative dish dressers were most likely part of the furnishings of a dining area.