Awhile back I wrote a blog post on butter spreaders and butter knives. For some reason, when I wrote the article, I called the bread plate a butter plate. Thank goodness for the proofreader extraordinaire who caught my error.
That led to researching butter plates and their uses. These little plates, which are generally 3-4″ in diameter, are used to serve a pat of butter. Other names they go by are butter pat plates, butters, butter chips, and pads.
What makes them so difficult to distinguish is the size. After a bit of research, I realized that I actually own some butter pat plates, but did not realize what they were. Looking on eBay, many small plates are listed as coasters, butter pats, children’s doll plates, individual open salt plates, and individual ashtrays.
Apparently, butters were very popular during the Victorian era. Of course my mind wondered if there were equally tiny knives to get the pat off the plate, but so far I have not found any.
I have a small blue and white Delft plate which was a gift from someone who visited the factory. I believed it was a souvenir, but actually it could be a butter pat. I also have a few commemorative plates for various British royal occasions that may have been intended as butter pats. And I distinctly recall some small plates my mom owned, edged in a thick cobalt blue and thin gold line that had historical figures in the center. I am sure these were commemorative butter pats.
My eBay search also taught me that not too long ago butter pats were still being produced. I found a few butter pats to match my Spode Christmas Tree dishes. And there were a couple of my mom’s china patterns that had matching butter pats.
This post from 2017 probably contained a butter pat or two. The more recently produced butter pats seem to be for hotels and other forms of travel and transportation companies.
Even if you do not choose to use butter pats on your table, you may find the usefulness of the small sized plates to be indispensible. I keep any medicine/vitamins I am to take for the day on a butter pat. I also keep my rings on a butter pat. I recently discovered that a shower bomb fits perfectly in an old hotel dish I had, which is probably a butter pat. They are nice receptacles for tea bags, serving spoons, bon bons, and lemons. And of course, you could always use them for butter pats!