Before refrigerators and freezers became common kitchen appliances in the mid-20th century, foods were stored in the pantry. To keep some foodstuffs out of reach of predators, they were suspended from the ceiling using devices like the crown-shaped rack shown here. Known as meat, game or sausage crowns, these racks were used to keep different types of meat until they were cured or smoked. The wrought-iron utensils go back to Antiquity, when crown-shaped racks were often adorned with bird motifs and stored in a carnarium (pantry).
The basic metal structure of the crown is simple: a ring with six to eight hooks, several rods bent into a dome and a hook at the top for hanging. Nevertheless, it is often richly ornamented with motifs such as lilies, candleholders or, as in this model from the 18th century, birds and scrolls.