One of the food items that was not uncommon on the dinner table during Victorian times was consdensed milk. And since the milk was purchased in a can, they had to find a decorative and practical serving dish for the food. Often the milk would not be consumed during a single meal so it would need to remain in the original container for storage. Hence, the condensed milk can holder was developed.
This serving piece was usually found in five pieces as a complete set...an underplate/saucer, the outer container, the liner, a dipping spoon and a lid. Like most of the Victorian items, they were richly decorated and designed in a practical manner. In the case of the can holder itself, there was usually a small hold in the bottom of the holder so the liner could easily be pushed back out when the meal was over. The underplate was used to set the spoon on after the milk was scooped out. Most often, these items can be found in three pieces with the spoon and lining not included.
The condensed milk holder was usually made of porcelain (although I have seen a few of them made of silver) and manufactured by companies like Nippon and Limoges to name a few. The pieces were often exquisitely decorated with flowers or fruit. Prices can range from $40 to upward of $250 or more for complete five piece sets.
Pictured are a 5 piece set of Nippon and a 3 piece Victoria Austria Set (items not available for sale)