During the 18th and 19th century drinking good wine was a way of demonstrating your wealth and your good taste, particularly when import and export duties on wine were abolished which led to a big influx of wine to Britain.
The term "coaster' was first recognised around 1897 and was derived from the custom that after dinner the table cloth would be removed from the dining table , the ladies would withdraw and a bottle of port was coasted around the table by the men. Before the use of the word 'coaster' they were known as bottle sliders.
These antique treen bottle sliders were used to serve wine at dinner parties and were particularly popular during the George III period. They were necessary as the decanters would be placed on the coasters and would prevent any dripping of the wine on to the polished mahogany dining tables. These antique treen bottle sliders/coasters were either baize lined to the underside of the base or sometimes had castors so that they could slide down the long tables, similar to the Georgian mahogany cheese coasters of the time, without damaging the surface. By placing the glass decanters on a coaster they helped prevent the decanters knocking against each other and damaging them. The majority of treen coasters were produced before 1830 although later ones can be found.
Figure one shows a range of antique mahogany wine coasters or bottle sliders from England, Scotland and Ireland.
Figure two shows a fine pair of ogee turned sided bottle sliders, George III. Pairs of Georgian mahogany coasters are getting quite difficult to find.
Figure three shows a single Georgian mahogany coaster with ribbed sides and central inlay, English C1820.
Figure four shows a superbly carved large mahogany Scottish coaster on four brass castors with heavily gadrooned carved edges, c1825/30, possibly by James Mein of Kelso.
Figure five shows an Irish mahogany wine coaster with ribbed sides with the top and bottom rib being stained and polished in black, these features were to match the Irish furniture of the time, c1825/30.
Figure six is a George III mahogany wine coaster of good colour and patina, note how the treen coasters tend to be shallower than the silver coasters of the time.