The LG Hawkins company introduced its “heated sideboard” in 1931, but it was 22 years before one of its designers, Eddy Maciejewski, thought of making it mobile.
The Hostess – a plug-in heated metal sideboard on wheels that resembled a hospital trolley but allowed plates and filled Pyrex dishes to be kept warm – was launched in 1953.
The hostess troley reached its height of popularity in the 1970s when entertaining and dinner parties became a defining status of suburban, middle-class achievement. It became popular, too, with large families and provided the opportunity to enjoy a hot breakfast or Sunday lunch.
For working-class women, owning a hostess trolley was a climb up the ladder towards Abigail’s Party-style lower-middle-class affluence.
The trollies fell out of favour for a while but never really went away. They are still popular today – although usually now in black and chrome, rather than peel-off mahogany finish. They sell for more than £1,500 at John Lewis.