- A rack or railing on the edges of a table, dresser, countertop, or stove.
Probably earlier than the 17th century.
There purpose of these is to keep dishes, cups, pots, pans, etc. from sliding off the table in rough seas. Early fiddles were often little stanchions with lines stretched taut between them like the strings of a fiddle (instrument).
Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport Museum.