A chafing-dish was a portable grate for coals, used for heating objects.
Found on http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/browse/AC.HTM
Vessel of silver or other metal, used for heating food and warming plates over a charcoal brazier or spirit lamp on the dinner table or sideboard. The dish rests on a stand supported by legs, which afford space for a heating device. Chafing dishes were used extensively from the i6thC. The term is sometimes used to refer to the brazier itself.
Found on http://www.antique-marks.com/antique-terms-c.html
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