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Archive | March, 2017

When you can’t find a replacement part – buy a donor

We often get queries for replacement parts not in our catalog.  Unfortunately, it isn’t economical for us to supply every type of part regardless of the amount of demand out there for it.  One option, is to search eBay for new old stock replacement parts.

When that doesn’t work, it isn’t necessarily the end.  Given that there is a very rich marketplace on eBay for Revere Ware cookware, you can very likely find the same piece you are looking for a part for, that is complete, and use it as a donor for the parts you need.

One example of a part that is critical and can no longer be purchased anywhere is the over pressure plug for the vintage pressure cooker.

While this may look like a simple screw, it is not.  IT has a hole in the center filled with solder that will blow out at high pressure.  Once the over pressure plug has been blown out, it must be replaced.

eBay typically has quite a few listings for the vintage pressure cooker.  For example, here is one for $30 shipped.

If you are attached to your vintage piece (as many of us are) this probably isn’t too much to pay to get your pressure cooker functional again, and you’ll get some other extra parts to boot.

So, the next time you can’t find a replacement part, consider buying a used piece as a parts donor.

 

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Revere Ware care

If you’ve got some serious crud on your Revere Ware, see our cleaning guide for some good tips on how to clean them up.

Here is what we used for ongoing maintenance of our Revere Ware.

First, never put your Revere Ware with Bakelite handles in the dishwasher or oven.  The oven can damage Bakelite; even though Bakelite is considered safe up to 350 degrees F, modern ovens can reach higher temperatures in places even when they are set for this maximum temperature.  We’ve heard many complaints to this effect.  Oven use will invalidate our generous replacement policy on manufacturing defects.

Dishwasher use can dull Bakelite over time (see our dishwasher test) and is not recommended.

We often use Scotch Brite pads to clean the inside of the cookware only.  While it will dull stainless steel, the inside of cookware becomes naturally dulled because of metal utensils, so this won’t matter.  Scotch Brite pads do a good job of removing cooked on items, and hard water buildup for pots that are used to boil water.

Don’t use these pads on the outside of your cookware, which you want to remain polished. 

For the copper bottom, we use Wright’s Copper Cream.  It is the closest we’ve found to the original copper paste offered by Revere Ware, and is more readily available.

There are many other natural methods of polishing copper (like baking soda, lemon juice, or ketchup) but we get faster and better results with the copper cream.

For polishing the stainless steel on the outside of the cookware, we use Bar Keepers Friend.  While it won’t necessarily make your cookware look like new, it will add a little shine.

We also like to occasionally use Bar Keepers Friend on the inside.  It won’t make the dulled interior polished again, but, it does seem to smooth the stainless steel out a bit and make food stick less.

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Consumer tip: Big Daddy sponges

A few years ago I discovered the Scrub Daddy sponges.  They are nicely abrasive without scratching the polished stainless steel on the outside of my Revere Ware pans.

The problem is, they are expensive at almost $4 per sponge, and they start falling apart after a couple of weeks of use.  That’s $100 of sponges a year, or about a Spotify subscription.

I recently discovered that the company makes another type of sponge out of the same material – the Big Daddy sponge, which is a giant block.  Now, I slice that block into four pieces, which end up just a tad smaller than the Scrub Daddy smiley face sponges; this brings the cost down to about a buck a sponge.

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Revere Ware 3 quart tea kettle triggers, and other hard-to-find replacement parts

We get a lot of request for parts that we don’t carry – unfortunately, parts for some less popular pieces just don’t have enough volume to justify a production run complete with customer part molds.

One of the most of-requested parts is the trigger for the 3-quart Revere Ware tea kettle.  We’ve talked about 3D-printing them, but unfortunately materials aren’t quite to the point yet where they can handle the high temperatures that cookware require.

For the determined and dilligent, let me introduce you to a new concept – new old stock, which is often shortened in product listings to NOS.  New old stock stands for an item that is no longer in production, but someone found a cache of them somewhere that are still brand new.

For the tea kettle example, here is a small cache of the  (get them while you can, they will go quick), at an incredibly reasonable price.

Over the years, we’ve seen just about every part we’ve needed eventually show up on eBay, and this is how we got most of the samples we’ve used for our production runs.  Here is another part people often ask us about, the percolator and coffee pot handle.

If you are looking for a replacement part, search for it on eBay.  If you don’t find it, try saving the search via the follow this search link in the top of the search results, so that when new matches occur, you’ll get an email.

The search above, for “Revere Ware NOS” is a good place to start if you are looking for replacement parts that we don’t carry.

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The economics of small business: when a business is a passion

I often wonder why I do some much for this business when it doesn’t always make economic sense.

Not every business is a profit hungry capitalist empire.  Many small business owners are in business because they are really committed to and passionate about what they do.

Pure capitalism demands that you make logical decisions about revenue and profit margins and only enter a line of business or stay in it when it makes enough money.  But many small business owners got into business not because they wanted to make a lot of money (although making money is nice) but because they felt a need to provide a product or service that they felt people really need.

Often, when this is the case, small business owners do a lot more for their business, in terms of time and money, than the typical business might.

Take our business for example.  We started making replacement parts for Revere Ware, well, because we wanted them, and were frustrated that we couldn’t get them.  Without new parts, our perfectly good 60 year old cookware was useless.  We blindly hoped that there were many others out there that felt the same way we did.

And there are.  We’ve not sure how much we’ve contributed to the rise in popularity of vintage Revere Ware, as evidenced by the increasingly growing numbers of Revere Ware cookware for sale on eBay since we started selling our replacement parts, but we’d like to think we’ve helped people get more pleasure and years more use out of their Revere Ware.

But small business isn’t always about good sense or dollars and cents; sometimes it is about becoming a positive force in that which you feel passionate about.  Small business owners who are passionate about their business will often go much farther than other business owners to provide a good product and service for others interested in what their business is about.

To that end, we’ve spent a lot of time doing things like, organizing all the Revere Ware for sale on eBay so you can easily find what you need, painstakingly searching for and scanning vintage instructions and other materials so we can to help you better understand your cookware, providing DIY how-to guides to help you fix your broken cookware, collecting historical materials, recipes, and such, continuing to add more parts to our catalog because people are asking for them, and spending hours answering questions that often have nothing to do with making a sale.

Economically, this business might not make sense.  With day jobs, small children, and a house under construction, making the time to answer questions or deal with negative feedback on Amazon.com is not always easy.  Our time might be better spent elsewhere.

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