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Archive | October, 2017

The history of Bakelite

I recently came across this great historical video from 1937 about Bakelite, which, apparently is not pronounced bake-lite, but bake-a-lite.  Apparently, in its day, Bakelite was quite the material and was (and might still be) used in quite a few industrial and consumer applications.  The use of Bakelite in cookware was just but one of its many uses.

In a number of places it shows the high pressure / temperature molding process with hydraulic presses; our parts are still made this way today, starting with a powder that is formed into the parts. For a little about the chemistry of Bakelite, here is another video.


Guide to finding the correct size sauce pan or skillet handle

We sell two different sauce pan and skillet handles.

Single screw style

The single screw handle was made post 1968.  It has a single screw, or, more likely, rivet through the metal part of the handle that holds the handle to the pot.  Any size of these handles will fit any pot, so you really can’t go wrong unless you put a small handle on a very large pot or vice versa.  The best wy to size this handle is just to measure the overall length of the Bakelite part of the handle.

5.4 in long Bakelite – X-Large
4.8 in long – Large
4.3 in long – Medium
4.1 in long – Small

Two-screw style

These were made before 1968 and have a screw at either end of the handle.  Note that very early ones has two screws near the front, and another around the hanging hook in the back.  If you have one of those, there is no exact replacement.

There are two ways to size these up.  The easiest way is to start with the spline height.

3/8 in – Small
5/8 in – Medium
3/4 in -Large or X-Large

If you have a 3/4 in spline, then check the distance between the centers of the holes to determine which handle you have.  Alternately, you can just start with that measurement.

3.7 in – X-Large
3.1 in – Large
2.6 in – Medium
2.75 in (and with a 3/8 in spline) Small

Can stainless steel be seasoned?

In our kitchen, we have a great fondness for our cast iron pan, which has been nicely seasoned for years.  It holds a permanent spot on our stove top and gets used almost every day.  Most of the time, I simply scrape the bottom with a metal spatula and wipe it out with a paper towel.  About every third time I cook, I also add a little water and scrub it with a nylon brush (but no soap).  It stays nicely seasoned and food, for the most part, doesn’t stick.

I recently found a video that shows how to season a stainless steel pan to make it nonstick, and it it pretty simple.

I am going to try this with out of our Revere Ware skillets and report back.


Can a dryer sheet help remove burnt food from a pan

This seems almost too good to be true, that simply adding adding a dryer sheet to a soak for burnt on food will magically soften it.  I’m afraid my wife hasn’t been burning too much food lately so I am at a disadvantage for being able to test this.  If someone has a chance to test this, it would be interesting to try it with soap along and with soap and the dryer sheet.


Measuring the value of our parts, part 2

We’ve discussed the economics of small batch manufacturing and the comparative pricing of other similar mass-manufactured parts.  By that measure, what we sell might look expensive (but is justified given how much it costs to manufacture in smaller quantities).

There is also another way to comparatively view the cost of our products against what they might cost if we didn’t provide them.  Consider this eBay auction for 21 new-old-stock (NOS) replacement parts:

They are asking a starting bid price of $199 + $12.65 shipping for all these parts.  And with few such new parts available, they would probably sell in the $300-$400 range.  On our site, the equivalent parts would cost $149.79 (and shipping would be free), a 29% discount over the starting bid of that auction, and probably less than 50% of what they would sell for.

The alternative of scarcity and the pricing pressure it puts on whatever stock of something in relatively high demand remains, is something to consider when you are looking to replace something in the vintage category.

On the other hand, I do often notice that people listing items on eBay think that just by adding the word “rare” to the auction title, they can demand a higher price.  Demand is the other part of this equation; without demand, rarity along doesn’t justify value.