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Archive | April, 2018

Someone is selling our parts on Sears.com now

Did anyone else know that Sears.com had a marketplace similar to Amazon.com where independent merchants can list and sell items?  I certainly didn’t, until I came across this listing for our replacement pot handle there.

We’ve talked about this phenomenon before, where people are taking our Amazon.com listings and listing the parts on eBay and independent sites.  What happens is that, when you place an order for one of the parts there, they simply activate a purchase on Amazon.com and have it shipped to you.  But you are paying a premium over what you can buy it for on Amazon.com, as that is how these resellers are making money, and you are one link removed from us should there be an issue with the order; there is no guarantee that these resellers will field your call like we do, if there is a problem.

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Improving dishwasher-worn Bakelite

Prior to our providing new Bakelite parts, the only option we knew of restoring faded dishwasher-worn Bakelite to its original look was a complicated process of repeated sanding process with finer and finer sandpaper offered by one restorer.  They came out looking decent but it was a labor intensive (and expensive) process.

Availability of new handles made the a non-issue for many parts, but there are still some that we don’t produce, like the very early Revere Ware cookware handles.  If fading (probably from repeated washing in a dish washer – see our test) is the issue, then we just came across something which might help.

We recently came across a blog post that talks about restoring Revere Ware pots and pans.

Their suggestion for Bakelite is:

What you need to do with these is actually use Mineral oil and rub it into the handles. Let them sit for a while (mine sat for a day) and then wipe off any access oil. This will bring them back to looking good.

From the pictures, there does seem to be quite an improvement:

Before:

After:

There does appear to be considerable improvement, although you can easily tell the difference in the after photo between the original Bakelite shine on one handle, and the rest of them with mineral oil restoration.  For parts that simply aren’t available anymore, it can probably make a difference.

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Please don’t buy this

World Kitchen, which owns the Revere Ware brand along with a number of other iconic brands of yesteryear, no longer sells the classic copper bottom cookware.  This is probably a good thing, as the quality of the cookware produced in the last decade was even worse than the rest of the post-1968 cheaper Revere Ware.  We have oft heard stories of copper bottoms which appeared almost painted on, or simply fell off completely.  I suspect they discontinued the copper bottom cookware because, after decades of poor quality, it had finally cheapened the Revere Ware name.

But you can still find new copper bottom cookware for sale.  Consider this one on Amazon.com.

I was shocked to see the high price and the 4-star rating on this piece.

Do yourself a favor if you are looking to replace a sauce pan, or any other Revere Ware piece; buy a used one from eBay or your local thrift store.  You can get one for less than half the price shipped and the vintage items (with the double circle process patent stamp) are readily available.  They will last you another lifetime.

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Rare does not equal valuable

You may guess from our blog posts that I spend a fair amount of time looking for things on eBay, and you would be correct.  One of the most puzzling phenomenon is some sellers belief that rare equals valuable, despite evidence to the contrary.  Consider this listing for an Apple Macintosh Picasso poster.

This seller has relisted this item continuously for at least 5 years, at a similar price.  You think they would have gotten the message by now that no-one wants to pay that much for such a thing.

Along those lines comes a listing for a post-vintage era new skillet.

As most people familiar with just a little of the Revere Ware product history know, this particular skillet, while new, is far inferior to the ones made prior to 1968.  A similar used one can be had for about $35-$40 on eBay, often cheaper, and probably far less at your local thrift store.  And here is a brand new similar type sauce pan being offered for only $25.

It all points to wishful thinking.  I would be shocked if this sold for such a price.

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New trick for removing hard water stains from stainless steel – aluminum foil and vinegar

We recently came across this post with a neat trick on removing hard water stains from stainless steel.

A coating of mineral deposits from hard water is a fact of life in stainless steel cookware that is used to cook with water that has any hardness.  With our sauce pans, we often have to scrub the hard water coating off about every other time we boil water for soft-boiled eggs.  Our water is around 40+ grains of hardness, and we have a water softener.  Still, the hard water coating is a fact of life.  Here is what it looks like:

Usually, we just use a green Scotch-Brite pad to scrub it out.  It does dull the inside, but if you cook with metal utensils, or have had your sauce pan for any appreciable time, the inside is already fairly dull.

This new trick involves using vinegar (they say apple cider vinegar but I’m sure white vinegar or any other type would do well) and a scrunched up piece of aluminum.  We tried it with white vinegar.  The first thing to notice is that as you scrub, a black residue is left on the bottom of the pan.

That makes me think there is some kind of chemical reaction happening that involves the hard water residue (calcium or magnesium carbonate), the vinegar (acetic acid) and aluminum (just Al).  It is known that acetic acid will dissolve calcium carbonate (and presumably other mineral carbonates), albeit, in my experience, slowly.  It is also my experience that scrubbing hard water stains with a soft scrubbing material (like a non-metal kitchen scrubbing sponge) will hasten the dissolving of the hard water stains (abrasion and agitation).  Is the aluminum just acting as an abrasive surface, or is it doing more to chemically remove the hard water?

In any event, the trick seems to work quite well.

Given the softness of aluminum, I can only imagine that it is less abrasive a method than the Scotch-Brite scrubbing.

Speaking of aluminum, here is an interesting side fact; if you’ve ever wondered why one side of aluminum foil is shiny while the other side is dull, the short explanation is that, aluminum goes through rollers to make it progressively thinner and thinner, while stretching it out, to get it from a thick ingot, to being thin enough for aluminum foil.  On the last step, two sheets of foil go through the same set of rollers.  Where each sheet comes in contact with the roller becomes the shiny side (it is being pressed on by a very hard steel surface) while the side where the two pieces of aluminum touch each other becomes the duller side.  Here is a longer explanation.

You might also ask if the shiny side or the dull side is better for keeping in the heat when you cover a dish with aluminum foil.  The answer is, it doesn’t matter.  My daughter just did a science experiment where she created a device to measure the reflectivity of various materials, one of them being aluminum foil.  The shiny and dull sides had virtually identical reflectivity, and reflecting the infra-red energy back into the dish that is covered is what helps keep it warm.

 

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Will the hardware set fit your cookware

All of our handles ship with the appropriate replacement hardware.  But we do sell quite a few hardware sets separately, which customers use to replace older hardware that no longer works.  A common issue with the older hardware is that the slotted screw heads strip.

With regard to determining which size hardware set was required, a customer recently asked:

When I remove the existing one and screw it together and measure the length I get 1/2 inch. Will this be the right size or too long?

We sell two hardware sets, the one for small handles, and the one for all the rest (medium, large, x-large).  The small handles fit very very few Revere Ware pieces, so the likelihood of needing the small hardware set, which is made specifically for those small handles, is slim.  So, a default choice would be the M/L/XL hardware set.

But, if you need the measurements, here they are.

The hardware set comes with two different length barrel nuts. The short of the two, with the screw all the way down, measures about .46 in between the inside of the barrel nut head, and the head of the screw. The longer one .61. The washer makes them a little bit smaller. Typically, the front and back of the Revere Ware handles will need different nuts; the front a shorter one, the back a longer one.

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Revere Ware to produce new vintage quality copper bottom cookware

In a stunning reversal of their decades long production of cheap cookware that mimics the look of the quality of pre-1968 Revere Ware copper bottom cookware, World Kitchen LLC, the owners of the Revere Ware brand, have announced that they are dusting off the old molds and equipment, and will once again start producing cookware to the exacting pre-1968 standards.

However, in a twist retail analysts are calling “interesting” and “different”, they are taking a cue from denim manufacturers, and will offer the cookware in pre-worn condition, with three basic finishes.

Weary

Abused

Not quite new

The new cookware is available immediately through eBay and select thrift stores nation wide.

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