What makes vintage Revere Ware cookware so great?
Let’s start with the materials. Stainless steel is great because it cleans easily and (mostly) does not rust. But it transmits heat very slowly, which means that where the heat is, gets hot. Copper is much better at conducting the heat quickly so that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the metal. The Revere Company had the very unique (at the time) idea in the 1930’s of combining the two metals to get the best of both worlds. The copper bottom conducts the heat quickly and evenly, while the stainless steel makes for a durable, easy to clean pan. This concept, combined with heat resistant Bakelite handles (one of the very first heat resistant plastics) made for great cookware.
How does it compare with what is available today?
These days, you can get as good or better results from high-end cookware like All-Clad, although you will pay the price. For instance, a nice All-Clad 12″ skillet costs in the neighborhood of $130 whereas a vintage 12″ Revere Ware skillet can be had for about $20 (or less) on eBay or your local thrift store. Care to pay a fraction of the cost for something that works 80% as well? I sure do!
And of course, there is the retro-chic coolness of using something that is over 50 years old.
The vintage era
Alas, in 1968, The corporate bean counters at Revere got their way and the company decided that it could save money by using less copper in the copper bottom. Revere Ware made after 1968 doesn’t distribute the heat as well as that made during the “vintage” era between 1939 and 1968.
Want to know more? Check out Revere history, a photo guide to Revere Ware products over the years, how to identify “vintage” Revere Ware, or browse through our collection of Revere Ware ads and catalogs.
Bankruptcy and beyond
The Revere Ware company and it successors have gone through bankruptcy several times in the last few decades. The brand is now owned by World Kitchen, LLC (which itself went through bankruptcy in 2002). The cookware they produce, while it looks similar to the Revere Ware of old, is very cheaply made and they offer a far fewer pieces than the Revere Ware of old. Revere Ware discontinued selling spare parts in 1989.
Being Revere Ware fans ourselves, we started offering replacement parts in 2008 that we wanted but could not find. With our replacement parts and some restoration by Classic Kitchens & More), you can keep your cookware going for decades.