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I love a good Revere Ware mystery

A reader requested our help in identifying a Revere Ware item – a set of pans that had no handle.

My wife just found a set of three skillets that have no handles. Might you know what this product was used for and when was it in use?

This isn’t the first time someone has asked this question.  I would have assumed these were pans that lost their handles, but they don’t show any signs that a handle was ever attached.

A little internet searching however turned up a more plausible answer.

We drove a few hours away from our house to a attend a town wide sale which had several estate sales that day also. This was near Rome New York. I asked about these Revere ware pans because they were different from others I have seen. I was told that Rome, NY had a Revere Ware factory and pans that had any factory defects were often taken home by a worker and given to family and friends. Flaws many times were very minor, sometimes the stamp on the bottom of the pan was missing (These pans have no stamp on bottom). There are no handles either and there is not a place for one. Many times these pans were used in the oven, so they didn’t care if it had a handle. So these Revere Ware pans are a rare find, normally found in the towns and surrounding areas that had a Revere ware factory.

 

 

 

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Revere Ware deep well cooker

Reader Richard contacted us to identify an item.

A few years ago someone else asked us to identify a similar item and we were able to determine it is a Revere ware deep well cooker.  Here are a couple of references to it in various Revere Ware publications.

The deep well cooker dates back to somewhere in the early 1940’s.  How exactly it is used isn’t entirely clear.  Richards appears to fit quite nicely inside his bale handle pot, which make me think you would use it like a double boiler of sorts such that the heat applied to the bottom via the stove would spread out and cook from the bottom and the sides.  However, our own photo guide (assembled by a gentleman who is sadly no longer with us to clarify) states:

Deep Well Cookers (used in special stove-top “heat pits”) were common in 1930’s kitchens. However, post-war changes in cooking habits, stoves with smaller cook tops, and sealed ovens made them obsolete. Both items were discontinued by the early 1950’s.

Here is an example of such a stove setup:

My beautiful picture

Apparently these deep wells had heavily insulated sides that I’m guessing would cause the heat to surround the pot and cook from the sides as well as the bottom. Additionally, some of them had control knobs would allow for a timed period of high heat after which the control would automatically switch to low for a long simmer.

From all the discussions I found related to deep well cookers, it seems pretty clear that they were generally used in these stoves with a deep well.  But seeing Richards’s deep well insert inside the bale handle pot makes me wonder if the double-boiler type setup might provide much the same effect. And the way the bale handle attaches to the pot, such that it flares out which just-so-happens to create the perfect amount of clearance for the deep well insert, really makes me wonder if this wasn’t an intentional use.

I’d love to pick one up someday and try it out.  My wife used a vintage (avocado green) crock pot for many years and now is in love with her Instant Pot.  If the water bath works, adding this to our kitchen would great.

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Colored handles – some are and some aren’t

In our periodic investigation of colored Bakelite handles, and whether they are really colored Bakelite or just painted, today’s eBay listings give some great examples.  Here is what appears to be a real colored Bakelite handle:

The fact that the box shows a colored handles is a pretty good indicator.

You can also look into the screw holes and see that the color appears to be through and through.

On the other hand, take a look at this white knob:

 

It clearly shows signs of being painted:

so I think the answer is, some are truly colored and some are painted. Whether painted by a Revere Ware owner or by Revere Ware itself, who knows.

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Prices then and now – 1977 vs 2020

Here is a small snapshot into inflation.  Consider this play Revere Ware set from a 1977 Sears catalog.

It is hard to imagine a play set like that selling for $6.24 when you consider what that can buy today (a Starbucks Latte or thereabouts).

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Revere Ware and warranty

As people spend more time cooking and more time using their vintage Revere Ware, we’ve gotten a lot more requests recently for Revere Ware warranty service, some of them quite demanding.  People seem to skip right past the disclaimer on our contact form an other places on our site.

Hopefully people will find this post and it will help clarify the situation.

The Revere Ware brand has bounced around among several corporate owners since the 1980’s.  They continued to offer some warranty support until 2018, when the latest corporate owner, Corelle Inc, shuttered the brand and discontinued all warranty support.  So unfortunately warranty support for Revere Ware is now a thing of the past.

In contrast, we are a totally separate company that came on the scene in 2009 and started offering a selection of replacement parts to help you get your cookware in good operating order again, and a lot of helpful Revere Ware related materials.

And we are happy to try to answer just about any question you might have about Revere Ware.  But unfortunately, we can’t replace your broken cookware or provide you with free replacement parts for original Revere Ware cookware under their warranty.

We do however stand by our replacement parts; if you have a problem with them, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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When Revere Ware began to lose its way

I came across this interesting egg poacher on eBay today.

Now that, to me, looks like they took a muffin tin and called it an egg poacher.  Compare that to the classic egg poacher they sold in the vintage era which is a very classic design.

The muffin tin one is part of the signature collection, which, according to our Photo Guide, was first produced in the 70’s, the period right after quality cookware produced during the vintage era ended.

To me, it is a good reminder of how Revere Ware changed course in a big way after which their products were never as good.

 

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Revere Ware print advertising mats

I found these on eBay and, honestly, I have no idea exactly how they might be used.  The material is some sort of card board.  Here is what the front (proper text orientation) looks like:

And the underside looks like this:

That’s not a blurry picture, that’s what the underside looks like.  My guess is that these are proofs for advertising print plates for newspaper ads.  If anyone has any more information on exactly what these are or how they were used, please contact us.

If you look at the cookware pieces, you will notice that they are the pre-1968 era styles.

 

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Revere Ware stories – Margaret

We received this note from Margaret in Canada a few weeks ago:

I am a Canadian.  Shortly before my marriage in 1958, I drove to the US in order to buy sheets and Revere Ware.  Sheets were better quality than Canadian, and Revere Ware was not available in Canada.
My Revere Ware pots are still in excellent condition, copper bottoms and all, and I just wanted it put on record how well they have lasted.

Thanks for the note Margaret. I’m not old enough to have bought them, or received them, new.  But I do remember my mother having a set (long gone) and my mother-in-law received a set, which we now have, as a wedding present.  And I own a pretty nice set now, all with new handles and hardware. :).

It is a nice reminder of how important Revere Ware has been in many people’s lives, and why it is important to carry on the tradition today.

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Revere Ware and the Manhattan Project

It seems that out site is not only the authority on all things Revere Ware cookware, but we are also now quotable on the history of the Revere Ware company, as evidenced by this article that discusses the Revere Copper & Brass company’s involvement in the Manhattan projects.  Specifically, our Revere Ware history page is quoted.

The story goes that during WWII, Revere Copper & Brass was subcontracted to help build the first atomic bomb:

In the early 1940s, civilian production was halted by World War II, as items such as smoke bombs and cartridges and rocket cases were needed for the war. The Revere Copper plant in Detroit became an avionics, weapons and electronics facility in 1943. And it became a beryllium facility from 1946 to 1950.

The plant made uranium rods under contracts with the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as beryllium ingots, alloys and billets. In the early 1960s, Revere Copper created a thorium bar, which was divided and sent to other AEC plants.

It seems that part of that facility that remains contaminated, collapsed into the Detroit river recently.

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