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Stuck at home? Now is a good time to refurbish your Revere Ware

If you are stuck under home quarantine like us, perhaps now is a good time to refurbish your vintage Revere Ware.  Here are some tips.

New Parts

We’ve got you covered there.

For your vintage skillets and sauce pans that have handles with two screws through the Bakelite part we carry handles and hardware, and lid knobs.  And here is our sizing sheet that helps you find the right size.

For your post-1968 skillets and sauce pans that have handles with a single screw through the metal part, we carry handles and hardware, and lid knobs.  And here is our sizing sheet that helps you find the right size.

For your pots and Dutch ovens, we carry handles and lid knobs.

For your vintage 4 quart, and model 1574 and 1576 pressure cookers, we carry gaskets.

For your percolators, we carry replacement glass tops.

For your 2 1/3 quart kettles, we carry handles, triggers, and caps.   Not sure what size your kettle is?  Use our kettle identifier.

Our fulfillment warehouse and our Amazon.com stock are both complete right now and will be for the duration.

Cleaning

Here is our handy cleaning guide.  That will help you get years of gunk off and polish it to a shine.

Quick summary:

For burnt on gunk on the inside of a pan, use automatic powdered dishwasher detergent and vinegar, and bring it to a boil. Then scrap off the gunk with a flat metal spatula.

For gunk on the outside, submerge the entire piece into a large pot with a lot of baking soda in it and bring to a boil.  Then work off the gunk with repeated scraping and scrubbing and immersion in the boiling baking soda mixture.

To clean the inside of a cookware piece well, use a green Scotch Brite pad.

To clean the outside of a piece to a nice shine, use Bar Keepers Friend.

Repairs

Have a nub instead of a screw on your lid?  Here is our guide for that.

Did your lid knob screw come off?  Here is our guide for that.

Information

Want to learn more about the history of Revere Ware?  Now is a good time to read up with our basic history of Revere Ware Cookware, our detailed history of the Revere company, or our photo guide to Revere Ware products.

Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday to Us; a trip down memory lane

A year ago we celebrated our 10 year anniversary of selling new replacement parts for Revere Ware cookware.  If you aren’t familiar, the owners of the Revere Ware brand stopped supplying replacement parts for Revere Ware cookware sometime back in the late 1980’s.  For about 20 years, nothing was available.


We started out supplying a handful of parts in 2009 with this basic website, with sales solely on eBay.

Later that year we introduced handles for the post-1968 single screw pots and Dutch ovens, and switched to this beauty of a site; at that point we started selling through our own site, in addition to eBay.

We also started listing our parts on Amazon.com that year.  Over the last 10 years, Amazon.com has become a bigger and bigger part of our business.

The blue is eBay, red is our own website, and green is Amazon.com.


In late 2010 we introduced post-1968 newer style single screw handles for skillets and sauce pans, as well as the smallest handle for the pre-1968 2-screw line, followed by gaskets for the 1574 and 1576 line of pressure cookers.


In 2012, we switched from shipping things ourselves to hiring a fulfillment center to do the shipping for us.  This helped improve shipping responsiveness, and relieved us of the responsibility of shipping things ourselves, which became increasingly hard with the growing volume of sales and the arrival of our second child (now three) in 2011.  We stopped selling on eBay that year, as it was very difficult to integrate eBay sales into our fulfillment center.


In late 2015 we introduced the replacement, cap & trigger, and handle for the 2 1/3 quart tea kettle.  We also switched the the current version of our website.


In 2016 we completed a design for a 3D printable trigger for the 3 quart kettle, but materials that could withstand the heat weren’t available until 2018, when we added the model to Shapeways for ordering.


And all the while we’ve continued to add to our collection of manuals, repair guides, ads and catalogs recipes, and blog posts on Revere Ware related subjects.

We also started our ReverWare.org eBay listing classification site in 2010, with major updates in 2014 and 2019.  If you aren’t familiar, it makes finding the right replacement Revere Ware piece on eBay a snap.

For the last 11 years, it has been our pleasure to do something nice for the community of Revere Ware owners, fans, and enthusiasts.  Enjoy!

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Rare 3 quart kettle handle in eBay

We make replacement handles, caps, and triggers for the common 2 1/3 quart Revere Ware kettle.

The less common, but still iconic 3 quart kettle is harder to find parts for.

Our cap is said to work on this model by some customers, but we haven’t tried it.  The trigger can be replaced with a 3D printed version we designed.  But for the handle, you are out of luck.  Except a brand new, new-old-stock version just popped up on eBay.

Get it while you can; these are pretty rare.

 

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Identifying your Revere Ware tea kettle

We get asked a lot whether our cap + trigger set will fit various kettles.  I just thought I’d point out that we created a page on this exact topic: How to determine the size of your Revere Ware tea kettle.

In short, our cap plus trigger are made for the 2 1/3 quart size, that looks like this:

Some have the metal disk at the top of the cap (our replacement caps don’t) and some do not.  The notable characteristics of this kettle are the handle that attaches directly to the kettle on the back end and to a metal riser on the front end.

Compatible kettles of this size were made under various model numbers over the years:  2701, 2901, 2722, and 2712.  The problem is that these numbers do not appear on the bottom of the kettle.  The numbers that do appear there, are pretty worthless to identify the model.

We’ve been told by some customers that the cap works fine on the 3 1/2 quart model.  The trigger definitely won’t.  This model is characterized by the handle which has both ends of the Bakelite in contact with the kettle.

You can order a 3D printed trigger for this kettle from Shapeways.   We don’t sell the cap separate from the trigger unfortunately, so if you are ordering for the 3 1/2 quart size, your going to get an extra trigger you can’t use.

 

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Strange replacement handles

It doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes the spot welds where the “wings” of the metal handle spline connect to the pot do fail, and the entire handle falls off.  Given these two auctions I found on eBay, I guessed that is what happened.

However, looking at the close-ups of the ends of the metal splines, these don’t appear to have every been welded onto a pot.  And the Bakelite part of the handles appears brand new.

It’s interesting that there is an extra bulge right where I presume the spot welds would be placed, perhaps as sacrificial material given that the welding process likely vaporizes some of the stainless steel.

I have no idea what the provenance of these replacement parts is, but they are likely not that useful as a full spline + handle replacement.  As our tests have shown, it is pretty hard to weld the handles back on with traditional arc welding equipment, as it wants to burn a hole through the relatively thin pot / pan walls, and brazing the handles back on isn’t an entirely aesthetically pleasing solution.

It is likely that they had a special spot-welding system in the factory for this, that you don’t typically find in a weld or machine shop.

My guess is that these were brought home by someone that worked in the relatively nearby Rome NY Revere Ware factory.

It’s close enough that this seems plausible.

 

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The benefits of new (spread the word)

Customer Kathy sent us this picture of her handle.

It reminded me of how many people suffer with sub-standard handles because they love their Revere Ware so much, they refused to replace them, despite severely damaged or even missing Bakelite parts.

Like home-made wooden handles:

Tapes up handles:

Welding on a new metal spline:

We’ve also gotten reports of people simply grabbing a bare metal spline with a pot holder or using pliers where the handle has come completely off the spline.

We’ve been selling parts now for 10 years.  Before that, there was about a 25 year period where no replacement parts were available.   People had a long time to get used to not being able to get replacement parts.  Combined that with the fact that many of the Revere Ware generation are older, and not exactly internet savvy, we’ve probably reached just a fraction of the people that need our parts.

Revere Ware was sold from 1939 to 2018, almost 80 years.  There have likely been 50-100 million people in this country that have used Revere Ware at some point during their lifetimes, and I would guess 10 million or more that continue to use their cookware.  In the 10 years we’ve been selling our parts, we’ve sold to 40,000 customers.  That means there are many millions of people still diligently using their Revere Ware, many of which are doing so with less than suitable Bakelite and other parts.

Please help us reach the people that need our parts.  Help someone who doesn’t have access to the internet purchase parts.  Tell your friends.  If you come across a forum that is discussing Revere Ware and availability of parts, let them know about our parts and all of the information we’ve gathered.  We need your help to keep this business going and help it reach the people that need it.

 

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When Bakelite emits a foul odor

When we think of overheating plastic, we think of plastic melting.  But Bakelite is a little different.  When overheated, it doesn’t melt, but instead breaks down into its constituent parts, one of which (formaldehyde) smells nasty, and isn’t good to inhale.

Bakelite is safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; putting it in an oven is not a good idea.  The most common culprit for overheating is a gas stove where the flames are too high, and the lick up the sides of a sauce pan and heat the handles directly.

While we always assumed that overheating was the only ways to cause problems, there is at least one anecdotal report that once overheated, Bakelite may be sensitive to overheating at a lower temperature.

After many years steady use, I’m getting toxic fumes when I use them on anything but very low heat. It smells exactly like burnt plastic and the fumes seem unhealthful, not just smelly. I’m assuming it’s the handles, but they don’t seem degraded more than normal for their age. I do have a gas stove and tried lowering the flame, since the flames can lick around the edge of the pan and up toward the handles. But I am still getting the fumes strongly, even when the handles are very warm at all.

If you have the same issue, or if your handles have previously been overheated and seem sensitive to even lower heat, it is probably safest to replace your handles.  If replacement isn’t an option (you have one that we don’t make) you might try restoring them as described here, being sure to remove any Bakelite that looks damaged, to get to undamaged Bakelite.

To to sure, Bakelite is known to be safe as it has been used on cookware, and many other products, for around 80 years.  When used properly, there is no danger.  But it does have the potential for misuse if it is used in the oven or on too high heat.  It is better to be safe than sorry.

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When replacement isn’t an option – restoring Bakelite

We sell quite a few replacement Bakelite handles and what now now, but there are some parts that don’t have enough demand for us to produce, given the minimum quantity we must order for each part we make.

Assuming it isn’t cracked, restoring an old, faded Bakelite part is the only option.  There used to be a restoration service (that was expensive) that was an option before we started producing parts, that involved sanding the Bakelite with progressively finer sandpapers.

But we just came across a guide that makes it sound much more simple.

Step 1

Wipe down the handle with warm soapy water to wash away as much of the grime as possible.

Step 2

Rinse with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.

Step 3

Buff away deep scratches gently with fine gauge sandpaper.

Step 4

Apply liquid metal polish in a tight circular motion with a clean cloth. Rub with as much pressure as needed to polish away the accumulation of stains and dirt. Wait for the polish to haze over.

Step 5

Rub with a clean, dry cloth to remove the polish.

In terms of what fine gauge sandpaper is required, I am guessing perhaps 200, 400, or 600 grit would be possible options.

 

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Rethinking colored Bakelite parts

Colored Revere Ware Bakelite parts come up for sale on eBay occasionally, and often sell for ridiculous prices (like this).

But a slew of colored knob listings recently, has me wondering if all the colored Bakelite parts are just painted.  All these recent listings appear to be.

 

Bakelite can be made to be just about any color, and perhaps these knobs are simply ones that were painted by the owner and not the company.

We’ve been asked from time to time if we would produce a series of colored Bakelite parts, but that is a difficult proposition, as there is typically a minimum order quantity of any color we would have to run that is in the thousands; there isn’t likely to be _that_ much demand for colored parts.

Given what we are seeing above, your best bet might be to just get a can of high temperature paint and paint them yourself.

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