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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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Removing stuck 2-screw handle screws

After decades of use, Revere Ware pan handles can get pretty gunked up.  And the screws inside can rust together, or get bound together with greasy gunk.  Our to-to method for removing old handles was to hit them with a hammer to break them, and then pry the pieces out, to expose the screw and nut, which could then be removed with pliers.  This of course assumes you don’t want to save the old handle.

Reader Tyler offers a quite brilliant non-descructive alternative.

I found a really simple way that won’t damage the handle and is pretty quick and easy. I turn the pot or skillet sideways in the freezer and place the handle on a box so it will rest horizontally. I then put a few drops of water over the female end of the screw assembly (end without a screw slot) making sure the water pools over the head of the screw and doesn’t run off. Then I allow the water to freeze completely solid (about 15-20 mins). After the water is frozen just turn the other end of the screw and if the ice holds the female end of the screw in place it will allow you to turn the screw. This has worked for me on several occasions for screws that will turn freely but both sides turn together, if your screw won’t turn at all then this won’t work. You should also be careful with the handle right after taking it out of the freezer as I would imagine the severe cold may make the Bakelite more brittle, it also would probably not be a good idea to shock it with hot water.

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Insta-what?

I love my Revere Ware tea kettle.  They are iconic, beautiful to look at, and improve the look of any stove.

My dirty secret though, being a premier Revere Ware aficionado and all, is that I haven’t used mine in quite some time.  The reason is that about 5 years ago, we moved into a house that had an insta-hot water dispenser.

If you aren’t familiar with these, they site under your sink, are typically fed by a reverse osmosis unit, and provide hot water on demand, no waiting.  Here is ours in our present house.

If you already have a reverse osmosis unit under your sink, you simply replace the RO spigot with one that has a hot and a cold.  The unit goes under the sink, is about a large as a 2 gallon jugs of milk, and can be adjusted for your preferred hot temperature.

The convenience of having hot water with no waiting is a game changer, and one of the conveniences I would insist on in any kitchen.

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When your Revere Ware lid has a stub, not a screw

We’ve written about this before, but as it is the most common question we receive, it is worth mentioning again.

Over the years, Revere Ware had many different types of lid knob screw inserts (the part that provides the threads inside the lid knob).  We’ve seen brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and threads directly in the Bakelite (the worst, as they strip easily).  It is fairly common for the screw insert to rust to the screw on the lid.  Rust is common whenever you have dissimilar metals touching each other.  Customer Evelyn send us some great pictures of her lid that has this problem.

It makes it look like it requires a press-on knob, not a screw on one.

Evelyn soaked it with oil overnight, and then used a pair of pliers to unscrew it the next day.  It came off and she was able to use the replacement knob she ordered from us.

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What happened to the stamp?

Reader Dana asks:

I have a sauce pot (not sure of size, but we use it for pasta), that looks exactly like the Revere Ware pieces I’ve picked up from antique stores, but is has no logo/stamp on the bottom. My question is, is it possible that any Revere Ware pieces were made without a stamp/logo on the bottom, or could it have been completely worn off with repeated use/cleaning?

She is talking about the classic Revere Ware stamp on the bottom of the pot.

This is not uncommon.  The older Revere Ware has quite a thick copper layer as depicted in the Revere Ware photo guide.

We’ve seen on a number of occasions where the stamp has partially or completely been worn away from use, but the copper layer appears entirely intact.

With newer (post 1968) cookware, this is typically not the case.  Especially in cookware from the 90’s forward, the copper layer seems to be for appearance only, so that it looks like the older stuff, but it is not thick enough to do any good.  We’ve seen the copper layer with bare spots, entirely worn off, and even in some cases where it has fallen off in one piece.

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Revere Ware Tri-Ply cookware

Revere Ware is most well known for its copper bottom cookware.  An often overlooked variety is the aluminum core Tri-Ply cookware, which has an aluminum disk on the bottom of the piece sandwiched between an inner and outer stainless steel shell.  An aluminum core is what most high-end cookware uses today to spread the heat out evenly.

The bottoms of these Tri-Ply pieces can be identified by the protruding disc on the bottom.

Here what our photo guide has to say about Tri-Ply cookware:

Kitchen technology changed in the mid 1980’s with the introduction of the smooth glass/ceramic cooktop surfaces. These surfaces used embedded thermostats requiring cookware with thick, cast metal bottoms (as opposed to the pressed steel or electroplated bottoms used by Revere Ware). In March of 1986, Revere responded with the Aluminum Disc Bottom Cookware, sometimes called “tri-ply” or “slab bottom” (identified internally as the 2000 line). It continued the classic Revere Ware styling of the earlier 1400 and 7000 lines, but used a stainless steel coated aluminum disc brazed to the bottom of each piece allowing for use on smooth cooktops (and giving it the heat dispersion capability needed for use on conventional cooktops. Initially, the discs were brazed and buffed in Korea, and the final product assembled at Clinton. Later the entire production process was moved to Clinton. The line was an immediate success, amounting to 20% Revere’s total cookware sales in 1986.

The aluminum disk is actually quite think and pretty effective at spreading the heat.

Because of the construction, these pieces are suitable for glass top stoves, as they are much more likely than the copper bottom variety to remain flat.

There is some danger though.  If overheated to the extreme, they can disintegrate, although that is extremely rare.

There were other versions of Revere Ware deemed Tri-Ply as well, that contained a carbon steel core between two stainless steel layers.  They were made to look like the tradition Revere Ware pans, sans the copper bottom.  I much prefer the aluminum disk variety over these, as I think they are better at spreading the heat.  The carbon steel core variety will not have the round disc on the bottom.

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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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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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