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Thrift stores are alive and well

On a recent trip to Big Bear, we happened to stop at one of the (surprisingly many) local thrift stores there.  They had quite a selection of Revere Ware lids.

Just a reminder that thrifts stores can still be a great option for replacing a damaged item

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Stainless steel stains and spots

A customer asks:

One of the pans has black spots and fuzzy grey ones in the interior (silver toned) pan. What are those spots and how do I get rid of them?

Last year we wrote an article on removal of hard water stains; the grey spots are likely hard water stains.

The black spots are likely burnt on food that gets stuck in pits that are formed when cooking with acidic foods, like tomato sauce.  I’ve seen some cookware pieces with pretty prominent pits, and it isn’t hard to imaging food getting burn on in those pits and resisting removal by scrubbing.  Here is a picture we found from an article on stainless steel stains:

To remove the hard water stains, adding some vinegar and scrubbing with a Scotch-Brite pad, or balled up aluminum foil works quite well.

To remove the black spots, you can try adding vinegar and then some baking soda, and letting it soak, then scrubbing well with a Scotch-Brite pad.

In both cases, a good polish with Bar Keepers Friend will help get rid of any remaining residue.

The pits may not fully disappear, as that would require significant refinishing of the inside of the pan, but you can minimize the appearance by regularly cleaning in this way.

 

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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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