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Anatomy of an eBay listing / used Revere Ware skillet

It’s worth taking a look at an eBay listing for a used Revere Ware piece to see what we can learn before we buy.  Take this skillet for instance.

When I see “unmarked” I immediately think two things – it is either a knock off, or it has been used enough that the copper layer has worn down past the stamp.

This piece, with the distinctive two screw handle and knob, is clearly not a knockoff.

So what about the bottom:

Definitely no stamp, so this piece has been used plenty, and some of the copper has worn off. It is probably still thicker than the post-1968 cookware, but still something to be aware of of you are prizing a piece like this for its thicker copper layer.

However, notice the wear pattern on the bottom:

The fact that the rim around the edge is showing some wear whereas  just inside of it is not, is indicative of a warping upward of the center of the pan.  Let’s look at the inside:

The way the light is reflecting, almost guarantees this skillet has a pretty significant warping upward in the center.  Probably not a great skillet if you value a flat bottom.  Here is an example of a skillet on eBay that looks to be much flatter, with little, if any, warping.

If you are buying a used piece on eBay, it may be worth asking the seller if the bottom is warped at all; if they say no, and it come warped, that gives you some recourse t0 return it.

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Rena Ware is not Revere Ware

Lately we’ve gotten a number of inquiries about parts for Rena Ware.  Some people seem to assume that it is the same as Revere Ware, and perhaps this is one reason for the high number of returns we experience on Amazon.com.  Despite the similar sounding name, and the fact that some of the pieces do look similar, they are two different brands and the parts for one are generally not interchangeable with parts for the other.

Here are typical post-1968 Revere Ware 6 quart pots, copper bottom and tri-ply.

Here is a similar pot from Rena Ware.

Clearly there are similarities, but a number of stylistic differences.  Google doesn’t help the confusion either.

I don’t have a lot of information about Rena Ware; here is what I’ve been able to findNOT.

  • The company was founded in 1941 by Fred Zylstra and was focused on waterless cooking.  It seems to be privately owned by one of his descendants now.
  • It is still in business today (renaware.com), and seems to have a tie to multi-level marketing.  I get the impression it isn’t a huge operation, but they do have offices in quite a few countries.  They seem to have a larger presence from Mexico through South America.  Dunn & Bradstreet shows that they have about $50 million in annual revenue.
  • There are about 190 pieces available on eBay compared to 15,000 Revere Ware pieces, so this brand was / is much smaller than Revere Ware ever was.
  • According to the Wikipedia article on Oneida:

In 1983, the company acquired Rena-Ware, a Bellevue-based kitchenware manufacturer with a majority international operations. Oneida sold Rena-ware three years later

Hopefully this post makes its way up in the Google results for Rena Ware so people can see clearly that Rena Ware is not Revere Ware, and there will be less confusion around replacement parts.

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Revere Ware waterless cooking

Revere Ware did some big advertising on their “waterless” cooking method in the 40’s

That’s a nice plug, but it doesn’t really tell us how it works.

Waterless cooking relies on the (higher) water content of certain foods, a low heat setting, and a tight fitting lid to keep the steam generated from escaping, creating a slight pressure inside the pot.  The hot steam helps cook the food faster, but with a low bottom temperature which keeps the food from burning.

So why is waterless cooking better?  For a number of reasons.

  • No boiling means no nutrients lost to the boil water.
  • Low heat means you are using less energy / natural gas to cook
  • You don’t have to add fat for cooking (although recent attitudes on fat have relaxed a little)
  • It supposedly reduces cooking time

I haven’t heard much about waterless cooking in recent times, and not in respect to Revere Ware, which seems to have been one brand that made the practice popular. I’ve never tried it myself.

Before waterless cooking, pressure cooking was a popular way to accomplish much the same thing.  I can’t help but think that today’s Instant Pot is a great way of achieving the same benefits as waterless cooking.  My wife sure loves our instant pot, and uses it almost every day.

But I’ll have to try the waterless way one of these days.

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Revere Ware and glass top stoves

Some people like the look of glass top stoves.  Personally, my wife and I prefer gas cooking as it we find it much more responsive than anything electric.  But what if you do have a glass top stove?  Can you continue to use your Revere Ware cookware?  Reader Mellanie asks:

I received my set of Revere ware in 1967 as a wedding gift from my parents. The pans are in great shape, as is my marriage, and I still use them every day! My problem is that we bought a new stove this year with a glass cooktop and the pans are “rounded” on the bottom now and don’t sit flat on the stove top. Any suggestions for me in cooking with them now. They still work, but it takes longer to cook things. It doesn’t seem to matter much how heavy the contents being prepared is while cooking.

Sadly, you likely can’t (or shouldn’t) use your Revere Ware copper bottom cookware with glass top stoves. For starters, flat surfaces like glass stoves are less than ideal with warped cookware. In addition to the lower heat transmission, they can often warble on the stove by themselves, which I personally find really annoying.

But the best argument against using Revere Ware is that copper can stain a glass stove top. According to GE Appliances:

Copper Bottom pans are also good, but they can leave residues on the cooktop that appear as scratches. These can be removed if cleaned immediately, but do not let a copper-bottom pan boil dry. An overheated copper pot will leave a residue that will permanently stain the cooktop.

Who among us has not accidentally left a pot to boil dry, so this poses a real risk.

Sadly, it is probably best not to use Revere Ware on glass top stoves.

 

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What to do if one of our replacement lid knobs won’t screw all the way on

Having sold tens of thousands of replacement lid knobs at this point, we’ve only have a few reports of the embedded nut not having any threads.  Obviously, that defect is a show stopper and you should contact us for a replacement.

However, you might discover difficulty screwing the knob all the way down like customer Frank did. At first we thought it might be defective nut threads.  But then Frank figured it out.

After I wrote this morning, I had the inspiration to shoot some WD-40 on the threads of the lid and into the threads of the knob.  I unscrewed the knob, put the lubricant on, and tried again — and it went further.  I did that several more times and each time it got closer to the bottom of the threaded post… and finally got the new knob to go all the way down to the surface of the lid.  Hooray!

Turns out that when the old lid knob nut inserts rust to the screw, some of the rust can remain behind and impede the new  knob from screwing on all the way.

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When your replacement lid knob won’t screw down all the way

Customer Frank received a lid knob from us and it would not screw down all the way.  We have had the occasional report of defective threads on the nut inserts, so we sent another.  That one had the same problem.  But then Frank had an idea.

After I wrote this morning, I had the inspiration to shoot some WD-40 on the threads of the lid and into the threads of the knob.  I unscrewed the knob, put the lubricant on, and tried again — and it went further.  I did that several more times and each time it got closer to the bottom of the threaded post… and finally got the new knob to go all the way down to the surface of the lid.

Corrosion on lid knob screws is common, as water gets trapped under the lid knob and around the screw, and the dissimilar metals used between the screw (stainless steel) and the factory nut insert (sometimes aluminum) can promote corrosion.  That happened to be the case for Frank and a little WD-40 helped the knob go down all the way.

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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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When a package says delivered but isn’t

Have you ever gotten notice that a package has been delivered but you can’t find it?  There are a number of reasons why this might be the case, based on our experience.

  • Last-mile carriers sometimes mark packages delivered when they aren’t

This has happened to us personally as well as some customers.  I suspect what is going on is that the delivery person is under pressure to meet their delivery quota, and often this means them working very late; we’ve gotten packages at late as 9 pm some days.  So they mark a package as delivered and plan to drop it off when they are back in the neighborhood the next day.  Sometimes waiting a day solves mis-delivery problems.

  • The carrier delivers it to the correct street address on the wrong street

One day we got this delivered to our driveway

Those are all tennis balls.  I thought my wife had mistakenly ordered 12 cases of balls instead of 12 balls.  Turns out the tennis coach for the local high school lives at the same address on street over.

We also frequently get packages and mail for our next door neighbors.  Sometimes carriers just miss things.

  • Are you sure you gave the correct address?

On occasion when a customer contact us with a report of not having received their package despite tracking saying it was delivered, we find that the address was not entered correctly.  Perhaps the house number has two digits transposed (I’ve been known to do that) or apartment number was left off.  It is always helpful to go back to your order confirmation and verify the address.

  • Did the carrier put it somewhere you didn’t expect?

We’ve had packages left in the most unexpected of places.  I’ve scoured my yard and porches, called Fedex repeatedly, etc., only to discover the package some time later where I didn’t expect it to be and forgot to look.  For some strange reason, sometimes carriers make an oddball decision about what is the safest place for a package.


The point of all this is that there are many things unrelated to us that could be the cause of your package showing delivered but you don’t have it.  Do a little due diligence before you send us an email demanding we locate your package.  If it is truly lost, we are happy to send another, after verifying your address. 🙂

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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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