The popularity of Revere Ware in the 1940’s undoubtedly motivated some copycats. One of these which was recently brought to our attention by reader Jim is Thermic-Ray cookware. Jim writes:
I found a few pans in a local thrift store made by Norris Stamping and Manufacturing Co., of Los Angeles CA under the trade name of “Thermic-Ray”. Same basic design as Revere Ware, but the handles don’t seem as well made. They were produced for a few years after the War.
Norris Stamping and Manufacturing Co., maker of Thermic-Ray, had come through WW2 as the largest manufacturer of all-steel bomb and artillery shell casings. I’m sure they were searching for peacetime business, hence this cookware. But by 1951, Norris dropped Thermic-Ray, renaming it Norrisware.
I believe at some point they gave up on copper bottoms, and went with all stainless steel designs. In 1967, Norris eventually sold the line to Regal Ware.
Here is an ad I found from 1947.
The “It’s Here!” at the top makes me think this is somewhere near the introduction of the line. Searching the California newspaper archives shows ads only through 1951.
You can clearly see the decline in ads from 1949 on. The brand doesn’t seem to have taken hold very well. Interestingly though, the term also pops up in 1973. Here is an add from that year.
Perhaps Regal Ware went back to their roots and dug up the Thermic-Ray brand name to see if it would catch on. You can see that the cookware looks like Regal Ware cookware and not Thermic-Ray cookware.
The Norrisware brand shows up in Calfornia newspapers from 1949 through 1963.
This seems to be when they first started transitioning the name.
And sure enough, by 1963, they had transitioned to stainless steel cookware.
So, how good exactly was Thermic-Ray / Norrisware? To evaluate them, I bought a 4 quart Dutch oven and a 7 inch sauce pan from eBay; they both have the Thermic-Ray stamp. In terms of quality, to me, they seem relatively solid and comparable to similar Revere Ware items. The cookware isn’t unattractive. Here they are side-by-side with their Revere Ware equivalents.
|4 quart Dutch oven
|7 inch sauce pan
As you can see, from a weight perspective, the Revere Ware Dutch oven is 15% heavier than the Thermic-Ray, but the Thermic-Ray sauce pan is 13% heavier than the Revere Ware one. I’d call them pretty comparable overall. The Thermic-Ray copper bottom does feel solid and substantial, unlike Revere Ware copper bottoms after 1968.
Price-wise, a 6 quart Dutch Revere Ware Dutch oven was selling for $11.25 in 1949 while a similar Thermic-Ray one was selling for $9.50. I think in the anals of history, it seems likely that Revere Ware was too much of a household name at that time for a brand like Thermic-Ray to beat, if they didn’t get significant traction even selling at a 15% discount.