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Overheating Revere Ware

I came across a question recently about overheated Revere Ware:

How to remove a gray stain on interior of Revere ware Copper bottom stainless steel 7inch fry pan

The gray stain was caused by heating the pan for over 5 minutes after the boiling water in it was boiled away because I was momentarily (5+ minutes) distracted away from the cooking range.

Is there a method and a special compound/solution which I can use to restore the appearance to its nearly new shine instead of the dull gray look? Is the pan still usable in its present state? Will there be release of any metallic toxins because of the overheating of the pan in its dry state?

I’ve also had people contact me directly with the same problem and concerns about any ill health effects.

To answer her last question first, it is worth noting that it is unlikely that anything related to the stainless steel will cause health problems.  I have friends that are nervous about stainless steel because it has chromium in it, but the type of chromium used in stainless steel, chromium III, which provides the corrosion and discoloration resistance stainless steel is known for, is completely unlike the very deadly hexavalent chromium made famous by the film Erin Brockovich.  In fact, chromium III is required by the body in trace amounts for proper digestion of sugars and fats.

In terms of the health of the cookware, it is always a bad idea to heat a pan without anything in it for an extended period of time, because this will likely warp the bottom of the pan, effectively ruining it.

To determine an effective repair for any discoloration, I set out to duplicate the problem.

Heating the pan without anything in it for a good 15 minutes didn’t cause any discoloration at all, but it had a pretty harsh affect on the copper bottom.

The extreme heat caused little pieces of the copper bottom to flake off and made the bottom rough to the touch.

Next I tried the experiment with some water in the pan, let the water boil off and heat for a good 10 minutes after the water was gone.

This time there were burned on hard water stains and some iridescent discoloration.  As we don’t have particularly hard water where I live, I suspect this would be much worse where there was very hard water, and probably the cause of the discoloration in question.  I have gotten pans in such shape from thrift stores and the solution below also did wonders on them.

While any warping caused by such heating will likely be permanent, the stains and discoloration on the inside of the pan are fairly easy to correct:  simply scrub well with a Scotch Brite pad (never use steel wool or SOS pads) and then polish with some Bar Keepers Friend.  Looks much better.  It is important to note that a Scotch Brite pad should NOT be used on the outside of the pan as it will dull the finish.  The inside of any pan will become dulled anyways from use, so a Scotch Brite pad won’t hurt it any worse.

The bottom was more difficult to polish; I tried Bar Keepers Friend and copper polish, but the roughened surface due to the over heating made it more difficult to get good results.

There is one more danger to overheating pans; the Bakelite handles can break down at high enough temperatures.  This particular test resulted in some slight breaking down of the Bakelite material where it touched the metal.

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Single screw rivet-style handles now available

We now have handles for newer style Revere Ware cookware available in our store.  These handles are one-piece with an embedded metal spline and can be further identified by the single rivet or screw holding the handle to the skillet or saucepan.  Some examples of this style of cookware are shown below.

We have all sizes, small, medium, large, and x-large that covers the entire range of copper bottom and tri-ply Revere Ware cookware of this style.  We also sell the replacement hardware (a barrel nut, a screw, and a washer) separately for those that need to fix loose rivets or damaged (rusted or stripped) hardware sets.

While some of these original handles are held on by a screw, most of them are held on by a rivet, which must be removed.  We have detailed instructions on removing the old rivet here.  A drill, a 5/32 drill bit, and a pair of pliers are the required tools.

Note that some newer Revere Ware cookware has somewhat similar one-piece handles that are permanently attached to the pot; there is no way to replace handles on this type of cookware and these handles will not work.

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Bar Keepers Friend cookware cleaner

About a month ago I discovered a new type of Bar Keepers Friend, one of the better all-around cleaners for stainless steel cookware and many other household cleaning tasks.  I wondered how Bar Keepers Friend cookware cleaner would compare to the regular version.

Whether this is a recently introduced product, or I just havn’t noticed it before is a mystery to me, as the company that makes Bar Keepers Friend hasn’t returned my email about this.

First let me say that Bar Keepers Friend is one of my favorite all-around cleaners for cookware, and if I had to choose only one cleaner to have around, it would definitely be Bar Keepers Friend.

So it is with those high expectations that I compared the two cleaners side-by side on several pans with burned on grease, dulled and scratched stainless steel, and tarnished copper.

First, I tried them on a couple of copper bottom skillets.  The results are below, showing the regular version on the left and the cookware version on the right.  In the middle is what the cooper part looked like before.

I had trouble finding any difference between the results of the two.  Note that the the above results are not exhaustive.  I probably could have gotten almost all of the burned on grease and tarnish off had I done an exhaustive cleaning.

Below is a Revere Ware tri-ply skillet that had a particularly tough coating of cooked on grease on the bottom.

The results are pretty impressive, as either version was able to cut through the grease with only a moderate application of scrubbing, although getting the corners and inner edges clean requires a bit more work.

Seeing no difference between the two as far as I can tell, and given the slightly higher price of the cookware version (about 15% more), I would guess this is more of a marketing distinction than anything else.

Recommendation

Overall, this product easily removes copper tarnish, burned on grease, heavier burned on food (with plenty of scrubbing), and does a pretty good job of bringing a nice shine to dulled stainless steel.  Note that it won’t remove deep scratches, but I wouldn’t have expected that.

I recommend sticking with the regular (cheaper version) of Bar Keepers Friend.  Just follow the simple directions on the packaging and it might be a good idea to wear gloves when using it, as it is a bit hard on the hands.

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How we make replacement parts

About one out of every several hundred customers that buys a lid/cover knob from us complains that it didn’t come with a screw.  The reason is that, as far as we can tell, Revere Ware pot/pan covers had a permanently attached screw since day one.  I think the 0.3% of people who have covers where this is not true probably have a non Revere Ware cover that someone put a Revere Ware knob on, or their screw broke off and their lid was retrofitted to use a separate screw, as we outline here.

This issue is valuable as it highlights the process we have been going through to create replacement parts for Revere Ware cookware.  It seems that replacement parts have not been available from Revere Ware (now World Kitchen LLC) since 1986, according to World Kitchen’s website.  This has created not only a lack of parts for customers, but lack of unused parts for us to model ours after.

To create replacement parts, we attempt to find a wide enough sample of the cookware and parts to represent all possible variations that exist out there in the world.  It is not always easy and often times all we can find are parts that are well used and not exactly in their original shape.

With knobs in particular, there is a wide variation in the length of the screw and the actual knobs themselves have had at least 10 variations over the years, some with metal inserts, including aluminum and brass, some without, and with varying depths of screw holes.  With handles, there seems to be slight variations in hole separation.

Overall, if the number of complaints about problems is any indication, we’ve done a pretty good job; we receive about 2 or 3 complaints for every hundred parts we sell.  In many cases, a little bit of do-it-yourself effort, like widening holes in the metal part of a handle, can solve the problem.

Probably the largest hurdle and the reason people are upset when their parts don’t fit, is that we are often confused with the Revere Ware company, and as such, people expect the parts to work perfectly, unaware of the trouble we have had to go through to actually create suitable replacement parts.  While our name helps people understand exactly what we provide, people seem to skip past the numerous disclaimers on our site that we are not affiliated with the Revere Ware company or brand.

So, just to clarify, we are not the company that made the cookware and we have had no help from them in creating these parts.  You can find World Kitchen LLC, which owns the Revere Ware brand, here.

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World Kitchen moves further away from the Revere Ware brand

World Kitchen, the owners of the Revere Ware brand seem to have moved further away from treating the Revere Ware brand as anything special by abandoning a Revere Ware specific site; they now include Revere Cookware with all other brands on their site.  Another sad milestone in the modern day story of the once revered (pun intended) brand.

Here is the site from a few years ago:

Here is where you get redirected when you go to www.revereware.com now:

Unfortunately they have also removed any mention of the history of Revere Ware and made their contact page and information about their warranty very hard to find.  Their contact page can be found here and their warranty links are all listed at the bottom of their FAQ here.

They do have a FAQ now about lack of availability of replacement parts:

Where can I get knobs and handles for my Revere cookware?

We discontinued our Revere repair service in 1986 and we no longer have the replacement handles, knobs, or hardware for your cookware. We are sorry for any inconvenience.  Revereware does carry a 25 year warranty and we may be able to provide you with warranty service.  Please call our Consumer Care Center at 1-800-999-3436.

And how about this FAQ that claims the new Revere Ware with less copper is as good as the old stuff:

Why does my older Revereware seem heavier than my newer cookware that looks the same?

Through research and testing, we’ve learned that the same cooking results were achieved when using lighter materials.

By making this information harder to find, we can only assume that World Kitchen is wanting to make it harder for customers to receive warranty replacement of cookware under their warranty.  Prior to this, they had a very low reply rate on emails sent to them with warranty questions.  I personally received responses to one of five emails.

We continue to support the older (and newer) Revere Ware by making replacement parts available and will be introducing more handles, hardware, and gaskets in the next month.  Also be sure and try our Ebay categorization tool for Revere Ware to find replacement cookware.

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Revere Ware & the recession

In my experience, thrift stores have always been a good source for used Revere Ware cookware and I have gotten most of my extensive collection from thrift stores.  As a general rule, at a miminum you could count on there being a good selection of Revere Ware lids, should you need a replacement.

But the last year or so I’ve noticed a curious thing; less and less Revere Ware at thrift stores.  I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to assume that more people are bargain hunting and depleting the stock of available cookware at thrift stores.

But, on the other hand, the stock of Revere Ware on Ebay keeps growing and growing.

I am guessing the same recession mentality that is driving people to buy cookware on the cheap may be leading people to try and sell whatever they can to make money, including their old Revere Ware.

The trend clearly means that Ebay is the place now to get add to your Revere Ware collection or to replace a ruined pan, and with our new parts, you can keep them looking and working well for a long time to come.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we recently created a tool to help you find the specific Revere Ware piece you are looking for on Ebay: www.revereware.org. This tool downloads all the Revere Ware Ebay listings every 30 minutes and categorizes them by type and size to make it easier for you to find that 9 inch lid or 3 quart sauce pan.

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Finding replacement cookware

As probably anyone who has owned and been a fan of Revere Ware for many years knows, the good stuff just isn’t made anymore.  So what do you do when you accidentally ruin your favorite pan, or you want to expand your collection?  You have two choices really:

  • Your local thrift store, which has the advantage of being cheap and quick, but is mostly hit and miss
  • Ebay, which has a longer lead time and might cost you more, but has a large selection and you can find almost anything you want.

My own tracking of Ebay over the last year has shown that, for reasons unexplained, the amount of Revere Ware sold there keeps growing, about doubling since a year ago, and now stands at about 800-900 listings at any given time.

The problem is, finding what you are looking for on Ebay can be tedious.  To make it easier to find Revere Ware items on Ebay, I’ve created a site that constantly downloads and  categorizes the Revere Ware listings on Ebay.  You can find it here.  Listings are categorized into cookware type and sorted by size.

It is a little crude at the moment, but quite functional and is able to successfully categorize about 85% of the Revere Ware related listings into 13 categories.  The content is refreshed every 30 minutes.  You can expect frequent updates to improve both the appearance functionality in the coming weeks and months.  Enjoy!

Update:  World Kitchen has changed their site again and is now displaying the customer care and warranty links more prominently.

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Revere Ware cleaning tips

I’m always looking for new tips on taking care of my Revere Ware and so when I saw a book recently at a yard sale entitled Fast Fixes and Simple Solutions, Surprising Uses for Ordinary Household Items, I of course picked it up.  And it has a few suggestions for cleaning stainless steel, mostly for sinks, but they should apply to Revere Ware stainless as well.

Add sparkle to your sink. Make your stainless steel sink shine like the chrome on an old Cadillac. At the end of a hard day,
pour some club soda or white vinegar on a cloth and give your sink a good rubdown. Then dry it with a clean cloth to prevent streaks.

Wipe off water spots. Why do they call it stainless steel if it can get water spots? Instead of thinking about the answer to this question, just make your steel stainless again. Dampen a soft, clean cloth with white vinegar and wipe. When you’re happy with the results, dry your sink to avoid streaks.

Snuff out a rust-stained sink. Lighter fluid can rub out rust stains in your stainless steel sink. Just remember one thing. It’s important for safety’s sake to rinse the sink and your hands after handling the lighter fluid.

Conquer stainless steel stains. Heavy-duty stains on your stainless steel sink might need a heavy-duty fix. Try rubbing an
ammonia and water solution on the stain. If this doesn’t work, make your own cleanser by combining borax and lemon juice. But remember – always be careful with borax. It’s toxic.

Rehabilitate a scratched sink. Ifharsh cleaners and chemicals have damaged your stainless steel sink, head to your local auto parts store and buy chrome polish. With a little bit ofelbow grease and a dab of polish, you can return your sink to its original luster.

The chrome polish in particular has me wondering.  I haven’t tried any of these yet.  If you have, please let us know how well they work in the comments.

Along the same vein, they had a couple of copper cleaning tricks.

Kiss tarnish goodbye. Use a tangy salad ingredient and salt to shine tarnished brass and copper – not harsh chemicals. Salt and vinegar, mixed into a paste, make an excellent metal cleaner.

Polish your copper with ketchup. Ketchup makes your copper gleam better than expensive polishes. Simply mix ketchup
and water in equal parts. Apply it to your copper with a soft cloth and wipe off. It’s that simple.

I’ve tried both of these solutions, and they do work, but I personally find a paste copper cleaner to be must easier to use and better at cleaning the really tarnished stuff.

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New Revere Ware parts – the perfect gift!

The problem with gift-giving is finding something appropriate to give, meaning, something that the recipient will actually like, and let’s them know you spent time thinking about what they want.  You can always give something fairly easy, and thoughtless, like a gift card, but a well-thought-out gift is always better.

Many Revere Ware owners are passionate about their cookware, and have been using it for decades.  Do you know someone like this in your life?  So why not give the Revere Ware lover in your life new parts for their cookware.  If they are anything like the Revere Ware lovers I know, they will love it!

Furthermore, given that new Bakelite and other parts for Revere Ware cookware were not available for quite some time before we started selling them in 2009, many people have given up looking for new parts and just assume they will have to live with their faded and cracked Bakelite parts, leaky pressure cooker gaskets, and rusty hardware.  Your gift will not only make them happy, it will probably be a surprise too!

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Cleaning a Revere Ware tea kettle whistle

I recently came across an article on eHow on how to fix a Revere Ware tea kettle whistle when it stops working.  While overall I would say eHow articles tend to be fairly low quality, this one does offer some good tips.

How to Fix or Replace Revere Ware Tea Kettle Whistles

Revere ware kettles are durable, but broken whistles are hard to replace.

Repairing a Revere ware tea kettle whistle can be a challenge. Spare parts for these sturdy kettles aren’t easily found. If your kettle’s whistle has gone silent, something may be blocking the steam from escaping the small hole in a pressurized stream, or a crack in the plastic top is creating a hole too large for the steam to build up enough pressure to make sound. Either way, you’ll have to fix it or tolerate a quiet kettle from now on.

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:

  • Revere ware tea kettle
  • Kitchen scrubbing sponge
  • Thin-gauge wire
  • Scissors or wire cutters
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  1. Step 1

    Examine the plastic cap with the metal center that retracts from the spout. Look for cracks and make sure the cap is making proper contact with the metal spout. If the plastic cap is cracked, it can’t be fixed because glues and adhesive patches won’t last under high temperatures. Continue using the kettle because it will still boil water for tea; it just won’t whistle. Buy another kettle if you miss the sound.

  2. Step 2

    Scrub the inside edges of the cap if it is intact and not cracked. Scrub the metal edges of the spout with the rough side of a wet kitchen sponge to remove mineral deposits that may prevent it from closing tightly.

  3. Step 3

    Cut a 6-inch length of thin-gauge wire with scissors or wire cutters. Poke it through the hole in the metal portion of the tea kettle whistle. Wiggle it back and forth to loosen any mineral deposits from hard water that may be blocking it. Fill the tea kettle with a few cups of water and boil to see if the whistle works.

  4. Step 4

    Listen for the whistle. If you don’t hear it, empty the tea kettle and refill with a 50 percent solution of water and white vinegar. Set on simmer for 15 minutes. The acid in the vinegar will dissolve mineral deposits inside the kettle that you can’t reach or see.

  5. Step 5

    Clean the tea kettle every month or so with the vinegar-and-water solution to prevent future buildup that can block the tea kettle whistle.

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