Aluminumware- A Houseware Still Treasured at Mama’s Treasures In 1852 this silvery new metal was priced at $545.00 per pound. By 1890 it only cost $2.25 per pound, but even at that figure only a little cookware and a few novelties could
News-Antique.com - Jul 01,2007 - In 1852 this silvery new metal was priced at $545.00 per pound. By 1890 it only cost $2.25 per pound, but even at that figure only a little cookware and a few novelties could be produced.
In 1886 all that changed when a twenty two year old inventor, Charles Martin Hall, working in his woodshed laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio unlocked the secret of producing aluminum inexpensively.
In 1888 Hall finally interested Alfred E. Hunt of Hunt & Clapp, Pittsburgh metallurgists in his discovery. with $20,000 they organized the Pittsburgh Reduction Company (later renamed the Aluminum company of America) to produce the new metal.
Aluminum cooking utensils were one of the product categories the new company was most interested in. Despite their unique appeal they met with great resistance. Compared to the traditional cast iron and porcelain enamelware utensils, they were more expensive. Unaccustomed to utensils of such unusually light weight, women were inclined to regard
them with distrust and suspicion.
However, the company persevered and in 1903 the trade name Wear-Ever was adopted. Aluminum would have a future as bright and shiny as the metal itself. It would take half a century to accomplish, but by the 1950s new technologies would make aluminum the
most popular household metal for utensils and cookware.
Other companies were being developed during this time. The Mirro aluminum company was started in 1895 under the name of the Aluminum Manufacturing Company which eventually became the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company. They started mass
producing aluminum cookware in 1913. The brand name, Mirro, appeared nationally in 1917 in cookware advertisements.
By 1924 there were at least forty manufacturers of
stamped and cast aluminum cookware. Names that are immediately recognized today are Regal Ware, West Bend, Club and Northland.
In the mid-century it was not unusual for almost every houseware in the kitchen to be made of aluminum. We had aluminum utensils, glasses, cups, coffeepots, cookware, pressure cookers, salt and pepper shakers, spice sets, canisters and grease cans. From the
plain silver look, it progressed to imprinted decorations and finally colorful anodized aluminum.
Today we’re seeing a growing popularity among collectors to reclaim this treasured metal. Not only for a decorative purpose but to use in kitchens today. The most troubling aspect is finding it in good condition. Aluminum housewares were literally used to death and then thrown away.
At Mama’s Treasures we try to find you quality Aluminumware that can still be collected
& used. You’ll find brand names like Wearever, West Bend, Viko & Kromex. You’ll also find quality pieces that are unmarked and upon whose origin we can only speculate. Need a Viko, Wearever, or Mirro cookbook, we buy them whenever we can find them but they
don’t last very long.
So if you love aluminum or just like that retro look, drop by Mama’s Treasures on tias.com and see what she has in stock. Shop if you like and don’t forget that
we always consider reasonable offers. Mama’s Treasures, the home of old and