KITCHEN HELPERS
Still Affordable, Available

As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, August 2006 


Tin Spring mounted 8-hole cherry pitter. Sold for $250

I can remember way back in the l980s when people trashed egg beaters and other kitchen utensils and gadgets from the 1930s, 40s. Flash forward to the 1990s when a new generation of collectors started paying serious money for old waffle irons, juice squeezers and apple corers. These days not only are collectors specializing in them but items such as a 1930s , metal potato ricer is being reproduced and advertised for gourmet cooks.

 

Still coming to auction are antique cooking utensils , priced higher but very affordable. For instance 19th century iron spatulas and spoons for $100 or more. These are usually decorated and/or dated. At a January James Julia auction there was even an old tin spring mounted eight hole cherry pitter, still useful.

 

Kitchen utensils in 18th century America were made of iron. Colonial
blacksmiths used wrought iron to make toasters, forks, and other kitchen  necessities. Not until the early 19th century did they become decorative as well as functional.

 

Hearts were a favorite motif along with other elaborate designs. Brass and copper utensils were imported from Europe in the early 19th century. Skimmers, scoops, ladles and measuring cups among them. By the mid 19th
century they were made in America. Brass and copper utensils were left undecorated.

 

Among the most expensive kitchen gadgets are pie crimpers and “jaggers” of scrimshaw. They were originally carved, shaped and decorated from whalebone, whale ivory or even beef and pork bones. A sailor could turn a simple pie crimper into a work of art. While most were made between 1790 and 1840 what comes to market
these days usually dates from the late 19th to early 20th century.

 

How about a collection of wood rolling pins ? In the 19th century some were decorated with various color woods or even with bone and ivory inlays. Those with a pattern of intaglio designs on the working surface were used in Pennsylvania Dutch homes to make cookies called “Springerle”. In those days they were made for family use or even given as gifts.


CLUES: The 1920s was sort of a golden era of patents for kitchen gadgets. Items are still plentiful. Among the goodies to be found is a revolving cookie cutter. A push of the handle on a sheet of dough and the head revolves, cutting circles of  cookies. Tin egg beaters with a glass bowl and tin cover were a novelty in the 1920s. The cover kept the contents from splashing the cook. There was even a variety of styles of  pastry blenders and cooking forks. Some were speciually made with double sets of tines to handle hot foods.

 

Forerunner of the electric juicers was probably one with a bowl and ball of aluminum with cherry wood handles. Others combined porcelain balls and bowls with maple handles. Those of malleable iron and triple-tinned have held up well.

 

You’d be surprised at the variety to be found in potato mashers. So many varieties you could specialize in a collection. Most common was the wooden handled wire potato masher. Originally it sold for a nickel and was advertised as “the best kitchen utensil ever used”. Some of the wooden mashers had carved or pattern handles. If you come across a giant masher chances are it was used to make sauerkraut.


Who knows ! Maybe someday your panini press or electric pasta machine will be considered a collectible. If they are still useable so much the better.


If you have any questions, you can Email us at antshoppe@aol.com

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