May 18, 2014 — An Update to “Other Small Appliances”

When I first wrote about “other small appliances”  on this page,  I mentioned that some of the early appliances had “screw-in” plugs that were intended to be used in a light socket.

If you were born after 1950, you probably have no idea, unless you have seen some of the old movies that show a SINGLE cord hanging from the ceiling with a bare light bulb – which was the way old homes were “electrified” on the cheap, with the electric wires fastened to walls and ceilings and with a “drop” line for lights or for electric appliances.

I have three Hankscraft egg cookers, ceramic bodies with electric elements to boil water so the eggs cook in steam.   The earliest came with one of those screw-type plugs.  Unless one had a “duplex” or “Y” socket, there was either light or appliance and using both was tricky because if the circuit was overloaded it would burn out the fuse and early fuses were expensive.  If one was renting a room, often the owner installed coin-oprated electric “boxes” so one had to use a coin to connect to the electricity.

This photo shows all three of the Hankscraft cookers along with some egg cups that were manufactured to match.


The one in the center is the earliest.  Model # 599.  It also has a cup on top in which the water was placed – so it dripped down onto the heating element.

Hankscraft #599 early

Hankscraft 599 top cup

Hankscraft 599 interior



Hankscraft 599 egg plate

Hankscraft No 599

and the infamous “plug” which is rarely seen.

Hankscraft 599 plug


Next is the model 815, in which the water was added directly to the cooking bowl AFTER the appliance was plugged in.  Then the cover was placed over the eggs.  It states that after the water has steamed away, the current will shut off.  I’ve tried this and the current did not turn off until well after the element was completely dry.  I would advise using a timer and turning it off manually, if anyone wants to try using one of these.  I don’t have the metal egg plate for boiled eggs in the shell for this one, only the poaching cup.  And there is a chip on one of the little “lugs” that holds the poaching cup in the chamber.

Hankscraft 815-2

Hankscraft 815-3

Hankscraft 815-4

Hankscraft 815-1

In this one you can see the slot that has been cut into the dome so the handle for the poaching cup will be outside the chamber (and is supposed to stay cool) and the handle of course makes it easier to pick up and carry.


Hankscraft 815


Lastly, there is the Model 874, which has the metal egg plate but no poaching cup and there is no slot in the dome so I assume the poaching cup did not have a handle – and might have been awkward to retrieve when hot…

This one says to put the water in BEFORE plugging in, which I think is wise.  It also states that when cooking is done the current will shut off and in this one it did.  Apparently the sensor still works.

This one is a yellow that was popular in the 1930s and in fact matches the Fiesta yellow and has the same ribbed design that appeared on some Fiesta pieces.  I can only find one matching egg cup but I am sure I have a set of 4… somewhere.

Hankscraft No 874-2 Hankscraft No 874



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4 Responses to May 18, 2014 — An Update to “Other Small Appliances”

  1. Louis LaForce says:

    Great information! I believe that my grandmother bought a Model # 599 Hankscraft egg cooker. Your photos tell me that I have all the parts, including the metallic egg- shaped cooking aid. Unfortunately, the writing on the metallic instruction device was removed while being cleaned with a scouring pad. Do you have any idea as to when this model was manufactured? It does have a two-pronged plug for an electrical outlet. My grandmother lived in Providence, RI in the 1920s and moved to Berlin, NH in 1930. Can you think of any safety measures that I must implement before plugging in the unit? I will disassemble the unit and clean it as best as I can. I have no idea as to the last time it was used.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.

    Louis LaForce Goffstown, NH

    • asenjigal says:

      Hi Louis,
      Why don’t you email me at [email protected]
      and I can send you a full-size photo of the bottom of the 599 with the instructions for use and maintenance.

      Look for cracks in the power cord and any corrosion on the internal metal parts. These things were made to last and in a damp environment, unlike many appliances. (I have a Hankscraft nebulizer that was purchased in the ’50s and it works better than the newer ones)

      I believe the #599 was made in the 1920s – I have to find some clippings I put in a “safe” place, so safe I can’t find them, as I have an ad from a magazine with the #599 and the matching egg cups and a ceramic tray.


  2. Timothy Kuryla says:

    I have a model #599. It was 1931 wedding present to my parents. It is black with a funnel top (like the green one shown above). Mine has an electrical plug. At the end of my plug, I have attached a switch plug to be safe when I am using the cooker. The cups appear to have a black ceramic egg holder on the bottom with clear glass on top. Look at the cooking instructions on the bottom and on the tag attached to the cord. Instructions say 2 teaspoons for a soft boiled egg, I do not know the size of eggs back in 1931, but 2 TSPs would not cook much. For soft boiled eggs, I use 1 TBS and a 1/2 TBS of water.

    • asenjigal says:

      So sorry for the long delay. I am having problems with my blog. Someone has been posting odd things that I can’t see when I sign on but people tell me it comes up when they try to access my blog from Google.

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