Back in the late 1920s the Dur-X Company began producing and selling glass knives for “acid fruits” because this was prior to the appearance of stainless steel knives and the carbon steel could be affected by the acid in these fruits and also the fruits were often discolored by the metals in the knives.
Almost all the earliest knives show the “Pat.Pend.” notification at the base of the blade as the patent was not granted until 1938. Another company produced them with the Vita-Glas name and they were sold by the Renwal Distributing Company.
The knives were produced in clear glass, clear with painted decoration (often lost) and in the colors popular during the depression years. They continued in production until the 1950s when they were phased out with the introduction of stainless steel knives that were impervious to acids in fruits.
I remember my grandmother buying one at Marshall Field’s in Chicago in 1946 on one of our trips to visit my mother and step-father while they still lived in Chicago. It was clear with a flower design impressed into the handle and painted red and yellow. I still have it but the paint has long since worn away. It may have been fired onto the glass but it is rare to find one with the paint intact nowadays, unless they were never used (or washed).
Obviously the ones made of colored glass and with decoration are the most desirable to collectors and as there were several companies that produced them, there is sufficient variation to make a collection interesting.
I don’t collect the knives, I have just four, all were inherited from relatives or received as gifts.
Not a lot of these knives survived because, being glass, they were fragile. It was easy to chip the edges of the blades and the points were particularly subject to breakage. Glass workers could re-grind the edge and at one time there was a mail order service that advertised in the little ads in the backs of magazines this very service. I remember seeing these ads when I was little and found the many odd little ads fascinating to read.
Oddly enough, in recent years, there has been some revival of knives with glass blades and much touting of how this “stone-age” instrument has been brought into the 21st century. Apparently these folks weren’t aware that in the 20th century there was also a revival of sorts of this interesting type of blade and it lasted for several decades.
So here’s this gadget that looks pretty innocuous.
Here’s what it looks like from the top.
This is a “Melba Toast” splitter, a gadget that will hold a regular slice of bread so that it can be sliced in half, thus making two extra thin slices.
Now there is the accepted way of simply toasting a slice of bread, cutting off the crusts and splitting it and toasting the untoasted surfaces but apparently some inventor thought it would be a good idea to have the bread already half thickness AND to keep the crusts on the bread.
I like that!
Another advantage is that this gadget allows one to slice whole grain breads and those containing nuts and etc., which doesn’t work very well with the traditional method.
The teeth on the inside of the gadget hold the bread slice in place and when it is close there is a slot for the thin-bladed bread knife.
Here’s a slice of whole-grain, nutty bread in place;
And here is a photo showing that slice, sliced in half.
The thing even has a wood piece in the bottom so the blade of the knife won’t be damaged. Pretty clever, eh?
This gadget is very old and came from England.
It’s a “Marmalade Cutter” and is one of the gadgets that cause some people to shudder on first seeing it.
What the heck is a “Cream Maker” – a gadget from England These apparently appeared in England back in the 1930s and continued in production well into the 1950s. Not having lived there, I don’t know why it was considered advantageous to mix milk and butter and process them through these gadgets to emulsify them so one would end up with cream. However, they were manufactured and used and apparently produced a satisfactory result. I have taken photos of two of the three I own. The larger one in the front is the earliest, I believe, as the person who gave it to me said her mother had it before WWII. It mounts to the edge of a table with a screw clamp.
This little one stands on its own “foot” and forces the “cream” out of the little curved spout.
I was told it was manufactured in the late 1940s. That was a time when there was strict rationing in England.
This is a “Jubilee” Cream Maker with its own jar to catch the processed cream.
This gadget is a “Wheat Krinkler” or grain flaker. This is the way cereal grains were “flaked” to make cooking faster in the days before wheat flakes and oatmeal flakes were handy for farm folks.
Does anyone need a meat grinder? No two are exactly alike. One has its own stand.
I also have others that are “specialty” grinders – one for poppyseeds.
Here’s a few.
More photos later.
Here are two old gadgets.
On the left is the “Shaker” apple peeler.
On the right is a cherry pitter.
The following photo is of a “cherry stoner” that does not use a gadget to push the pits out but essentially crushes the cherries so it is easier for the stones to be removed.
This is a small scale that is surprisingly accurate and needs no additional weights to weigh up to 10 pounds.
The label states it is a “Royal” – a Tower Product, made in Western Germany.
One photo shows it with a 5-pound bag of cornmeal which it has weighed correctly.
A Butter Cutter
This is actually a restaurant implement, made to cut a one-pound block of butter into “pats” for serving.
The design is very clever. First the section with the cross wires is pushed horizontally to divide the block into four “sticks” and then the 16 wire cutter slides down the shaft to cut the sticks into 18 segments. The plate is marked “72” to indicate how many pats it will produce.
“Food Processors” non-electric
This is from the 1950s, colored pink, a very popular color during that period.
It is both a meat grinder and a “salad” shredder.
It utilizes one base for two different tops, the meat grinder.
And the salad shredder that has three “blades’ one for slicing, one coarse grating and one fine grating.
I think it would fit nicely in a vintage pink kitchen. Unfortunately my kitchen isn’t.
The Butter Pot
Isn’t this cute? It may look like a teapot but it is actually a butter or ghee pot. This one was made in Nepal, although I am told that they are common in India, where ghee is used a great deal.
This was given to me by someone who thought it actually was a teapot. I love it because it is so different.
It’s made of brass that has been patinated to look like bronze – and to keep it from developing verdigris that can damage the surface.
(The person who gave it to me passed away a couple of years ago so revealing this for it’s true use will not be hurtful to anyone.)
Here’s an odd item. It has a sort of “space-age” look.
This is a hot beverage server. It has a container for under the bottom of the globe and a spigot for dispensing the hot liquids.
The person from whom I purchased it called it a “hot cider server” and I believe it would do just fine for that purpose. The ring around the server is supposed to hold cups with hook handles. I do not have the cups.
It is the shaded “flame orange” that was used on enameled cast iron cookware in the 1960s and I have several pieces of Descoware with the same color, purchased at that time.
How about a “Lunch Box” that is really collectible.
Lunch boxes are very popular as collectibles but those are the lunch boxes for kids that had graphics of popular entertainment icons. Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Sky King and etc., plus all the Disney and other cartoon characters.
This is not one of those. I don’t collect lunch boxes but got this from an ebay seller who had sold me several early appliances. He thought I might find it interesting.
It is an electric lunch box that one could use to heat one’s lunch. It has two metal containers and one glass one, probably for foods high in acid, because the whole thing is made of aluminum. I don’t think it was ever used because there is no evidence anything was ever in the containers and this would be something very difficult to clean.
Looks pretty normal on first glance.
But there is a plug on this end.
And this end says “ElectroLunch”
Inside it looks like this.
Pretty clever, eh?