Vintage bowls have been a favorite collectible for a very long time, long before anyone thought of using the word “vintage” for anything but wine.
Homemakers would proudly display their pottery, china, stoneware and etc., mixing bowls, pudding basins, bean pots and platters where they could be admired by visitors to the kitchen. Every kitchen, in the days before the “built-in” or “fitted” kitchen, had a “dresser” or “press” with open shelves where these would be handy to use. These also usually had drawers and cupboards below where linens and other items could be stored.
No one actually knows when pottery bowls were first made but it was a very long time before any records were kept and it seems that every culture, all over the world developed the idea of making vessels from clay and baking them so they would be more durable. By the time the Egyptians were producing very sophisticated bowls, jugs and other vessels, the methods were long established.
No matter if it were in China, the Steppes of Central Asia, the lands around the Mediterranean, in Africa or the New World, there would be potters making vessels that took the shape of a globe or part of one. This shape lends itself well to many uses and is an inherently strong construction, no corners to get knocked off and no nooks and crannies in which the contents could stick. Ingenious, really!
In any event, by the time the potteries and later the glassworks in America began developing their craft, it had long been a strong craft in Europe and England, Scotland and Ireland and the settlers to America brought their art with them and found wonderful clay deposits in many parts of the new land. Small, family owned potteries grew up around these areas where clay could be easily mined and later these morphed into factories as the demand grew with the increasing population. Huge swathes of forest were cut down to fire the potteries and a secondary result was more open land to farm.
Later the glass makers developed tougher and thicker molded glass that functioned in the same manner as the pottery and stoneware bowls but it remained a secondary material for utility ware until the development of a tough, heat resistant glass by a German chemist in the 1890s who developed Duran for laboratory use.
During WWI, Corning developed a product of borosilicate glass and patented it under the name “Pyrex.”
See the Page titled Glass and Pottery Cookware and Bakeware.
Pyrex “white rim” bowls
Pink Pyrex bowls:
“Primary Colors” bowls purchased in 1961.
The McKee Glass produced the Glasbake line of ovenware beginning in the 1920s. By that time McKee had been around since its first factory was founded in 1853. The company moved to a new facility in 1888 to be nearer a good supply of coal. They established the town of Jeannette, named after Mrs. Mckee and it was a perfect location for that type of industry. They continued to make handmade glass until well into the depression when competitors, who were increasing machine-made glass, cut into their market share.
McKee glass items are extremely desirable, probably the most looked for are the Carnival glass lines. Unfortunately many of these have been reproduced in China and SE Asia and collectors have to be very careful when buying these.
McKee initiated many colors in their utility lines, most famous the “Jadeite” which they produced for Sunbeam and Magic Maid mixers, as well as a few others.
The Fire-King line of ovenware produced by Anchor Hocking did not appear on the market until 1937, although pieces are often advertised as “antique” and “vintage” Fire-King articles as being from the 1920s.
Pottery and Stoneware Bowls
Pottery and stoneware have been around for a very long time. The shapes and styles have been perfected over time and some companies have truly made an art of it.
It is probable that the most desirable name in kitchen and tableware collectibles is Bauer Pottery. Most people are familiar with the Los Angeles factory but Bauer started out in Paducah, Kentucky, not far from my childhood home. On the farm there were pickle crocks, butter crocks, jugs and “settling basins” as well as chicken feeders and other utility ware, all carrying the Bauer Pottery name and made in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They also produced flower pots, vases, wall vases and other decorative ware at the Paducah factory.
In 1908 J. Andy Bauer moved to Los Angeles and opened a pottery and expanded into the Arts and Crafts movement that had many adherents on the west coast and especially in the Los Angeles area.
The pottery began producing utility kitchen stoneware and in the late 1920s added dinnerware and art pottery and introduced the brilliant colors and surface decorating, particularly that known as “Ringware” which is probably the most desirable to collectors. A few people refer to the ringware bowls as “beehives” because when turned upside down the shape is like an old beehive.
These pottery pieces were far different from the usual offerings of the time, being neither plain white or bisque colors or covered with detailed, fussy floral and fantasy designs that were popular in Victorian times and well into the Edwardian and this was called the “esthetic movement in the U.S. The shapes and colors developed by Bauer for their stoneware were what made the wares so attractive to consumers who were anxious to forget the problems of WWI.
Small pink Bauer bowl:
Large shallow Bauer bowl with small pink bowl:
Three Bauer bowls I have owned since the 1960s.
Bauer deep bowls and a shallow straight sided bowl.
Bauer bean pots;
Bauer was so popular that other potteries began copying their most popular items and among these were;
Metlox and Vernon Kilns, Homer Laughlin, who began producing the colorful Fiesta ware in the latter half of the 1930s and Gladding, McBean who produced Franciscan ware and others such as Catalina Pottery and Pacific Pottery.
Bauer continued in business until 1962.
The Bauer line was revived in 1998 when Janek Boniecki purchased the expired trademark and began production of the colorful table ware, complete with the original backstamp. This was altered to include a “2000” after she found that some of the pieces were being sold as vintage originals.
This is a hand-thrown, very large cazuela – used for cooking and serving, made by Clay Coyote, Hutchinson, Minnesota, and purchased several years ago after Paula Wolfert wrote so convincingly about this company. The glaze is “custom” in that I selected the bowl and then chose a glaze. I think it is lovely and also useful.
From the same pottery, I have this 3 piece veggie steamer – also for couscous. The bowl with perforations, to place over a pan with simmering water, and the underplate for serving at table. This is another gorgeous glaze.
And yet another huge shallow bowl with a spectacular glaze.
This is a pre-WWII stoneware bowl from Germany. It has the “Germany” stamp inside the bowl, something never seen on pottery made in the U.S.
It looks a lot like the Bauer “Ringware” but is unglazed on the outside. Inverted it does look like a beehive.
Here are three bowls of slightly different materials.
The brown is stoneware, the middle bowl is English, also stoneware and the white and green is “yellow-ware.”
Here are two bowls made by Stangle Pottery of Trenton, New Jersey.
The next photo is of a “Pudding Basin” made in England by Pearsons of Chesterfield.
Here are two very early stoneware bowls. One with an inner dark brown glaze with an interesting design on the bottom, the other with a clear glaze.
This one made by Pacific.
This utility bowl was made by Universal Potteries in Cambridge, Ohio.
The following photos show three Hall China bakers. The large green one and the little brown one have “stub” handles. The medium sized brown one has “lug” handles.
Hall China round backstamp.
Bean pots are also popular collectibles. Here are two.
This is a “Mystery” bowl. It does not have a name backstamp. It does have a “12” stamped into the bottom under the glaze.
Here’s one of the water jugs that were popular beginning in the 1930s. I’m not quite sure of the date of this one.
Another bean pot: