Bowls are one of the most common cooking tools in a kitchen, which is why we probably take them for granted. But ask any good cook if there’s a non-electronic item in his or her kitchen that they simply could not do without and you might learn that it’s a favorite mixing bowl—chips, scratches, and all.

Ceramic bowls offer the collector—and cook—the greatest range of choices. Yellowware bowls were first produced in Derbyshire, England in the late 1700s. Within 100 years, potteries in New Jersey such as the Jersey City Porcelain and Earthenware Company, as well as firms in Kentucky and Pennsylvania where deposits of the light-colored clay were also plentiful, made the U.S. a center for this utilitarian ware.

Yellowware bowls, which were as wide 18 inches across, were often pressed into molds, producing vertical or horizontal ridges, basketweaves, and other designs that made them easier to grip. Single or multiple blue, white, or pink stripes were usually added as a highlight. Yellowware bowls were also marked by thick rims, which allowed the cook to grip the side of the bowl with one hand while mixing vigorously with the other, and the bases of these heavy bowls were always flat.

Between the 1920s and 1940s, one ceramics company, McCoy, embossed and molded its bowls with more details than its predecessors. McCoy also broke the genre’s predisposition for yellow by glazing its bowls in a range of soft-to-deep greens. The other feature of these McCoy bowls is that they nested, so that several bowls could be stored within the space taken up by only the largest of the set.

Another type of vintage ceramic mixing bowl employed a technique called spongeware, which was practiced by Red Wing Stoneware, among others, in the early part of the 20th century. Its yellow and rust dappled bowls with modest rims and utilitarian feet are quite collectible, especially if the bowl features an advertising message at the bottom of its inside surface.

Homer Laughlin China Company took a different approach with its nested sets of Fiesta mixing bowls, produced from 1936 to 1943. Unlike the McCoy and Red Wing bowls, Fiesta bowls were taller, featured lips that were less handle-like, and came in a range of bright colors, some of which were literally radioactive, albeit at extraordinarily low levels.

After World War II, Shawnee Pottery Company made several lines of corn ware, so called for the kernel-and-leaf patterns on the outsides of many of its bowls and other kitchen and dinnerware items. White Corn patterns came first in 1945, followed by Corn King (yellow kernels, through 1954) and Corn Queen (lighter yellow kernels with darker green leaves, through 1961)...

Kitchenware collectors also prize glass batter and mixing bowls. The most famous of these were produced in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s in a color called Jadite, which was a widely copied soft green color pioneered by Jeannette Glass Company of Pennsylvania. McKee Glass also made bowls in Jadite-like hues, as well as white bowls with red ship decorations or polka dots.

Anchor Hocking created steep-sided, “splash-proof” Jadite bowls for its Fire King line, as well as riffs on the McKee polka-dot bowls in both red and black. One of the most collectible Anchor Hocking bowl sets is Kitchen Aides, which featured red hand mixers, measuring cups, and other common kitchen tools on the sides of a set of four nesting bowls.

Fire King utility bowls were also made in clear and translucent hues—its Crisscross pattern was almost identical to one sold by Hazel Atlas Glass Company. Meanwhile, Pyrex made glass bowls with white interiors and cheerfully colored outsides. Red, blue, green, and yellow were the standard colors, but in the 1950s horizontal stripes and rows of gradated polka dots were also quite popular.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Mid Century Catherineholm Enamelware Lotus Bowl / Orange & White Exc ConditionMid Century Modern Yellow 8" Cathrineholm Enamel Lotus Bowl Grete Kittelsen ArneFabulous! Mid Century Cathrineholm Norway Yellow & White Striped Enamel BowlVintage Griswold Erie 8qt Cast Iron Yankee Bowl KettleVintage Green & White Cathrineholm Lotus Enamelware Bowl 8"Arabia Of Finland Finel Enamel Red Hearts Bowl 8" Kaj Franck Mid Century ModernMid Century Modern Yellow 8" Cathrineholm Enamel Stripe Bowl Grete Kittelsen 3 Vintage Cathrineholm White/yello Lotus Enamel Nesting Bowls Norway Mid CenturyVtg Brown Orange Nesting Melmac Spatter Confetti Mixing Bowl Set Brookpark Nos Set Of 4 Vintage Pyrex Nesting Mixing BowlsCathrineholm Cathrine Holm Norway Black Yellow Atomic Saturn Mixing Bowls MicmNew Tupperware Lot Of Big & Little Wonder Bowls + Fridge Bowls + SmidgetsVintage Huge Yellow Ware Mixing Bowl Two Triple Blue Bands - NrTupperware Clear Bowl Large- 990 Ml - Free ShippingNew Tupperware Classic Thatsa Nesting Bowl Towers Set Of (6) New ColorsNib Fire King Anchor Hocking 4 Mixing Bowl Set New Old Stock NosVintage Pyrex 1 1/2 Quart #442 Pink & White Gooseberry Cinderella Mixing BowlVintage Tupperware Servalier Bowls #858 Harvest Colors Set Of 4# 2 Griswold Yankee Bowl P/n 784 Slant / ErieTupperware 3.4qt Bowl With Lid 3.2l #4820b-2 With 4821b-2 Lid PurpleMid Century Modern Catherine Holm Lotus Enamelware 4"bowl Avocado GreenTupperware Cool And Fresh Refrigirater / Left Over Bowl - Medium 800 Ml - NewTupperware 5pc. Keeptabs Set Nip Free Shipping Free Ideal Lil Bowls!Vintage Enamelware Metal Bowls With Floral & Leaf Design Set Of 4 RareTupperware Ideal Little Bowls! Set Of 4 NewAntique & Rare Stoneware Pottery Mixing Bowl W/ Embossed Beaver Excellent Cond.Avocado Green 5.5 " Cathrineholm Norway Enamel Lotus Bowl Kittelsen, ArneVtg Delaval Cream Separator Parts Lot Supply Can Bowl Skim Milk Spout + Float NrTupperware Nip Keychains Pitchers, Bowls, Mug, Heat N Serve, Mix N StoreBrand New Large Ice Prism Salad. Punch Bowl Crystal Clear Beautiful!Vintage Glass Punch Bowl Ladle SpoonNew Tupperware Kid Party Serving Set Pitcher Bowls Tumblers Picnic Kitchen Toys Vintage Enamelware Fruit Pattern. Large Bowl And TrayVintage Tupperware Servalier Bowls #886 & 1323 Harvest Colors Set Of 7Vintage Milk Glass Turquoise & Gray Design Small Mixing BowlSet Of 8 Vintage Tupperware Pastel Cereal Bowls Vintage Tupperware Mixing Bowl Classic White Large 12 Cup With LidCuisinart Ctg-00-smb Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls With Lids, Set Of 3 Mrsp$33.993 Vintage Tupperware Pastel Wonderlier Nesting Bowls W/lids Lot Vintage Tupperware Large Jadite Green Fix-n-mix #274 12" Bowl With Sheer LidTupperware One (1) 12 Cup Prep Essentials Mixing Bowl Sheer Base Red Lid / SealAt Home W/ Mary Engelbreit Large 9" Serving Bowl Dish Love Home Family FriendsVintage Tupperware Complete Set Of Pastel Wonderlier Storage Bowls In GucRed Wing ? Stoneware Bowl With Burdett Kansas AdvertisingMonterrey Western Ware Enamelware Surgar Bowl * No Lid Vintage Tupperware Mix N Stor Measuring Cup Batter Bowl - 8 Cup #500-23 Cupcake Condiment Bowls With SpoonsTupperware 6 Set Cereal Bowls Vintage Pastel Colors With 1 LidTupperware Sheer Wonderlier Bowl #2518 Purple "z" Lid Seal #230 - 12 Cups.Herbert Krenchel Denmark Mid Century Krenit Enameled Bowl Salad Set Black 10"4 Nesting Mixing Bowls 2 Tone Lindt Stymeist Colorways Wanabees Bright PrimarysNew Tupperware Servalier Bowl Set~chickadee~mango~popsicle~3, 4, And 11 CupVintage Pyrex 2 1/2 Quart #443 Pink & White Gooseberry Cinderella Mixing BowlVintage Rare Wearever Aluminum Bowl Marked Tacu Co Made In Usa No. 1114Tupperware Vtg Sugar Bowl Gold 577-10 Flip Top LidsVintage Tupperware Gadget Wonderlier Bowl Keychain Lot Of 4 With Lids & 2 ChainsVtg. Batter Beater Batterbeater Spatula "curved To Fit The Bowl" W/ Wood HandleTupperware Prism Bowl 500ml -- New Free ShipTupperware Harvest Red Wonderlier Bowl #237 Sheer "z" Lid Seal #230 - 12 Cups.2vintage Tupperware Servalier Bowls W/lids Food Storage Containers Orange/green