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    

Vintage Catherineholm Lotus Yellow & Green Midcentury Enamelware 4 Inch Bowl NrEstate Item-vintage 4 Catherineholm Lotus Red On White Bowls 11" To 7"Tupperware New Set Of 4 Little Small Wonder Bowl Bowls Set Pink ContainersVintage Finel Kaj Franck Arabia Red Hearts Mid Century Modern Enamelware Bowl ExVintage Mid Century Kaj Franck Arabia Finland Enamel Bowl Christmas Bells Set 2 Catherine Holm Enamel Bowls Norway Blue, Orange & White LotusHuge! Antique Heavy Copper Bowl 15 1/2"! Beating Bowl Cook Candy! DovetailedCatherine Holm Mid-century Enamel Lotus Bowl- 7"New Tupperware 4pc Minnie Mouse Snack Set 16 Oz Tumbler, Cups & Bowl Disney KidsFantastic Mid-century Carrol Boyes Gotcha Salad Bowl NwtVintage Pyrex Pink & White Gooseberry Cinderella Nesting Bowls Very Nice!!!4 Vintage Fire King Jadite Mixing Nesting Bowls 6-7-8-9" Swirl ExcellentNew Tupperware Classic Thatsa Nesting Bowl Towers With 42-cup Mega Bowls Pink Tupperware 8 Pc Set Shape O Ball Toy Bell Tumblers Sippy Ideal Lit’l Bowl Vtg 4pc Pyrex Ovenware Nesting Bowls Set Blue #11 Red #19 Green #22 Yellow #30Tupperware Thatsa Mega Bowls Set Of 4 ~ 6 12 32 42 Cups Pink PunchNew Tupperware Set Of 4 Microwave Cereal Bowls 2 Cup Kids Breakfast Snacks LunchSet Of 4 Vintage Pyrex Amish Butterprint Turquoise Cinderella Nesting BowlsFabulous Old! Vintage Solid Copper Beating Bowl Tupperware Microwave Cereal Bowls Set Of 4Lot Of 14 Tupperware Gadget Keychains Shape O Ball Toy Wonderlier Bowls SteamerNew Tupperware 4pc Mickey Mouse Snack Set 16 Oz Tumbler, Cups & Bowl Disney KidsTupperware Thatsa Mega Bowls Set Of 4 ~ 6 12 32 42 Cups Pink PunchNew Tupperware Wonderlier 3 Pc Nesting Bowl Set 6, 8Washburn Crosby Gold Medal Flour Kitchen Advertising Pot Pan Bowl Scraper Tool Vtg Tupperware Toys Mini Child's Play Set Cups Bowls Pitcher Dishes Orange YelloTupperware~ 4 Impressions Cereal Bowls Set Microwave Blue Green Pink Raspberry(12) Vintage Monterrey Western Ware Pieces €Large 12.5 Monterrey Western Ware Enamelware Serving Snack Bowl Lasso Cowboy HatTupperware Nip 4 Pc Thatsa Bowl PinkVintage Griswold Deep Patty Bowl Pot W Bail Handle-salesman Sample4 Monterrey Western Ware 7 Inch Diameter Cereal Bowls Great ConditionLot Of Tupperware Pastel Bowls W/lids 4 Cereal Bowls 5 Smaller Bowls Vtg StorageLot Of 5 Vintage Tupperware Wonderlier Bowls - Pastel -mixing-storage ContainersCatherineholm BowlNew Tupperware Impressions 3 Pc Nesting Bowl Set Mix Bake Batter Prep 5Excellent Vintage Red Pyrex Medium Mixing Bowl-no Scratches Inside- Must See!New Tupperware Quick Chef Pro System 5Vintage Yellow Ware Green 9" Mixing Bowl - Girl W/watering Can - U.s.a. #166Tupperware Nip 2 Mix N Store BowlsTupperware 5 Pc Set ~servalier 17 Cups Salad Bowl ~4- 3 Cup Bowls ~fiesta PinkVintage Over And Back (?) Yellow-ware Mixing Bowl - Cream & Green - StonewareVintage Lot Of 4 Tupperware: 2 Mix N Store Batter Bowls & 2 Measuring CupsKrenit 6 1/4" Bowl From Denmark - Original - ExcellentNew Tupperware Classic Nesting Thatsa Bowl Tower 6-pc Set With Mega BowlNew ! Tupperware Blue Thatsa Bowl Set! Measuring Spoons & Cups ! 2,6,19,32 Cup! Tupperware Vintage White 8 Cup Measuring Cup/bowl With LldTupperware Pink Thatsa Bowls 3pc Set 32,12 & 6 Cups Mixing Serve Storage NewVintage Pyrex Glass Nesting Bowls Primary Colors Set Of 4 KitchenVintage Tupperware 8 Pastel Cereal Bowls With SealsLot Of 4 Finel Kremit Finland Denmark Mid-century Red/black Enameled BowlsVintage & Barbie Kids Mini Tupperware Childrens Bowls Cups Dishes Lot Pitcher Monterrey Western Ware - Enamelware - Four Soup / Cereal BowlsTupperware Cereal Bowls With Seals Lids Set Of 6 Color Bowls W/ Clear Lids 12 Pc**12 Vintage Tupperware Servalier 10/20 Oz Bowls Assorted Colors Vgc **Tupperware Thatsa Mega Bowls Set Of 4 ~ 6 12 32 42 Cups Pink Punch3 Vintage Tupperware Bowls Harvest Servalier Set Green Yellow OrangeTupperware 3 Pc Mix-n-store Royal Blue Batter Mixing Measure Bowl 8 CupTupperware Lot Of 2 Mixing Bowls 20 Pc Tupperware Lot Cups, Bowls, Servalier Guc