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    

Vtg Catherine Holm Lotus Enamelware 9.5" Mixing Bowl - Mid Century ModernPyrex Delphite Blue Bluebelle Mixing Bowls 401 1 1/2 Pt And 402 1 1/2 QtVtg Pyrex Daisy Citrus Orange & Yellow Cinderella Nesting Mixing Bowls Set Of 4Cathrine Holm Norway Blue/white Enamel Small 5 ½" Bowl 'lotus' PatternPyrex Cinderella 4qt Turquoise Aqua Balloon Bowl Vintage #444Vintage 1801 Paul Revere Revere Ware Copper Mixing BowlVintage Catherineholm Norway Mustard Lotus Bowl 9 1/2"Tupperware Nip 4 Pc Thatsa Bowl PinkVintage Catherineholm Lotus Bowl Enamel Mustard Yellow Mid-century Mcm 5 1/2"Set Of 1960s Pyrex Mixing Bowls Amish Buttermilk, Turquoise, Excellent Cond.Tupperware Microwave Cereal Bowls Set Of 4Vintage Pyrex Polka Dot 4 Bowl Set 401 Small 402 Medium 403 Lrg & Xl 404! Rare!Vintage Finel Of Finland / Arabia Enamelware "tatti" Mushroom Bowl.Vintage Catherineholm Norway Mustard Lotus Bowl 8"Vtg Pyrex Nesting Bowls Primary Colors Usa Glass Mixing 401-2-3-4Vtg Tupperware 2 Qt 8 Cup Mix & Store Measuring Pitcher Bowl W/ Blue LidTupperware Vintage Lot Of 4 Wonderlier/mixing Bowls 12,8,4 & 2 Cups Nesting NosVintage Fire King Red Polka Dot Mixing Bowl, 6" Tall (579)Tupperware Classic Wonderlier Bowls Set Of 5Lot Of 6 Merry Mushroom Small Bowls Sears Roebuck & Co. 1977Vintage Pyrex Turquoise Amish Butterprint Cinderella Bowl 2 1/2 Qt - #443Vntg Mid Century Mod Arabia Finel Finland Kaj Frank Enamel Mushroom Bowl 8-1/4"Tupperware Fix-n-mix 26 Cup Mixing Storage Bowl 274 & Seal Lid 224 ~green ~vtgVintage 30's Androck Egg Beater Glass Bowl Vintage Blue 401 And Red 402 Pyrex Mixing BowlsFranck Vintage Mcm Arabia Finland Christmas Bells Lingonberry Enamelware BowlTuperware Nip 4 Pc Mixing Bowl Set ExclusiveVintage Tupperware #274 Jadite Green Big Mixing Bowl 26 Cup Fix-n-mix W/lidTupperware Nip 5 Bowls MixedTupperware Crystalwave Microwave Bowl--- 3 Quart Capacity - UsedTupperware 12 Cup Thatsa Bowl Jr. 2677 Storage Mix Bowl & Pink Seal Lid 2515Tupperware Seal-n-serve Bowl #1336 & Plate Lid #1337 ~ YellowVintage Retro Harvest Tupperware Seal N Serve Cereal Bowls Plates, Set Of 4.Antique Vintage Solid Copper Mixing Bowl W/ Hanging Loop Decor Kitchen Art Lot Of 7 Pcs. Tupperware "press & Seal Bowls" - Missing Brown LidVintage~ Tupperware~577-10~sugar Bowl~ Yellow~Vintage Ekco - Chicago 639 Egg Beater / Butter Churn Glass Mixing Bowl SetTupperware Legacy Server And 5 BowlsSet Of 3 Small Tupperware "press & Seal Bowls With Lids"Greens Large 13 Inch Gripstand Mixing Bowl Vintage 1973 Made In EnglandNew Tupperware Five (5) Piece Wonderlier Bowl Set-beautiful Seals W/ Clear BowlsAntique Dough Bowl And Rolling PinTupperware Wonderlier Bowl Set Of 3 - Pc. 6,8 - 3/4,12 Cup. Lime,sunny,turquish.Huge 12" Mason Cash & Co. Made In England Mixing Bowl Tan W/ Diamond Pattern13 Vtg Tupperware Servalier Bowls Seals 840 1323 886 Harvest Orange Yellow Green4 Vintage Tupperware Servalier #1297 & 1298 Bowls Canisters & Lids SealsTupperware Basic Mixing Storage Bowl 272 & Seal Lid 230 ~vintage10 Lot Vintage Tupperware Jadite Green Bowl Lettuce Keeper Grater Colander LidsVintage Set Of 8 Tupperware Cereal Bowls Pastel Colors # 155Vintage Enamelware Rabbit Popcorn Bowl With Handle From Daugherty StudioTupperware Green Large Servalier Salad Serving Bowl 880 & Seal Lid 881 ~ VgucClear 11.5" Plastic Punch Bowl Ladle Dipper & 12 Punchbowl Cup Hooks Hangers NewVtg Brown Enamelware Graniteware Sugar Bowl With Lid Small Dish Camping Kitchen Vintage Finel Arabia Franck Enamel Mushroom Mixing Bowl Finland TomulaTupperware Set 3 Servalier 6,10,13cups Bowl W/ Butterfly Handles New Tupperware Nip 2 Ice Prisms Bowls8 C8 Vtg Tupperware Pastel Cereal Bowls With Lids 2 Cup Yellow Blue Green Peach Red & White Enamelware Splatterware Rectangle Serving Dish Bowl Pan 11 3/8" Tupperware Classic Servalier Bowls 838 840 Orange, OliveTupperware Red Serving Condiment Caddy 757 Storage/serving Set Bowls 758 & Seals