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 Cathrineholm Light/dark Blue Kittelsen Lotus 8" Bowl Enamel Norway Catherineholm Mid Century 9 1/2” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Cathrineholm Black/white Zebra Stripe Enamel Bowl -9 ½" Mcm/danish Modern EraMid Century Modern Catherineholm Green Trees Birds Over White Enamel Bowl EamesVintage Kaj Franck Arabia Finel Mcm Enamel 5 1/2' Mushroom Bowl Finland SetMid Century Cathrineholm Blue Lotus Enamelware 8" Serving Bowl NorwayRare Cathrineholm Lime And Yellow Lotus Petal BowlRare 10" Hanova Of Pasadena Dove Bowl Green White Enamel Metal Bird Mid CenturyCatherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Mint    Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Size 2 Bowl, Pot, Kettle, Slant Logo Heat RingCatherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Mint   Mint Vintage Corning Pyrex Corning Ware White And Pink Antique 4 Bowl Set Catherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Mint  Catherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Mint New 3 Piece Tupperware Impressions Classic Bowl Set: Still In Plastic!Tupperware Set Of 3 Bowls With Seals,plus Bonus!1980's Tupperware Small Container Bowls With Matching Lids-new/old Stock Vintage Tupperware Servalier Bowl Set Picquot Ware Milk Jug & Sugar Bowl Vintage - Aa2 S79Vintage Arabia Mid Century Enamel 8.25" Mushroom Bowl FinlandCatherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway MintTupperware Wonderlier Bowls With Seals, Plus Bonus!New Old Stock Vintage Tupperware Pastel #155 Classic Cereal Bowls - With LidsKaj Franck Finel Arabia Enamel Bowl Blue Cloverl Mid Century Modern ScandinavianCatherineholm Mid Century 4” Enamelware Bowl Lotus Pattern Norway Mint Vintage 6 Tupperware Cereal Bowls #155 Pastel Colors With 5 White Lids NewVintage Tupperware Jadeite Green Fix N Mix 26 Cup Mixing Bowl With Lid!Vintage Tupperware White Sugar Bowl, Twin Sides Flip Lid White #577Vintage Antique Graniteware Enamel Ware Soap Dish Small Bowl Blue Swirl Rare TubLot Of 3 Tupperware Fix N Mix Bowl 274 & 271Vtg Large 12" Blue Enamel Granite Bowl Country Kitchen Farmhouse Garden Art DecoVintage Pyrex Butterprint Amish 4 Set Turquoise Cinderella Mixing Bowls NestingTupperware Servalier 5 Piece Bowl/storage Set, New!!Tupperware Vintage Autumn Harvest Wonderlier Bowls 3 4 8 12 CupsVintage Tupperware Green Fix N Mix Large 26c. Salad Mixing Bowl W/clear Lid CoveTupperware Harvest/autumn/fall Set Of Four Big Wonder Bowls - VgucVintage Solid Copper Hand Hammered Fish Jello Mold Cake Pan Bowl Vintage Tupperware Creamer And Sugar Bowl W/lids, Blue & CreamTupperware Harvest/autumn/fall Set Of Four Big Wonder Bowls (3 Colors) - VgucTupperware Set Of 3 Sheer Cereal Bowls W/yellow Lids 1842-8Tupperware Ruby Sheerly Elegant Illusions Bowl, With Ruby Seal,plus Bonus!Tupperware Servalier 3 Piece Bowl Set Lot Storage Pink Orange Blue Vintage Tupperware Neon Cereal Bowls Set Of 4 (rare) 3 Vintage Mixing Bowls Revere Ware 1801 Stainless Steel 2, 4 And 6 Quart - Usa2 Tupperware 1.3l Impressions Bowls With Lids - Nip - Hostess GiftTupperware Berry Bowls Pastel Set Of 6 Berries Ice Cream Pudding Jello Endless Two Tupperware Autumn Harvest Maize Wonderlier Bowls #234 And Seals #227Tupperware Thatsa Bowl With SealTupperware Vintage Lot Pitchers Jello Mold Bowls Yellow, Orange, Brown 11 PiecesGriswold Cast Iron 871 Patty Bowl Bnip: Tupperware Microwave Cereal Bowls, Set Of 4, Excellent!Tupperware Acrylic Tupperwave 3pc. Bakers Set, 3qt Bowl, Cone, Airtight Seal, Tupperware Fix-n-mix 16 Cup Storage Mixing Bowl White/sheer #272 W/seal Tupperware Vintage Sugar Bowl Twin Side Flip Lids White/sheer #577 Vintage Boonton 511a-2q Powder Blue Confetti Mixing BowlVintage Tupperware Handolier White Mixing Bowl 271 New Tupperware Thatsa Bowl 8 Piece Set! On Sale! Limited Time! 8 Total Bowls!Vintage Enamelware Bonyhad Hungary Large Bowl With HandlesCopper 11" Mixing Bowl Bia Cordon Bleu Made In France Hand HammeredRevere Ware 1801 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set Of 3 "o" Rings