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 Modern Arabia Finland Kaj Franck Red Heart Enamel BowlRare! Vintage Avocado Green 4 Qt Polka Dot Pyrex Bowl 404 Nice!Catherineholm Norway Mid-century Black Lotus Bowls (3) 5 1/2", 7 1/4", 8"Catherineholm Norway Mid-century Mustard/yellow/white Lotus Bowl 5 1/2"x 2 1/4"American Gray Graniteware Salesman Sample Bread Bowl / Child's ColanderSet Of 3 Mid-century Catherine Holm Green Lotus Leaf Enamelware BowlsVtg Mid Century Modern Black & White Catherineholm Lotus Metal Retro Enamel BowlVintage~cathrineholm~red White Striped~large Enamel Bowl~mid Century~modCathrineholm Blue & White Lotus Enamel 5.5" Nesting Bowl Beautiful Condition!!!Cathrineholm Blue & White Lotus Enamel Tiny 4" Nesting Bowl Beautiful Cond.!!!Vintage Tupperware Harvest Color Kids Dishes Cups Bowls Plate Tuppertoys 18 PcsVtg Revere Ware 8pc~4 Ss Mixing Bowls 6qt Pot 1 Cup 'mini" 6" Fry Pan & 3qt PotVintage Pyrex Green Polka Dot Bowl 4 Qt. Vintage Large Heavy Copper Mixing Beating Bowl France Jean Matillon With StandVintage Pyrex Primary Color Mixing Bowl Set Glass Baking X3 Retro Kitchen OldVintage Wagner Ware Magnalite Salad Bowl Plustrivet & Lid # 4052New Tupperware Servalier Bowl Set Of 32 1950s Pyrex Primary Color Mixing Bowls Turquoise 403 2-1/2 Qt +red 404 4 QuartBlue & White Swirl Graniteware~mixing Bowl~nice !Monterey Western Ware Coffee Pot,3 Cups ,platter,and Hard To Find Sugar Bowl.Mid-century 8" Kathrineholm~enamelware "lotus" Bowl~scandivanian Design~ex/condVintage Tupperware Classic Fix N Mix Large Jadite Green Bowl W/ Lid 26 CupTupperware Large Mixing Bowl #272 W/ Lid #230 Two Sizes Arabia? Black White Geometric Enamel Bowls 9.5 & 8" Mic Century Modern8 Piece Vintage Harvest Tupperware Avocado, Orange, Yellow Servalier Bowls.Vintage Tupperware Mix-n-stor Measuring 8 Cup/bowl With Lid6 - Vintage Monterrey Western Ware Enamelware = Soup Bowls = Set Of 64 Vintage Tupperware Harvest Servelier BowlsLovely Prim-rose Fuldensia Vtg Graniteware Pitcher & Bowl Germany W/orig Label!New Tupperware Ideal Lit Small Bowls (please Read Details!)Tupperware Fix-n-mix 26 Cup Mixing Storage Bowl 274 & Seal Lid 224 ~yellow ~vtgAntique Yellow Ware Batter/mixing Bowl W Spout Bullseye/drape Pat. 25-3-9 U.s.a.Vintage Tupperware Jadite Green Big Mixing Bowl 26 Cup Fix-n-mix W/lid #274 Usa6 Vintage Tupperware Pastel Kids Childs Size Small Bowls #154 Dessert BerryNew Tupperware Servalier Bowl 4pc Set 10oz - OrangeLot Of 2 Vintage Tupperware Key Chains Wonderlier Bowls Orange & Yellow #1306Tupperware Microwave Cereal Bowls Set Of 4Tupperware Nip 4 Pc Thatsa Bowl PinkMid Century Arabia Finland Enamelware White Bowl Black Mushroom Kaj Franck LargeVintage Griswold Deep Patty Bowl #72Vintage Mackenzie Childs Stackable Enamel Coffee Tea Sugar Bowl Set Vintage 8" Stoneware - Salmon/bittersweet - Girl Watering Flowers - Mixing BowlStir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper Green New Deluxe West Bend Top Use As BowlTupperware Nip 3 Pc Impression Bowl SetTupperware Wonderlier Bowls SetVintage Pyrex Blue And White Mixing Bowls, Blue Snowflake Garland, Set Of 22-vintage Tupperwear Keychains-1 Pastel Wonderlier Bowl & 1-white CanisterVintage 1940's Watt Ware Usa Gold-n-bake Yelloware 8" Blue And White Banded BowlVintage Tupperware Small Servalier Bowl Set Of 3 Orange Gold YellowTupperware Apple Green Round Servalier Canister Bowl Seal Lid #1205 ~8" DiameterVintage Pyrex Primary Color Mixing Bowl Set.Set 4 Emile Henry 5.5" Individual Pie Tart -blue- Made In France Bowl Dish Euc3 Vintage Small Enamelware Bowls-blue Swirl-old Kitchen GranitewareVintage Blue Enamelware Graniteware Salesman Sample Miniature Childs Toy BowlAntique Rare Blue Green And White Swirl Graniteware Bowl Nice Condition!Tupperware Nip 5 Bowls MixedVintage Green Plastic Deka Bowl Large Cathrineholm Mid Century Inspired New Tupperware Large Modular Mates Cereal Keeper Container Bowl With Seal LidVintage Tupperware Cereal And Storage Bowls With LidsNew Lot 5 Tupperware Toy Bowls Miniature Bowl & Seal Set Smidgets Magnets