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    

Pair Cathrineholm Mid Century 4" Red & White Lotus Enamel Bowls NorwayCathrineholm Mid Century 7 1/2" Diameter Blue Lotus Plate + 4" Dia. Sauce Bowl New Tupperware 5 Pc Classic Servalier Bowl Set W Seals Salad Cup Summer TraveCathrineholm Lotus Steel Enamel Bowl 9-1/2" Diameter Gold/yellow Danish ModernVtg Lot 10 Pc Complete Retro Tupperware Servalier Bowls W/ Matching Lids MultiFinel Arabia Kaj Franck Enamel Bowl Sunflower PatternTupperware Flower Fiesta Salad Set Servalier Bowl & Salad Bowls NewTupperware Thatsa Bowls Set Of 2 ~ 12 19 Cups ~ Blue PurpleNew Lot Of 5 Tupperware Mini Bowls Miniature Bowl Set Smidgets Toys All ColorsMid Century Hazel Atlas Mixing Bowl Turquoise DesignVintage Antique Pyrex Nesting Mixing BowlsTupperware Disney Mickey Mouse Magical Lunch Set Snack Cup 16 Oz Tumbler Bowls Vtg 70's Autumn Harvest Tupperware Bowl Canister Lot Servalier Handolier PitcherNice Finel Enamel Bowl, Floral Pattern, Finland, Kaj Franck?New Tupperware Salad On The Go Set Bowl Fork Knife Midget Cup Lunch Travel Large 26 Cup Fix N Mix Vtg Yellow Tupperware Salad Mixing Bowl Bread Dough2 Vintage Hazel Atlas Glass Mixing Bowls Turquoise Kitchen Aids 6"Tupperware ~refrigerator Bowls ~ Lot Of 4 ~14 Ounce ~mint Green ~ New Vintage Tupperware 8 Cup Mix N Stor Measuring Pitcher Batter Bowl ~mix N Store Tupperware Disney Minnie Mouse Magical Lunch Set Snack Cup 16 Oz Tumbler Bowls Tupperware Stack Store Serve Bowls Set Of 3 14 Ounce Guava Purple Green WasabiFire King Yellow Diamond D-handle Mugs And Matching 5" Bowls - 4 Pieces2 Vintage Fire King Jadite Jadeite Green Swirl Nesting Mixing Bowls 7" 8"6pc. Retro Harvest Tupperware Avocado, Orange, Yellow Square Servalier Bowls.Vintage Tupperware 2 Quart 8 Cup Measuring/mixing Bowl With Lid New In BagVintage Tupperware - Servalier - 3 Square Nesting Bowls - Great ShapeVtg Tupperware Catalog 1958 1950s 50s Rare Home Party Bowl Cup Uncle SiTupperware Flat Outs Bowls Set Of 2 ~ 3 & 4 Cup Guava Purple Vintage Alessi Michael Graves Tea Kettle, Sugar Bowl W/spoon, Creamer And 2 CupsVintage Midcentury Catherineholm Norway Enamel Bowl Red And WhiteVtg Set Royal Sealy Clown Cookie Jar Sugar Bowl Creamer Salt Pepper ShakersLot Of 3 Large Vintage Tupperware Fix-n-mix Bowl With Lids--26 CupTupperware~wonderlier Bowls Set ~yellow Blue Green~ 6 8 12 Cups ~ Lot Of 3 Vintage Hazel Atlas Glass Mixing Bowl Red Geometrics 5 3/4"Vintage Tupperware 3 Servalier Bowls & Lids Harvest Autumn 886 & 1323 Guc6pc. Retro Harvest Tupperware Avocado, Orange, Yellow 5" Round Servalier Bowls.2 Vintage Nos Fire-king Sapphire Blue Philbe Double Spout Measuring Bowl CupsTupperware ~ Little Wonder Bowls ~ Set Of 4 ~ Mint GreenNew! Tupperware Purple 2 Cup Small Wonderlier Storage Bowl & Seal LidNew Tupperware 19 Cup Medium Thatsa Bowl W Cover And Tilting Colander Green Prep12pc Lot Revere Ware Sauce Pans Skillets Copper Stainless Mixing Bowls Pre-68Vintage Pyrex Friendship Mixing Bowls Set Of Three MintAvocado And White Catherine Holm Norway Mid Century Lotus Bowl-5 1/2"Set Of 5 Vintage Pastel Tupperware Cereal Bowls #155 With Seals ~ Mint Tupperware Servalier Set Of 3 Bowls In White W/ Blue Easy Push Lids EucLot Of 8 Ea Tupperware Sheerly Elegant 24 Oz Bowls & 2 Oz Little Dippers Rare3 Tupperware No Break Sheerly Elegant Acrylic Serving Bowls Blue Green PurpleTupperware Mixing/nesting Bowls #270 & 271 W/ Lids; NewTupperware, 32 Cup That'sa Bowl, Green And Neon Yellow, Great For Summer Salads.Vintage Tupperware Bowl Green Jadite Jadeite Tupper Seal 26 Cup LargeOld Signed Germany Graniteware Child's Mug & BowlLot Of 32 Tupperware Sheerly Elegant Bowls Pates Tumblers & Little Dippers RareVintage Pyrex 4pc Princess Bowl SetBowl Danish Mid Century Modern Lotus Enamel Large 11.2" Lt. Avocado Excell.91 Pcs Of Vintage Tupperware-pastels-bowls, Pic-a-deli, Mold, Tumblers, ShredderVintage Mid-century Herbert Krenchel Krenit Yellow Raised Serving Bowl DenmarkLarge Brookpark Melmac Confetti Spatterware Mixing Bowl 11 1/2"Tupperware Large Big Wonder Bowls Set Of 5 ~yellow Guava Purple Wasabi ~ 3 CupNew Tupperware 26 Cup Black Fix N Mix BowlVintage Brookpark Spatter / Confetti Melmac Bowl