Graniteware describes enameled metal coffee pots, colanders, salt-and-pepper shakers, cake molds, muffin pans, and skillets produced throughout the Midwestern and Eastern United States from the 1870s until the end of World War II. Patented in 1848 by New York inventor Charles Stumer, graniteware was also known as agateware, enameled ware, and speckleware. Among the many manufacturers of graniteware was the St. Louis Stamping Company, which marketed a line of Granite Iron Ware products for the kitchen.

St. Louis Stamping was one of the earliest producers of graniteware, as was Lalance and Grosjean, which won the Grand Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition of 1878 for its blue and white pieces. Soon, Lalance and Grosjean was producing graniteware for Sears, Roebuck and Company, which the famous catalog company marketed as Peerless Gray Ware. Other early graniteware producers included Bellaire Stamping Company and Vollrath.

Close cousins of graniteware are those pieces whose grays and other colors were mottled or marbled. Colors appeared to blend into each other, or swirl and curlicue separately to create random, eye-catching patterns and effects. Today, mottled enamelware is a favorite of kitchen collectors, but it is usually treated as a separate category from graniteware.

One of the many benefits of graniteware was its low cost—Sears sold a set of 24 pieces for just $4.37. Because of its light weight, graniteware was much easier to handle than comparable cast-iron pieces, and its smooth surface made it easy to clean (white graniteware was popular in nurseries and doctor’s offices). As for pieces that resembled the outside of a speckled robin’s egg, they were simply cheerful and fun to use.

Unfortunately, graniteware was prone to cracking, which would expose the metal underneath and cause it to rust clear through. This tendency was so widespread that a company called Mendets sold patch kits containing a tool that was sharp on one end to ream out the hole, with a wrench on the other to tighten down the patch.

For a while, consumers were scared away from graniteware due to claims of antimony, lead, and arsenic in the enamel, a claim made most prominently by Lalance and Grosjean against its competitors. But in the 1930s, a new, more pressing threat would prove the end of graniteware’s popularity—aluminum.


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    

Antique Green White Swirl Graniteware Enamelware Small Berry Bucket Pail & LidAntique Grey Mottled Graniteware, Agate, Enamel Thumb Scoop 5 1/2" X 3 1/2" Nr Antique Childstoy Graniteware German Tea Set.15 Pc.includes Rare Pitcher & BowlRare Antique Graniteware Enamelware Flask Canteen With Original LidVintage Grey Graniteware Container / Jug , 2 Quart Small Graniteware Berry Bucket With Lid Hard To Fi4 Pcs Vintage Black & White Enamelware Graniteware Enamel Metal Trays & ContaineVintage Childs Enamel Graniteware Cookware & Advertising Enamel Pan3 Gray Graniteware Dinner Plates 9-1/4"Nice Rare Enamel "end Of Day" Handled Bucket Green, Brown, Yellow, Black, WhiteVintage Small Green & Orange Enamel Ware Tea Cup Creamer Sugar Toy Or Sample~2~ Pieces Of Antique Snow On Mountain GranitewareTwo Graniteware Baking Pans; Bread, Loaf, Cake, Etc.Vintage Enamelware Cup Graniteware Enamel Grey Gray Antique Kitchen Dining 1900sEnamel Granite Ware Red And White 2 Ladels Old New Stock Rare Size Large Beautiful Gray Graniteware Milk Cream Can Great ConditionAntique Enameled Milk Jug/pail, White W/ Locking Lid Rare-wood HandleAntique Emerald Green Swirl Agate Agate Ware Lid 10 3/4" Rare Vintage Green Swirl Enamel Cooking PotVintage Graniteware Coffeepot Blue Green Turquoise Coffee Pot Wood Handle EnamelLot Of 6 Vintage Enamelware Metal Coffee Mugs Red Black Trim Made In Hong KongLarge Oval Tan With Red Trim Enamelware Basin Very Nice Graniteware Antique Set Of Granite Ware Enamelware Coffee Cups Mugs - Blue White Grey GrayVtg Rare Htf Cobalt Blue & White Swirl Graniteware Enamelware 18"x13" Oval TrayVintage Small 4 1/2'' High White Enamelware Teapot Hinged Top Blk TrimVintage Enamelware Cup Graniteware Enamel Grey Gray Antique Kitchen Dining 1900sTwo Vintage Enamel Graniteware Gray Loaf Pans8 Peice Set Green Enamal/graniteware Cereal/soup/salad BowlsAntique Vintage Grey Graniteware Wall Mount Soap Dish From Farmhouse KitchenVintage Enamelware Granite Blue Swirl Cake Pan CasseroleVintage Graniteware Long-handled Ladel1930-40 Vintage Kitchen Roaster Ovenware Enamelware Graniteware CampingEarly Czech Czechoslovakia Enamelware Graniteware Blue LadleRed Enamelware/graniteware PanVtg Graniteware/enamelware Kitchen Egg Pan//plate/bowl White /black Trim SmallVintage Enamelware Skimmer Spoon Graniteware Enamel Grey Gray Antique KitchenRed Enamelware Splatterware CollanderVintage Enamelware Robin Egg Blue Salt BoxVintage Brown & White Speckled Graniteware Soup Stew Ladle DipperVintage Grey Graniteware Enamelware Mottled Cup Mug Cowboy CampfireEarly Czech Czechoslovakia Enamelware Graniteware Blue LadleVintage Enamal Graniteware Double Boiler Steamer Blancher Cookware