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 Childs Tin Graniteware Spatterware Cooking Set Vintage Enamelware Graniteware Green Swirl Ladel - 13" LongAntique Graniteware Childs Miniature Coffee Pot Salesman Sample,primitive,rareRare Large 2side Frigidare Early Electric & Graniteware Enamel Sign RefrigeratorVintage English Enamel Bread Box Cream W/green Enamelware GranitewareRare Chrysolite Dark Green Swirl Graniteware Tea Or Coffee Pot / Hinged LidVintage Small Size White Enamelware Graniteware Scoop Old Vintage Blue White Swirl Graniteware Enamelware Water Cream Pitcher Farm KitchenEnamelware Tray, Green Swirl, Green Enamelware Tray. 10"Grey Graniteware Molasses Syrup Pitcher - Side Seam - Strap Handle - Hinged LidVintage Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Cream Can W/ Lid & Wire Handle / 9 1/4"Vintage White W/ Black Trim Graniteware Enamelware Water Pitcher Farm KitchenBlue Swirl Columbian Granitware Dipper Near MintRare And Old American Gray Graniteware Sugar ShakerRare Large 2side Frigidare Early Electric & Graniteware Enamel Sign RefrigeratorIndividual Grey Graniteware Gooseneck Coffee Pot - Tin Domed Lid - Side SeamedGrey Graniteware Cream Pitcher - Side Strap Handle - Large SwirlingVintage Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Coffee Or Tea Pot / Hinged Lid 10 3/4"Antique 1890s Enamel W/pewter & Copper Demitasse Coffee Pot GranitewareVintage Enamelware Graniteware Covered Green Swirl CupAntique Blue Swirl Agateware Graniteware Coffee Tea Pot Enamel SwirlGraniteware Oval Gray Mottled Corn Imprint Mold. Great Shape!!!Grey Graniteware Hand Held Perforated Tea StrainerVintage Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Small Oval Serving Dish Or PlateCobalt Blue & White Graniteware Double BoilerAntique Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Enamelware Pie TinVintage Enamelware Graniteware Miners LunchboxGraniteware Enamelware Full Body Pitcher White Red Trim Country Shabby Chic Blue Speckled Enamelware Graniteware Matching Bean Pot & Lidded Canister CampingRare Tiny Grey Graniteware Individual Child's Egg Pan - Riveted Side Handles Vintage Blue & White Swirl Graniteware Berry Bucket W/ Wire Bail & Wood HandleVintage Blue & White Swirl Graniteware Small Berry Bucket W/ Wire BailVintage Green Swirl Graniteware Coffee Boiler Pot Graniteware Enamelware Full Body Pitcher Gray Black Trim Vintage Rustic CountryGraniteware 1 Qt. Embossed Gray Measure ** Near Mint ** Vintage Cinsa Saltillo Mexico Enamelware Bowls Aqua Blue With Floral CenterVintage Antique Enamel Graniteware Salt Box And Lid, Made In Germany White+ BlueRare Large Blue & White Swirl Graniteware Boston Cream Can W/ Lid & Wire HandleEarly White Porcelain Enamel Cowboy Coffee Pot Vintage Camp8 Vintage Mendets Cards Boxes Cookware Graniteware Enamelware Repair Kit Graniteware Beautiful Light Blue And White Swirl Ladle... Really Rare ColorLarge Vtg White & Black Enamelware Refrigerator Dish Graniteware Pan & LidGray Graniteware Coffee Pot Lid For 5-3/8 - 5-1/2 Inch Diameter Pot Early 1900'sAntique Graniteware Gray Speckled Enamel FunnelLarge Blue & White Swirl Graniteware Milk Bucket W/ Wire Bail & Wood HandleVintage French Lge Seamed Blue Enamel Pitcher Antique Watertight Graniteware JugVintage Gray Graniteware Enamel Porcelain Kitchen Ware Lot Personal CollectionVintage 4 Pc. Set Enamel/granite Refrigerator Containers With LidsGrey Graniteware Large Thumb Scoop W/ Agate Nickel Steel Ware L&g Mfg. EmbossedVintage Floral Enamelware Graniteware Pan French Country Shabby Vintage Farmhouse Enamelware Graniteware Red White Swirl Ladel - 13" LongOld Enamelware Measuring Pitcher 32 Oz Graniteware11 3/4 Inch Cobalt Blue Swirl Lid Vintage Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Cup Or MugVintage Large Gray Mottled Graniteware Cup Or Mug Vintage Enamel Graniteware Xl Miners Lunch Box Pail Blue, White Flex New Tags!Graniteware Enamelware Blue Speckled Childs, Salesman Sample Berry Bucket PailVintage Blue And White Swirl Graniteware Spittoon / 7 1/4" DiameterTiny Grey Graniteware 1 Cup Liq Measure - Embossed Agate Ware L&g Mfg. Antique Gray Graniteware Turks Head Cake Mold Late 1800's Very Good