Hi everyone! Chances are most of you have owned at least one piece of enamelware at some point in your life. My grandmother owned many and used an enamelware basin in her sink to wash dishes in until the day she died. She watered her house plants with a white quart-sized enamel pitcher that had measurements written down the side. One of my prized possessions is a nicely speckled blue enamelware cup that I inherited after she died. I have to admit to a deep affection for enamelware of any kind. I enjoy both decorating with it and selling it as I find it to be a good seller.
Initially developed in Western Europe in the 1700s, the process of enameling metal pots and pans made its way to America in the mid-1800s. The basin above is an example of marbled enamelware. It sold in my Etsy shop for $16.99 several months ago (2014).
The enameling process begins with the application of a thick enamel paste to metal cook ware, and then heating it to very high temperatures, thereby fusing the coating to the metal and creating an enamel surface. Most enamelware is unmarked. This white colander sold in my Etsy shop several months ago, also for $16.99 (2014).
Collectors tend to enjoy the more colorful pieces of enamelware, rather than plain white, however certain forms like the colander and this small pitcher are more desirable than say a plain white basin. This pitcher sold in my shop for $12.00 (2016).
This lunch bucket (or strawberry pail) serves as another example of a desired form. It also sold from my shop, for $18.00 (2016).
Enamel helped preserve the metal and prevented foods from developing a metallic taste, as well as protecting one’s dinner from rust. This newer red and white spattered ladle sold from my Etsy shop for $11.99.
While this green and white swirl cup sold for $5.99 out of my shop (2016).
Collectors use a variety of terms when discussing enamelware, including graniteware and agateware. I grew up calling it all enamelware, and the terms seem fairly interchangeable, so I’m sticking with it. This nice-sized coffee pot sold for $35.00 at my shop (2015).
When lower priced aluminum pots and pans started to become available, enamelware’s popularity declined. It’s tendency to ding and chip fairly easily didn’t help. I purchased these two robin’s egg blue pieces at separate sales on the same day. What are the odds, right? My feeling is that this large punch-bowl-like piece was manufactured in Poland or Czechoslovakia–just a feeling. I’ll be listing this unique bowl and ladle in my shop shortly. The bowl is worth $45-50.00 and the ladle, $15-20.00. (SOLD for $65.00 in my shop.)
It comes with a nice wooden handle, dating this piece to before the turn of the century. It is worth about $45-50.00 (would be higher if it had its lid). It sold from my shop for $34.00 (2016).
Mid-century modern Catherineholm enamel bowls like these are extremely popular right now. Produced in Denmark and bearing a lotus pattern, each 5.5″ bowl is worth $50-60.00. Available. The simple white lotus pattern against the aqua background is striking, isn’t it? I hope today’s post answers any questions you may have had about enamelware, and I wish you luck in finding your first (or your hundred and first) piece while out shopping for vintage. Happy hunting!
If you enjoyed this post, sign up via email
and receive every post directly in your inbox.