During the late 1700s, scientists in Germany were searching for some kind of protective coating or layer they could apply to cast iron and other metal pots and pans. They were looking for a material that would protect foods from rust and the unpleasant metallic taste that leached into foods from metal pans.
At the turn of the century, they achieved success with an enamel coating that could be applied relatively easily. At first they used it on the interior alone, but eventually, the coating made it’s way to the outside. Later, about the 1870s, colorfully decorated pieces, which became known variously as enamelware, graniteware, or agateware, became available.
To make enamelware, a white paste was applied to the surface of the metal and then inserted into a white hot oven where the paste fused with the metal, creating a porcelain-like surface. By about the 1860s, two American companies dominated the market: Lalance and Grosjean and the St. Louis Stamping Co. However, with the introduction of aluminum, stainless steel, Pyrex, and plastic into the market place in the 1930s, enamelware began a steady decline.
About This Price Guide
Each of the items in the photos below I currently own or have owned in the past. Most are pieces that an “average” buyer or seller might come across, unlike many price guides that contain only higher end items.
Values are based on my personal experience being in the antique business for almost twenty years. Note that values vary from state to state, region to region, and country to country; for example, I live in Upstate New York, which has a very different market than New York City. Other factors affecting value include condition and market (auction, store, eBay, etc.). My goal is to provide helpful information, so please accept this Guide in the spirit it was intended.