ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Collecting Mania: Graniteware

Updated on March 20, 2011

Bonnie Blue, Magnolia, Flint Grey, Ripe Concord Grape: The names once used to market American graniteware are as colorful as the pieces themselves. These durable enamel-coated goods have enlivened country kitchens since the late 1800s, when manufacturers began to churn out metal cookware and bakeware coated with mottled, swirled, and speckled designs.

Enameled kitchenware was first mass-produced in Europe, in the last quarter of the 19th century, where it was manufactured in England, France, Germany, and elsewhere. European graniteware tends to be brightly colored with hand-painted floral motifs or Art Deco graphics. Certain shapes are also unique to Europe, such as tall coffee biggins and lavabos - water tanks that feature built-in basins.

Another very rare European graniteware item would be the bidet, which is a virtually universal feature (albeit in modern mass produced porcelain) in European bathrooms which not only you would be hard pressed to find in any American bathroom, but you'd be just as hard pressed to find an American who knows what it's for or how it's used. I remember traveling with an American colleague in France, and he used the bidet to fill with ice and keep his beer cold! The artisans of these countries brought their trade secrets to our shores when they arrived as immigrants. In time, American enameled items came to be called graniteware - a term that may have arisen from the popularity of Granite Iron Ware, a line first produced in 1876 by the St. Louis Stamping Co.

In the United States, the term graniteware describes all styles of enameled kitchenware, from solid-colored pieces to decorative designs. American graniteware most often carries swirled, marbled, mottled, spattered, or speckled patterns, and collectors use these generic terms to describe vintage pieces.

Graniteware took the country by storm as homemakers happily traded their lackluster cast-iron pots for items that were lively, lightweight, and easy to clean. By the early 1900s, some 80 companies nationwide were creating coffeepots, kettles, ladles, pitchers, pie plates, pudding pans, water pails, and sundry other goods. The variety of products was endless, and prices were low.

American graniteware was first produced in blue or gray, but makers introduced more vibrant goods early in the 1920s, when kitchens came alive with color. The reds, yellows, and cobalt blues continue to entice collectors today. Whether old or new, graniteware continues to freshen interiors with its lively colors and pleasing patterns. Antique Graniteware can range from $50 to $1,000 or more depending on rarity and age.

Although methods for creating the old-fashioned designs differed from firm to firm, the basic steps were the same: An iron or sheet-metal body was dipped in from one to four coats of enamel and fired in a kiln. Many of the swirled and speckled patterns were the product of skilled workers who knew how to create special effects by hand. Early in the 1940s, however, homemakers embraced the modern look of aluminum and glass cookware, so graniteware soon fell out of favor. As American factories closed their doors, many of the manufacturing and design techniques began to fade away.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)