Thursday, November 18, 2010

“The Kitchen Stove Warms More Than Just the Kitchen”

In a time when the kitchen stove was always working hard cooking something for breakfast, lunch, and supper, it didn’t just keep those old kitchens warm! It warmed the hearts of families all across our country as mealtimes were a time to bond, share, and spend time with family. Those traditions are our history and culture. Maybe that is why there is such an appeal for those old kitchen collectibles. It reminds us of simpler times, family, and memories that we carry with us from our childhood days.

People who have never really “collected” antique and vintage items because they thought it was too expensive, might be surprised. You may be interesting in getting started with kitchen collectibles. The prices can start from $3.00, for example, to start say a syrup pitcher collection or even kitchen utensils. You can start out learning and as your collection grows, you can expand on the more unusual syrup pitchers or utensils. I started my own collection of syrup pitchers years ago. When my kids were small, there wasn’t a lot left over for extras so I couldn’t really collect the antiques I desired. I started, though, with the syrup pitchers not only because of the affordability but because of the memories. I always remember my grandma making me pancakes and having what I thought as a kid, syrup in these “fancy glasses with handles”. I still have my syrup collection today but have been able to add nicer pitchers to the collection, some with bakelite handles, others with sterling silver tops.

Another one of my favorite kitchen collections was started because I’ve always loved country primitive furniture. The early butter churns, which were usually three gallon in size and made in the mid 1800’s, remind me daily how hard our families had to work in those days to make something as simple as butter! Maybe that’s why when we see the vintage dresses from the 1800’s they are in such tiny sizes. Those women had to work hard back then! In the early 1900’s, you found butter churns made out of stoneware, some stamped with the Red Wing mark. The same principal was used here, churning these three gallons crocks with a wood handle with both hands. From the early wooden churns, things got a little better when the churns were made from glass and you only had to crank a handle with one hand instead of both hands with a little hip action thrown in! Today those old wooden butter churns and crocks will cost you a bit of change. It is said back in the 1800’s you could purchase these for a couple of dollars according to the old Sears & Roebuck catalogs. Today, you are probably looking more like a couple of hundred dollars depending on the type and condition of the churn. The glass jar churns though, can be purchased from around $80 to $150 depending on the churn, whether the beaters are wood or metal.

Yelloware bowls are another good collection to invest in and fun to collect because there are so many varieties and differing prices to choose from. Between the 1830’s and 1940’s, yelloware was found in most kitchens across America. It was a ceramic made by firing yellow clay that was found in riverbeds in Ohio and the Northeast. The yellow colors vary because of the clay. These bowls were used a lot because back then they didn’t cost much, were pretty sturdy and at the time could even be used on the old kitchen stove, although I wouldn’t advise that today. I use my old yelloware bowls all the time, especially holiday dinners and special occasions. I love the way they look on my harvest table. I don’t advise putting them in the dishwasher though. The price of these bowls can range from a $20 bowl that may be chipped, to $1500 for stacking sets or earlier collections of these bowls.

The thing about collecting, especially kitchen collectibles, is to choose things you like.
You know, collecting is like decorating in my opinion, there are no rules. Surround yourself with what you like, or what brings back memories. Collecting is about what makes us happy, what warms our heart just like the old kitchen stoves that warmed the kitchens, this warmth helps keep our busy daily lives just a little more cozy.

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