East Texas Kitchen Care: Caring for and cleaning vintage bowls

ETX Kitchen Care: Cleaning and caring for vintage bowls
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:30 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:32 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Most people have seen vintage, or antique, yellow ware bowls, either in a relative’s home or a shop somewhere, if they don’t own it themselves. Why do so many of us have it, and how can we best take care of it?

Well, yellow ware was used extensively in the late 18th century in the United Kingdom, and then as some of those people came to the United States, they brought the skills to make those wares with them. Those who settled in the northeastern states, especially, had ample yellow-hued clay to use in making bowls, pitchers, and many other earthenware pieces. That’s how the pottery got the name “yellow ware,” from the yellow clay. If the maker used a clear glaze, the bowl retained its yellow color, but some bowls were glazed with blue, green or brown glaze, so they didn’t appear yellow, though they were still called yellow ware.

According to cincymuseum.org, East Liverpool, Ohio was the largest manufacturer of American yellow ware. Cincinnati was also a major center of production. It was also commonly made in New Jersey and Maryland. As people purchased pieces of it, and then moved around the country, the popularity of the beautiful earthenware spread.

The banding on yellow ware bowls could indicate about when it was made, according to the website adirondackgirlatheart.com.

She says a brown band or white band indicates mid-1800s to 1900. Blue and brown bands indicate mid 1800s through the 1920s, and pink or mauve bands indicate the bowls were made in the 20th century.

Bowls with a square base are unique to McCoy pottery, she adds, which I thought was interesting. as I have a few of those. McCoy is very collectible to this day.

Now that we’ve learned some details about yellow ware, let’s learn how to care for it. I have seen some websites say that yellow ware is microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe. I think brand new yellow ware might be, but I would never use my old pieces this way.

First of all, the old pieces tend to have, at the very least, small cracks in the glaze through which water can seep. What happens to clay when water soaks in to it? It turns dark, right? I have several examples to show you in this video of this happening.

Secondly, If you’re using old yellow ware in the oven, it means you’re eating out of it, which is not recommended. Antique yellow ware has glaze on it that often contained lead. It is not safe to use for wet foods or food storage. If you want to cook and eat from yellow ware, make sure to get some brand new pieces that are made for that, and you’ll be safe. Use your old pieces for decor or serving things like rolls, etc., from.

When you are ready to clean it up, do not soak your yellow ware in water to clean it. Dip it quickly in hot, soapy water, and then wipe out with a wet rag, then dry. Any cracks will allow water to soak into the piece, thus discoloring it permanently, if you leave it soaking. This also weakens the piece, as you’ll see in my demonstration video.

I hope you enjoy watching this and learning with me. Feel free to send any questions or tips to mamasteph@kltv.com, or comment on my Facebook page by clicking here.