Enamelware Then & Now…Not Your Grandmother’s Dishes

Vintage enamelware bowl.

Enamelware has been a mainstay of kitchen cookery and dishes since the 1800s, but don’t let that fact make you dismiss it as something only from Little House on the Prairie. Many of the same properties that popularized enamelware for early homesteaders still make it a viable choice for your kitchen. Modern advances have even improved it and there are more color and pattern choices than ever.

For those who don’t know, enameling is the process of fusing glass to metal, and enamelware are dishes that are made from enameled steel (as well as iron). The process creates a finish that is smooth, durable, chemically-resistant and colors that don’t fade with age.

Enamelware got its start in the 1800s as a way to reduce the chemical reaction of cooking directly in iron pots. In addition, it was lighter-weight than other options and after it started to be mass-produced, it was also a more affordable option. Later on, bright colors and patterns added to the mass appeal.

Vintage pieces are a hot collector’s item, and some of the later pieces can even still be used for food service, but care should be taken that they aren’t rusted or chipped.

Many of the same reasons folks had for using enamel dishes in the past still apply today. Choose enamelware dishes to add color, durability and functionality to your kitchen. With modern advances, today’s enamelware can even be shatter-proof. The only downside for today’s kitchens is enamel dishes are not microwavable.

 5 Modern Examples of Enamelware Dishes

Faclon enamelware bake set.

Image: Falcon Enamelware

Choose this red vintage-style bake set from Falcon Enamelware, a British company that has been selling enamelware since the 1920s, for the best of both worlds–modern manufacturing but with that vintage appeal.

White enamelware dishes.

Image: West Elm

And  for a less colorful option, this West Elm enamelware dinnerware set fits the bill. It features a dinner plate, salad plate, tumbler style mug and bowl and would be perfect for your next “Boardwalk Empire” themed party!

Patterned enamelware dish collection.

Image: Golden Rabbit

For those who want something more modern and with a pattern, consider this dinnerware set at Golden Rabbit and featuring the Ashbury pattern by Laura Fair.

Enamelware teapot.

Image: Mackenzie-Childs

Mackenzie-Childs offers some French country style with their Aurora line of enamel tea kettles, cake dishes, trays, serving dishes and more.

Enamelware popcorn bowl.

Image: Crow Canyon

Finally, this bright and fun popcorn bowl from Crow Canyon would make a great enamelware piece to add to your home. Popcorn, anyone?!

Top Image: FireLake

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.