Vintage Kitchen Tools Appeal to Collectors

Rolling pins, cookie cutters, sifters, wooden spoons, grinders, peelers and all kinds of vintage gadgets delight collectors of kitchen tools.

I first learned about the value of antique kitchen tools from my mother, who educated me on the superiority of antique rolling pins. I remember her explaining to me that the old ones were usually one piece of wood, hand crafted from a quality wood. She owned several so I could get a first hand look at just what she meant.

I’ve had my antique rolling pin handy in my kitchen for many years now and enjoy the feel of the solid wooden tool with the aged patina and smooth well-used grips. I use it often, and I made sure I found an antique rolling pin for each of my daughters.

Wooden spoons are also great for cooking and stirring and offer the same solid feel and easy to maintain advantages. I have several antique ones that only get better with age.

Even something as simple as measuring spoons were constructed better several generations back.

Durable kitchen tools are a not just a plus for cooking, they are fashionable in today’s kitchens and can make for an interesting decorative statement when contrasted with modern kitchen conveniences.

Many collectors get started with one type of kitchen gadget, such as rolling pins, and are captured by the variety of kitchen gadgets and expand into more. Rolling pins are surprisingly plentiful, with a variety of sizes made for different types of dough.

Auctions and estate sales are a great way to find kitchen collectibles. Kitchen items are often boxed up and sold as a group so it’s easy to end up with surprises that expand your collection without really trying.

Linens, tablecloths and aprons are another kitchen item that have grown in popularity recently. Today’s manufacturers are reproducing many vintage designs, and lots of young women are making aprons in cute designs with fancy trims. I’ve seen loads of examples on Facebook and Pinterest.

A great reference book is “300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles” by Linda Campbell Franklin, published by Krause Publications. Collectors will love the 7,000 antique items that dice, measure, filter or whir in the kitchen, arranged by function from preparation and cooking to housekeeping and gardening.

Franklin also includes classic recipes, helpful hints, and kitchen trivia from 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century trade catalogues and advertisements. Her book includes pricing, information on collecting, buying and selling on the Internet, and more than 1,600 photographs and illustrations. There are several editions available, and I found them on Amazon.

If you like kitchen treasures, plan on attending next Saturday’s Secret Kitchens of Wheeling Tour and Gourmet Market at the Mansion Museum. As an antique lover, you’ll feel good about supporting the Museums of Oglebay Institute, plus you’ll get a close look at some amazing kitchens right here in Wheeling. I’ve already had a peek so I guarantee that there’s something for everyone!

The locations of the showplace kitchens are revealed with a detailed map on tour day providing descriptions and addresses of the homes.

Plus, the Gourmet Market includes artisan booths selling kitchen accessories, plants and herbs, cookbooks, pottery, candles, artwork, gourmet foods, spices, cookware and cutlery!

So plan to visit the Mansion on June 13, between the hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and pick up your map to visit the secret kitchens, then shop the market and have a great adventure. The Gourmet Market is open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and guests are welcome to shop the market even without taking the official tour.

For more information or to buy a tour ticket early (discount!), call the museum at 304-242-7272.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at: zambito maureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.