Collectible Enamel Cookware Made in Moundsville
Antique enthusiasts are the nicest people! At least, that’s what I think, since over the years, many readers of my column have been pleased to share a treasure with me. That’s one way that I discover new collectibles and interesting facts about our region.
Just last week, I received a few images of collectibles from Wheeling resident Elizabeth Lane. The items shown in the column are vintage cookware, made in Moundsville by the U.S. Stamping Company that she has owned for many years.
These vintage treasures were actually a wedding gift and she never used them so they’re in like-new condition. These vintage treasures include a white enamel tea pot and lidded casserole with colorful kitchen images that remind me a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch designs.
I had never heard of the U.S. Stamping Company and googled to see what reliable information might be easily available.
Well, according to Robert Schramm, deceased local historian and former professor at West Liberty University, “the U.S. Stamping Company was incorporated in 1901 and began operations the following year.” (See “Moundsville” a 2004 book by Schramm published by Arcadia.)
Photos and postcards of the company in the book by Schramm, show a busy place, employing 300 workers by 1907. At first, the company produced only simple cooking utensils but, before long, it became known for its beautifully designed and decorated enamelware.
Sometime after World War II, the Savoury Company assumed ownership of the Stamping Company and expanded production into refrigerator and stove enamel products. The company ceased production in 1977 due to foreign competition, Schramm states.
Of course, the Moundsville-Glen Dale region had several big name manufacturers over the years in addition to U.S. Stamping such as the Fostoria Glass Company and the Marx Toy Company. Many of the employees were town residents so there is no doubt there are examples of this fine cookware in local estate sales and antique shops.
I’ve always cooked with enamelware, though mine is not vintage but contemporary and made by German manufacturer Chantal. I remember my mother telling me when I was young that enamelware is very healthy cookware so I stuck with it. That and my iron skillets.
I also remember my mom having some brightly decorated enamel cookware herself in the 1960-’70s, and I bet it was from this Moundsville manufacturer.
Collectors enjoy vintage enamel cookware because of its clean look, vintage design and quality. I noticed many examples on eBay at various prices. There also are examples of actual company catalogs available on the web which would be interesting to a real collector that is seeking to complete a collection intelligently.
Some fans of vintage also use these colorful enamel cookware examples for flower pots or household bins for storing things.
Antiques and vintage collectibles are a great way to add character to your home and a great way to make friends, like my new friend Elizabeth, who enjoy sharing stories about the past.
For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing in care of this newspaper.