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From Mama's Kitchen: February 2007
From Mama's Kitchen
TIAS.com presents:

From Mama's Kitchen

From Mama's Kitchen - kitchen collectibles Newsletter
...for those who savor the look and flavors of yesterday's kitchen...

February 2007

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 1. Welcome! Mama's Kitchen is a free newsletter about kitchen collectibles. This newsletter is designed to be entertaining and educational, but also a dialogue among those who have a fondness for kitchen items of all kinds. I hope you'll join us for a few memories, giggles, laughs and some useful information about kitchen collectibles. I am not an expert in any field, but I have been buying and selling kitchen items for over 9 years and loving them for a lifetime. Remember collecting anything should be fun. This is especially true when you can use your collection on a daily basis. Please let me know if there is a particular item you would like featured in upcoming issues.

2. Kitchen Trivia
I have always loved Py/Miyao products but until recently knew little about the company. I thought I would share a few of my most recently learned facts about the history of this wonderful company and it's products. All of these great facts can be found in the book, "Py/Miyao Fun Kitchen Collectibles," Hobby House Press, 2003, by Belinda Evans.
  • Py/Miyao pottery manufacturing began in 1931, but it was not introduced to Americans until after W.W.II.
  • Py marked pottery came from Yokkaichi City, Japan. Another familiar mark on this pottery is "Miyao". Py pottery did come from a company named Miyao. From 1949 until 1961, Miyawo Company Limited under the name Miyao produced all of these high quality PY novelties for American distributing companies.
  • After the war, American military forces occupied Japan to assist with the reparationDuring this occupation, the Py trademark was exclusively given to the Miyawo Company by the general headquarters of the American military force.
  • Py pottery was made from earthenware, which is soft clay and is known to chip rather easily, it is common to find minor nicks on items.
  • most Py/Miyao pottery was intended for use in the kitchen. Because they are made from soft clay, I would not recommend washing them in a dishwasher when washing any ceramic items, remember to keep water lukewarm. Drastic temperature changes in pottery can cause cracks.
  • the F. W. Woolworth Company was one of it's primary customers selling Veggie Face Gardeners and pretty flower girl faces.
  • In 1949, UCAGO was the second oldest and one of the largest customers. In the 1950's an original design of dinnerware that represented Italian Provincial Lifestyles was createdan enduring design of a rooster and vibrant pink roses overflowing with green vines...it was named Early Provincial: This was the beginning of what is known as Rooster and Roses.UCAGO also distributed the "Oh My, A Fly!" Chef line, and Veggie Kids.
  • Lefton distributed Boy & Girl Wall Pockets, Dainty Miss, Friends & Toodle Too, Bluebird & Feathery Friends, A Bee Line To Roses, Christmas Tree & Holly...
  • Miyawao Co. product lines for Geo. Borgfeldt & Co. include anthropomorphic and Gay 90 tableware and Great American Character jugs: Apple Faces, Pear Faces, Lemon Faces and other Fruit Faces.  Other distributed lines: Office People, Household People,
  • Cabbage Rose. Gay 90 Lady & Gentleman and the American Character jugs which included Robert E. Lee, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Captain Ahab, and Ichabod Crane...
  • the Miyawo company made many , many novelties for Enesco for eight or nine years. They are hard to distinguish because Enesco didn't allow any trademarks by the manufacturer besides the word "Japan."  The Lil Bear line is one that has been identified Napco distributed Mushroom Faces.
  • In the 1960's, the Miyawo Company produced for Mikasa producing dinnerware the Cerastone Line, French countryside, Ribbon Holly, Mexicana, Silk Flowers

3. A Recipe From Days Gone By

Recipe for:


One pound of sifted Sugar, one pound of Butter, eight Eggs, one pound and a quarter of Flour, two ounces of Currants, and half a nutmeg grated. Cream the butter as in Twelfth Cake (put the butter in a stew pan in a warm place, and work it into a smooth cream with the hand), mix it well with the sugar and spice, then put in half the eggs, and beat it ten minutes. Add the remainder of the eggs and work it ten minutes longer. Stir in the flour lightly and the currants afterwards, then take some small tin pans of any shape ( hearts the most usual) rub the inside of each with butter, fill and bake them a few minutes in a hot oven, on a sheet of matted wire or on a baking plate. When done, remove them as early as possible from the pans.

William Kitchiner, "The Cooks Oracle," London 1827.

4. What is it?

Double Handle Jar WrenchDouble-Gripper Jar Wrench

I have only seen these in pictures before and this is the first one I have ever found. It's heavy as the dickens but it does work and works very well.

The bottom wrench is made to hold the jar tightly while the top wrench pivots and opens the lid. It can be found in Linda Franklin's book, "300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles" on page 780. Book value is somewhere between $25.00-$65.00. 

We heard back the following on last months query about the Blue Bowl:

Hi, just wanted to drop you a quick note. Oxfordware WAS Universal Potteries, it was a line they put out.  They did a lot of different color schemes, solids and decals.  From what I understand, most of these wares were manufactured for and sold by Sears Roebuck.  Check out www.ohioriverpottery.com, on the "dinnerware shapes" page.

Do you have an odd piece of kitchenalia that you'd care to share or ask others to help you identify? Just e-mail a picture and your thoughts to mamas@tias.com and we'll post it and any responses here.

5. Collectible of the Month

Open Wide - Can and Jar Openers

What would we do without openers? How many of us have stood at a kitchen counters banging on a lid with the end of a knife trying to loosen the thing? Can you get an electric can opener to work? I can't and I still use a manual one. I'll have to rob my own stock if it ever breaks. The first one is a green and cream can opener made by A&J. They were the best thing around in the 1940s and still work great. Book value is somewhere around $10- $15. The second is a Wizard jar opener and I think every kitchen in America probably had one of these or some form of it. Book value is around $6-$8.

1940's Can Opener Wizard Jar Opener

The third is an Arcadia jar opener which was made in Arcadia, Wisconsin and I haven't seen too many of these. I couldn't find anything similar in any books so I would estimate the value at $6-$10. The last is one of my favorites. It's a Punch N Cover for cans of evaporated milk. Not only did it open them, it helped keep the milk fresh. Book Value is $12-$15. Of course all these values depend on condition and market value at the time you either buy or sell it.

Arcadia Metal Jar Opener Punch N Cover

6. Mama's Kitchen Stories

The only time I remember sitting in our living room was when we watched Television and before that it was listening to the radio. It wasn't a place for doing homework or talking. It was never used for games or putting together puzzles. If I wanted to have a serious conversation with my mama or grandma, they would get up and say "Let's go into the kitchen".

Our kitchen was like the boardroom of a company and a confessional of a church. All of the big decisions were made there with my mama at the head of the table. Every argument I had with my mama was at the kitchen table. Every board or card game I played with my brothers was at the kitchen table. Practically every lesson I learned in my growing years took place at that table. There was no room in our house that was treated with more respect. I think that was one of the reasons my mama cared more about how her kitchen looked than any room in the house. I have to say I feel the same way. There's something about a kitchen that both anchors us and brings us together in a way no other room can.

I still see my mama sitting at that table every day and I often talk over things with her or have a good cry. My dog probably thinks I'm crazy, but I know she can still hear me and she always guides me to the right answer.

Do you have a kitchen memory to share. Please send it to Mama at mamas@tias.com

7. Tip of the Month 

To avoid stains in your plastic containers, spray with non stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces.

Patricia wrote:

The following might come in handy where you've previously suggested using the sharp point of a steak knife to get old grease out of crevices (Tips - April 2006).
I've found that the easiest way to get grease off any glass bakeware, including out of the crevices, is a product called "Corningware Cleaner". It's not hard to find and is sold in hardware stores, big box stores, and major department stores. Although it's similar to toothpaste in consistency, it does a much better job for this purpose. It even removed what appeared to be YEARS of baked-on grease from items I found at garage sales or second-hand stores!
I must include one warning. Since it does such a wonderful job, I decided to use it to clean grease around the burner rings on my stove top. Oh, oh! The porcelain finish scratches much more easily than glass, and it didn't even take much scrubbing for the scratches to show up. Even worse, I thought I'd do the ENTIRE stove top; since it was after supper and the light was rather poor, I didn't discover until the next morning that I'd done a real number on the finish. Don't repeat my mistake - but don't avoid a great product because of it either!

Have you got a great kitchen tip or question, please send it along to mamas@tias.com

8. What's New at Mama's Treasures 

Starting this month, this newsletter will be coming on a bi-monthly basis. The next edition will be in April. I'm a one woman operation and there are only so many hours in the day for me to keep up with four stores, grandchildren, a dog and a husband who's favorite words are "What's for dinner?" I would like to keep doing it on a monthly basis but I have to recognize my limitations as I grow older and I find myself yearning for naps instead of jewelry.

As of January 10th most of the items from the Half Price Table category were moved to the Bargain Shack. This store will be operated as a clearance market for all her sale and reduced price items from Mama's Treasures. Yes, you can still make offers and even though the prices are reduced, there will always be opportunities for additional discounts. Mama's Bargain Shack can be found on www.Earthling.com just by hitting the link at the top of the main page. This store will focus on newer gift items as well as collectibles. She will be including vintage items that can be used in crafts and creating unique gifts. Many items such as vintage postcards are now sought after for crafts such as scrapbooking or decoupage. The same can be said for old buttons and even kitchen items. There will also be Vintage Collectibles for your home, a line of handmade Soaps and Lotions, crafted Christmas Ornaments, Tools, China, Pottery, Magazine Ads, Cookbooks, Signs & Plaques, Kitchen Items, Jewelry, Candles, Fountains, Wind Chimes and much more to come over the next few weeks.

Inventory in this store is still being added and this will continue for quite some time. The New Year means spring and these items will be arriving throughout the months of January and February. Her goal is to keep prices as low as possible and have frequent sales so the savings can be passed on to the consumer. Mama's Bargain Shack is located at www.tias.com/stores/bargainshack She invites you to drop by and browse, shop if you care to, and remember she loves to get offers. So come on by and see the new place, Mama's Bargain Shack, the shop where Bargain means Bargain!

Joining my mailing list at Mama's Treasures also makes you eligible for promotional coupons and advance notice of sales. New items added include 1940s & 50s Cookbooks, Aprons, Vintage Valentines, Handpainted and Colored Vases, a West Bend Coppertone S&P NIB, New Cameras, Lefton Tomato S&P set, a Foley Rolling Cutter, Vintage Darners, Sewing Books, Aluminum Freezer Containers, Crown Colony, Ann Page and Standby Spice Tins, Wax Paper Dispenser, Tipp City S&P on Holder, Shawnee Pot N Saucers, Pyrex & Fire King Measuring Cups, Vintage Garden Tools, Xmas Cardboard Houses, Nativity Sheep, Butter Crocks, Costume Jewelry, an England Skyline Red Utensil Set NIB, a Pyrex Two Tone Yellow Chip N Dip NIB, Hazel Atlas Dutch Skaters Salt & Pepper Shakers, Federal Refrigerator Dishes with Original Labels, Federal Yellow Dot & Orange Dot Bowls, New Kitchen Gadgets, an Anchor Hocking Water Jar, Aluminum & Stainless Refrigerator Boxes, Pyrex Striped Bowls, Hazel Atlas Red Stripe & Strawberry Bowls, Pyrex Pink Butterprint Casserole, Vintage Figural Salt & Pepper Shakers, Vintage Half and Bib Aprons, Crocheted Doilies, 50s &60s Magazine Ads, Kromex Spice Sets, Pyrex Flameware Coffeepots and Double Boilers. Drop by and visit  me at http://www.tias.com/stores/mamas  I love to chat, answer questions and I always consider reasonable offers.

9. Helpful Resources 

  1. What's it worth? Try Kovels' free online price guide to over 300,000 antiques and collectibles. It can be found online at http://www.kovels.com
  2. Looking for prices for antiques and collectibles?
    PriceMiner.com has millions of them. Most items listed include color photos as well. Sign up today at: http://tinyurl.com/c6oqc (Not affiliated with Kovels.com)
  3. Get an online appraisal for just $9.95 from "What's It Worth To You?" http://whatsitworthtoyou.com/tias.htm (Not affiliated with Kovels.com)
  4. The Latest News regarding Antiques & Collectibles Take a look at http://www.news-antique.com

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