What's still useful after 30 years?

zuponcicMarch 10, 2014

Cooking a dinner for guests yesterday, I realized that I was reaching, as usual, for my old carbon steel Sabatier knife, with the tip long ago broken off. It is the only knife in my drawer that is easy to sharpen and I still use it daily--it is, by now, almost 40 years old. I started to think, as I worked, about those things that are still useful after 30 or more years. Magnalite pots, an ancient garlic press, aluminum measuring cups, my kitchen cabinets (!).

What do you reach for, first, in your kitchen that is that old?

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robo (z6a)

Casserole dishes, Le Creuset.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:52AM
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Elraes Miller

My hand can opener, which the adult kids are having a fit over. No clue how old it is.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:58AM
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revereware! I have been picking some up at the thrift stores. I found one made in Rome, NY, and others made in Clinton, IL. The insides were perfect and the outsides just needed a bit of elbow grease to make like new again. Love them!

(My Wustoff Japanese Chef knife has a broken bit out of the handle and I'm still using it. Too expensive to replace for that reason since it still cuts just fine).

Another thing is Corelle. I used old corelle from my grandmother when we first got married, later 'upgraded' to heavier plates, hated them, and went back to corelle. I just got tired of lifting heavy plates in and out of the d/w and not being able to fit very many in a stack in the cabinets and the d/w. Yeah it doesn't look as nice but can't beat the function!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Letang & Remay triplox SS cookware, corningware casseroles, Reed & Barton stainless flatware, Pyrex mixing bowls, Pfaltzgraff dishes (though I keep adding new pieces as long as they're made in USA), and Tupperware measuring cups, cereal containers, sandwich containers, shaker-type mixing pitcher, and cooking utensils (black heat-resistant plastic sold in the 80's - close enough to 30 years old?).

My grandmother's wooden cutting board, Cinderella mixing bowl (though it can't go in microwave b/c of gold design, it's great for mixing bread dough), FireKing casserole (again, no MW or DW), ice cream scoop, egg beater, potato masher, and Pyrex measuring cups.

My great-grandmother's and great-aunt's canning jars, though my canning equipment is newer (except for the old AA pressure canner that I've never used).

The only items (besides new pressure canners) under 25 years old in my kitchen are the Santuko knives, plastic cutting boards, dish cloths/towels, and small appliances. And of course cabinets and major appliances since we just built in 2007.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:16AM
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My grandmother's Farbarware cookware.
My Krup's espresso machine (I think it's one of the 1st made for a homeowner's kitchen)
My iron, altho I realized yesterday it's failing and spitting badly.
My hand can openers, too.
My speckled baking pans
My dad's hammer (that's all he had) and my ex-DH's grandfather's hand tools.
My other grandmother's sewing scissors & pinking sheers, wood thread spools, darning needles,
Now that my mom passed in August, I'll have a lot of baking dishes, furniture, and artwork, but I don't know if that counts

I've gotta go, so I'll think of more. What an interesting question.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:50AM
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- My grandpa's cast iron frying pans.
- Revereware - some from our wedding (27 years ago), some older
- My grandpa's fillet knife (not used often)
- Grandma's toaster (Sunbeam, circa 1953)
- Pyrex baking dishes and measuring cups
- Our flatware and stoneware dishes were wedding gifts, used every day
- I have a rice cooker as old as my sons (19) that we use weekly

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:56AM
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My Ginsu knife. I have one I use in the kitchen & one I use in the garden.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:06AM
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Several mentioned above. But the following immediately came to mind.

- from 37 yrs. ago, a very humble wedding gift. It's a rectangular offset spatula with a wooden handle. The metal on the bottom is slanted and thin enough to slide under almost anything easily to lift. Yet that end is also strong & sharp for cutting things like brownies. One of the long sides has a serrated edge. It's the Swiss Army knife of utensils and I haven't been able to find another just like it.

- my grandmother's yelloware bowl that she used for bread rising. And now, I do the same.

- cookbooks from my mother with tried & true recipes that my own kids now use.

- Le Creuset Dutch oven. A mainstay on my range for decades. And, yippee! It even works on my induction burner.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:20AM
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One of my "new" pressure canners is 18 years old - but it doesn't work too well on my smoothtop range. The other I just bought last year (Presto) and that works better.

I wish I still had my 30-yr old GE toaster oven/microwave. Got rid of it after we got married (25 years ago) b/c it was too small. But I really liked the low profile, can't find anything like it now.

I also have a KitchenAid spatula that's only a few years old, thin metal handle and black plastic blade - that I melted the edge of. Can't find anything with the thin handle now, everything has round handles that take up more room in the gadget crock.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:30AM
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My grandmother's measuring spoons and my grandfather's bottle opener. The whole kitchen is actually from 1926, excepting appliances of course, and the built in Hoosier style cabinet with the work top that slides in and out is amazingly useful.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:19AM
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My cast iron, Pyrex casserole and mixing bowls, and misc Revereware are all more than 30 years old. The CI and RW even get used over open fires on camping trips.

My Corningware French White collection is not quite 30 but looks like new. I imagine it will last just as long. Oh, and wedding gift knives (can't recall the brand) are 27 and still going strong (even tho the marriage ended 15 years ago) ;)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:57AM
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My Kitchenaid mixer - 27+ years old and I CAN'T GET IT TO DIE SO I CAN GET A NEW ONE!!! I use it all the time, have gone through 4 paddles over the years, the thing runs just like new. Kudos to Kitchenaid for making a NON-DISPOSABLE appliance!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:06PM
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For whatever reason all the vintage stuff we still use looks new. As in, just opened the box new. I guess my parents and grandparents took care of things.

GE toaster oven (1969)
Osterizer Galaxie VIII blender (~1966)
Kennmore toaster (late 1950s) but it will need a new cord soon
Handy Hannah iron (mid 1960s)
An absolutely crazy amount of Pyrex and Corningware from the 1960s....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:10PM
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75 year old Kitchenaid A9 coffee grinder. We use it daily and have for the last 8 years. DH thinks it was his Grandmother's.

And my Mom's Revereware pots, cast iron griswold skillet and grill pan. She would always make steaks in that grill pan and when I finally dug it out to clean it up and use it, wow, was that ever an olfactory memory trip, smelling all the good steak and spices in the seasoning of that pan. I could have sworn my Mother was in the next room at that moment!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Osterizer--forgot I still have that and use it. The absolute best can openers were the wall mounted Swingaways, but they are not welcome in our kitchens these days. Every time I make chili, and have to drag the electric one out of the cabinet, I wish I had one.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:15PM
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About 2 weeks before my wedding new neighbors moved in next door. My mother went over to introduce herself and invited them to the wedding. They did not know me but they brought me a small trivet for a wedding gift. It was broken tile in gorgeous colors and framed in walnut. My 50th anniversary is coming up in a few months and I used that darn trivet every day until recently when I passed it down to one of my sons. I really never knew the people because I moved 1000 miles away after the wedding but I have thought of them almost every day for all these years. That trivet has seen a lot of use.

I still use my grandmother's rolling pin and some of her kitchen utensils like slotted spoons.

I gave my son my 45 yr. old KA mixer and that was a big mistake. The new one I bought for myself is junk by comparison.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:43PM
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The first thing that came to my mind is a small little cast iron skillet. My mother gave it to me recently and it had belonged to my grandmother before her and had been passed on to her from her mother. During my lifetime, I have sat in each of these women's kitchens countless times and watched them make a little pone of cornbread in that skillet and now I do the same. It's probably my most prized possession. I love, love, love the bridges that connect us to our past.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:57PM
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My grandmothers cast iron frypan and her revere ware frypan.

Pyrex mixing bowls(Forest Fancies mushroom pattern) and some kitchen cutlery (both from Sears)- those are 40 years old and were the first things I bought when I moved out of my parents home.

I also bought the Spice-of-life Corningware casserole dishes (interestingly they're stamped Made in Canada) at the same time and the smaller cornflower casserole bowls. They are indestructable and are as nice as the day I bought them. All from Sears.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Gah, I hate this thread. It just made me realize my Smythe and Cook stainless pots and pans are 38 years old. I'd prefer to be able to believe that I was 38 years old.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:25PM
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I have a cast iron frying pan that was in my family's camping collection when I was a kid. I have my grandmother's hand mixer, although I pretty much never use it. I have a dress from the 50s that belonged to my mom. I have my mom's old sewing machine she got in the 70s.

The vast majority of my mom's kitchen stuff is that old, but she's still using it. She has a very nice antler-handled carving set that I think was old when she got it. In the shop there is a lathe that was not originally electric--I think it was retrofit with a motor sometime in the 30s.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:58PM
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I have my grandmother's colored glass mixing bowls, and my mother's Magnalite pot used for stews and soups. Also have and use the set of silverware that she bought when I was 13 years old (I am almost 60). Mikasa, I think, too lazy today to get up and look. Oh, and a set of glasses that were collected from Duz detergent in the 1960s, the grey swirl ones: I love the way that they fit in my hand, the juice glasses especially just the right size. I hate the oversize glasses so common today.

Of my own purchases I guess the Li'l Oscar food chopper (at least 20 years, if not more) is the oldest and it is frequently used still. Oh, and my SS measuring cups -- bought in the 70s and still sold today.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Things I bought in the early 70s for my first "grown-up kitchen"

Pyrex glass, two-piece double boiler.
Small, glass Chemex coffee maker.
Lots of white w cornflower blue design Corningware pots.
Sabatier knives.
Gorham Fairfax Sterling (Mom was scandalized that I bought it "for myself", meaning I wasn't engaged or anything.)
Pyrex glass pie plates, mixing bowls, and bakers
Presto pressure cooker pans
(Slightly later) Robocoupe food processor.

Things I acquired in 80s after I got married:
Family-owned cast-iron pans, and Le Creuset as wedding presents. Assorted enormous pressure canners. Early All-clad stuff.

Old Things I have inherited since then: Thingamajig kitchen stirring/scooping/straining/masher tool.
More old cast iron and Mamma's LC (alas, almost entirely unusable due to loss of porcelain inside pots);
1950s pink plastic wall-mounted, bullet-shaped, manual ice crusher - love, love, love it!
A host of my MILs totemic kitchen tools and pots that I get out whenever my husband needs a boost - his Mom's ceramic pie dish never fails to lift his mood.
My grandmothers' potato ricer.
My great-grandmother's hand-carved wooden butter presses from her mother's Mennonite home.
Tons more antique sterling and several sets of dishes that we use daily.
Revereware pots.
Dough troughs and bread mixing bowls from my DH's Vermont family.
My Mother's cast-aluminum bacon grease collecting pot. (A much scoffed-at item during the estate division many years ago. Who knew then that bacon would be back, and so chic and trendy?)


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:02PM
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I bought a 1920s antique pedestal waffle iron on ebay, restored it and it has been used every week for the past 3 years and still works great.

Also have my great grandmothers Arvin waffle maker/griddle from the 30s and it is my husbands go to appliance anytime he cooks.

Lots of Pyrex, Corelle, my grandmothers saladmaster pots and pans from the 60s.

I also inherited my grandmother's silver and her china set which get pulled out for every special occasion.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Yeah, family silver, china, even a few old tools (potato fork and a burlap-bag seeder on a belt, you wear around your waist and crank the handle to broadcast grass seed). Old bushel baskets and wooden crates, even a pickle crock (no lid, and I'm not sure of the glaze, but I set a food-grade bucket inside). But I thought the question was kitchen stuff you use on a regular basis?

I still have 1 RW frying pan we use on the side burner of the grill - the handles fell off the rest of my set, my parents gave me their old stainless.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Most everything. I have very little new except for two sets of dishes, a few knives, 2 Microplane graters and a few pots.

Everything is good quality, well cared for and hence still functional including all baking & roasting equipment, small electrics (blender, cuisinart, kitchen aid are all 70s-80s & original). I would never give up my heavy rolled steel baking sheet with angled sides or the original rolling pin I bought at Dehillerin in 1972. I've still got the nylon drum strainer (tamis) in case I ever feel like making quenelles again and the deep dish Chicago pizza pan from, like, 1976.

Only newer things are 3 pans for radiant cooktop, the Breville grille & Nespresso machine (superb purchased pre-shopped here) and a toaster.

Love me my old stuff.

Currently, however, I am "heirlooming" early and recommend it. Have given DD2 silver, 4 sets of china, having the French copper retinned for her, a dozen linen napkins and another dozen on the way.

I'm glad to have the space and to see them enjoy using things that I love and always used. Anyone who's lost a parent knows about the awful job of clearing out and dividing up. Not going to do that to them. It's a great feeling to give it up now and it's wonderful to see and enjoy the appreciation.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Too true, Rococogurl! I wish that I knew what had happened to my mother's long wooden pestle and conical strainer, that she used for making applesauce. I would have loved to have them but I bet that she assumed that no one would want them and threw them out.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:05PM
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I totally forgot about my trusty blender, an Osterizer. Like BBDF and her KA mixer, I can't get it to die. I even went on a 30 day green smoothie stint hoping to finally kill it so that I could buy a Vitamix. Nope, nothing is going to kill Old Mr. Oster. He held up beautifully and I have a newfound respect for him.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:18PM
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I have a set of 40 year old Lustre Craft stainless steel pots and pans. I love them. I also have a set of Calphalon that I got for free (I could never spend $400 on pots and pans LOL) but now that my parents are both gone, the Lustre Craft set is mine. I use those over the Calphalon every single time! I also have my moms Sunbeam mixer. It's also around 40 years old and has glass bowls and I love that too!

I remember about 12 years ago, my aunt had to go in a nursing home. She never cooked at home and used her stove for storage. I was so excited because we found a brand new GE can opener that we had given her for Christmas back in the 70's. I snatched that up. But sadly, my DH broke it. I was so mad. I didn't care that it was avocado! LOL

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Magnalite and Club Aluminum pots for pot roasts, stews, spaghetti sauces...allows you to cook for hours with no loss of liquids. Used by my mom and me..they are over 50 and 60 years old and still going strong.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:32PM
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What a fun thread.
My GMs rolling pin - it is heavy and works great - never got used the the roller bearing style rolling pin as harder to control the pressure.
Mom's Corning casserole dishes - Just couldn't get rid of them and they work best for making yogurt (not currently making any but keeps the temp stable)
Last item - the cookie cutters - I know the new ones are nice but I have the older ones from my mom (and maybe from GM)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:48PM
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I don't use all this on a regular basis since I am only cooking for one (myself);
Grandma's wood rolling pin, depression glass berry bowls (2), wood handle potato masher

Mom - two hand-painted china plates with an Oriental design - my Dad bought them for my mom as her graduation present (how totally unromantic!); my daughter has and uses Mom's Revere pots

from first wedding (1958) Regal sauce pan, my daughters have my sterling, and one daughter has the china.

From second wedding (1969) a few pieces of everyday stainless (a bamboo design) and every day dinnerware, Blue Nordic ironstone.

When I downsized my home in 2011 I gave both daughters and the 4 grand-kids a bunch of stuff since I had resigned from Holiday Chef for the family.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:09PM
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I bought a few new pieces of cookware for my new kitchen. I was thinking of getting rid of my 37y/o RevereWare. Rethinking that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:28PM
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This is a fun trip down memory lane.

- avocado green crockpot
- avocado green mixing bowl set

Both circa 1970s

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:34AM
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If we get to put in other tools we use I'll add a scythe from the mid-late 1800s that most likely dates to great great grandparents. It's still sharp and works great. There's also a sickle but it's newer, maybe only 50-70 years old.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:49AM
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1964 (It turns 50 in a couple months) Frigidaire Flair Custom Imperial - Double oven range with pull out stove. Sure it eats electricity but it is too good (and way too cool) to replace.

Corning-ware casseroles,
Pyrex Mixing bowls
Tupperware everything (but most of the stuff purchased in the early '80s has now been replaced since their warranty is pretty much forever)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:01AM
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Well, this was fun to read: I think I realize why we all want to remodel our kitchens--we can't find any pots, pans, utensils or appliances to replace! I see that the brands that keep coming up are Revereware, Magnalite, Osterizers, Pyrex, and, of course, cast iron. Well-made things well-taken-care-of......

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:49PM
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My husband. Well, 28 years of marriage and 2 years of dating. : )

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Passed down from my mother - her fireking, misc. Pyrex bowls and measuring cups. Assorted fiesta dishes and small hand baking utensils also.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:36PM
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KitchenAid stand mixer from the 1960s which was passed down from my mother.

My grandfather's wooden rolling pin which he used in his Italian pastry shop in Brooklyn (1930-1960)..

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:48PM
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My grandmother's cast iron skillet. My Nana's electric wok (I use it at least once a month and it's as old as I am). A copper double boiler (part of a set of pots) and a paella pan that my mother bought when we lived in Spain in the early 70's).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:00PM
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My grandmother's wooden cooking spoons. (She died in 1953.) My mom's yellow pyrex bowl from the 1950's. It's the largest one from what I call the "I Love Lucy" set. My mom didn't have the complete set (in the picture of the I Love Lucy kitchen, next to the mixer and on top of the fridge). Pyrex kept the shape but redid the colors in the 1960's.

Here is a link that might be useful: set often available on ebay!

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 22:30

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:26PM
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I frequently use my mother's SS Presto "cup a minute" coffeemaker, circa 1962.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:37PM
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I almost spit wine on my monitor.
Darn you! What a waste of wine.

DH 28 years! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:11PM
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LOL gr8day! Coming up on 31 years of marriage to a wife who doesn't cook, I'm thinking she would also say "my husband" ;) .... as far as cookware, 100 year old Griswold and Wagner cast iron, 50 year old Revere Ware, and the ol' trusty Osterizer blender wedding present from 1983...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:37PM
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ctycdm - I had an Osterizer mixer that we received as a wedding gift in 1983. It finally died 2 years ago. My new KA mixer can't compare - except that it does work but I miss the beast.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:04AM
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I am still using my mom's 1960 revereware. It has outlasted the set I received in 1986. Had her Mixmaster until just a few years ago when it started smoking when I was mixing cookie dough. Also had her oster blender from 1960. Still using a beautiful avocado green crock pot and the newer one I bought already died. I know my mom still has many 1960's pyrex pieces.
My grandpa had given me a set of used cast iron fry pans when I first got married and because I didn't know how to cook with them I gave them to my future brother in law. (He was and still is a much better cook than I. ) I now wish I had that set.
Outside the kitchen I have the oster electric trimmer that my dad used to give my brother a crew cut with every summer. I can still see my brother sitting in the doorway of the garage with tears in his eyes while my dad cut his hair. It was the 70's he didn't want a crew cut. My dad gave my boys crew cuts until his hands got too shaky. They loved that their grandpa gave them haircuts each summer.
Great thread-thanks for the memories.
Oh I have one of those 30 year husbands, too!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:09AM
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Great thread!
Corning Ware and Pyrex dishes (why did they stop making the good ones?)
Still have and use the first rolling pin we bought together after we got married and our Oneida flatware (Louisiana) that we use everyday.
Gerber carving set & steak knives
Cake pans with the thingie that moves around bottom to release the cake.

My grandmother had a cake cover made out of aluminum with a slick moveable catch on the bottom to lock it shut - I was so happy to get it when she passed away almost 40 years ago. So it must be close to 75 or 80 yrs old ?? because she had it for as long as I can remember and long before that. Her name is still written on it with her handwriting.

My mom still has her 60 yr old KitchenAid mixer and uses it!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:37AM
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The I Love Lucy kitchen reminded me, we still have a couple of percolators that are going strong. The Rival one has 1970s looking sunflowers on it and the other is an awesome mod style red/clear glass one that I need a cord for. Dunno who made it, I'm not home at the moment.

I'd really like a vintage Saladmaster to go with our kitchen since it's useful and age appropriate for our place. Those seem easy enough to come by on ebay at least.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:45AM
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Speaking of pyrex and coffee (sort of :-) anyone have an original vacuum pot? These were really popular post-WWII up to the 1960's. There were also metal ones and electrics. Pretty much the only common way to make infused coffee before the popularity of Mr. Coffee filters. My aunt had one and I liked to watch it in action. Unfortunately, she broke it and didn't replace it. I bought a (new) Yama model for myself. It works but doesn't have the looks!

For you youngins who've never even heard of such a thing, check out the 2 minute video linked to below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vacuum coffee pot in action

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 9:25

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:18AM
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A Black & Decker Spacemaker coffee maker, used daily for 30+ years. Also three of the four fluorescent tubes in the kitchen ceiling are almost 30 years old and used daily.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:33AM
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Anything Pyrex, but especially my Pyrex 2-cup measuring cup with all the writing almost worn off. Much heavier than current versions.

Sunbeam Mixmaster with the juicer attachment. Get it from my mom. Just had it rewired.

Chicago knives.

Japanese cleaver. Dad got it in Japan in 1951 for $2.00 -- a lot of money in Japan at the time. No idea who made it. Its marked on the side of the blade, but I don't read Japanese. Sharp as a razor and an excellent replacement for a French chef's knife. Steel (not stainless), but never rusts. Go figure.

Chinese wok from Hong Kong circa 1968 with bamboo steaming baskets (somewhat worse for wear) and bamboo cover..

Trend Pacific Bauhaus stoneware, one cup handle broken after 30 years of near daily use.

Copco pans, the old kind with enamel over cast iron. Missing one lid.

Corningware, cornflower pattern from the '60s, I think.

Church key P-38 can opener, original Marine issue, 1966. Still the best can opener. Still sharp enough to wound the unwary. My wife hates it, but I can open any can faster than her electric can opener, and since it's on my key chain, it never gets lost.

1948 Waring blender - two speeds, slow and jet assisted take off.

Revere muffin tins, my Grandmother's, I think.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:50PM
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