Monthly Archives: October 2012

Stainless Steel & Copper-Cookware Revolutionized

The Revere Company spent years making cookware from the late 1880’s, but during the 1930’s tried to come up with something lighter than the heavy cast iron that was the main source of every day cookware.  Restaurants and people with a lot of money used copper pans with tin lining, but it was expensive to re-tin.  Tin is a very soft metal, almost as soft as aluminum, and a lining was just that, a thin layer inside the copper.

Revere was the first to decide that stainless steel was the overall best material for a cooking surface, and spent over two years developing new production techniques.  Finally they patented a stainless steel cooking surface, with an electroplated copper clad bottom for better heat distribution, and added Bakelite handles.   They applied for the patent in 1938, and introduced “Revere Ware” as we know it today in 1939.

Revere never changed their product materials, although as years went by they used both thinner copper and stainless in their cookware.   When their heavy solid copper/stainless cookware came out in 1967 (which includes the Bicentennial edition in 1976, and signature collection after that), they changed the process a bit.  Rather than simply electro-plating the copper onto the stainless steel, they used two equal sheets of each and pressure bonded them together.

Stainless steel and copper have been the foundation for the growth of the Revere Ware company and much of the history of the evolution of cookware in the 20th century, and Revere Ware proudly displayed their choice of materials on logos, boxes and labels as long as they made them here in the USA.


Revere Ware Tri-Ply Disc Bottom Cookware

In 1986, with the advent of the “smooth cook tops”,  Revere introduced their new Aluminum Bottom Cookware, which we know as the “Tri-Ply” or “Disc-Bottom”. 

The best metals for conducting (transmitting) energy are, in this order, silver, copper, and aluminum.  That is why electrical contacts are silver and copper, and also why wire is copper or aluminum.  No one can afford silver electrical wire, I guess, although there are many small electrical components in computers that use silver to make the contact.  As with wire, silver was not an affordable option for cookware, and I suppose it may even conduct a little too well for cooking.  Meanwhile, copper was and still is the excellent affordable choice for rapid disbursement of energy, whether it be electricity or heat.  Aluminum is the next choice, so for direct contact on a smooth top stove, the aluminum disc on the bottom of the stainless steel pan was the logical option.  This line continued to be produced in the USA from 1986 until the late 90’s, when all production was moved out of the country.  I believe it still continued with “China” production, but I am not sure if it still is manufactured there.   I have lost both the trail and the interest for Revere Ware overseas production, and just concentrate on what was made in the USA.

Revere Ware From 1978 – 1999

Revere did not change their logo much, once they dropped the “Process Patent” Double Circle logo in 1968, and started using the 1801 profile, and added the pot/pan size.  The one change of much significance is that in 1978 they started adding the year of manufacture.  As seen in this photo, -78 is placed beside the size.  This continued until the 90’s, when they started adding letters after the year.  I’ve read that the letters might represent the month of manufacture, but I can not find any evidence to substantiate this, nor does it seem likely.  A year of manufacture is common with almost all items produced anywhere, but rarely is there a need for the month.  Many items are produced as an assembly, so it is likely their production times span over more than one month. 

If anyone has any more information on these letters added to the 1990-99 years of manufacture for Revere Ware, please comment and let me know.

Revere Ware Process Patent Double Circle Logo Cookware

Revere had been producing cookware for years, and came up with their method of producing a stainless/copper combination along with a plastic (bakelite) handle during these years, but applied for the patent for it and decided to use this logo.  It was stamped on the bottom of their cookware for almost 20 years.  In 1968, they changed their process to use a thinner stainless steel, and also a thinner electroplated copper bottom.  Copper prices, along with all metal prices were rising and it was a way to cut costs.  The reduction of both stainless steel and copper continued throughout the decades.  (More on that in future posts.)

Revere also changed their logo in 1968.  They simply removed the double circle, the “copper clad” writing inside the circle, and the patent information below the circle, leaving the 1801, the profile, an “Revere Ware”.  They continued with this logo with a few minor changes through the late 1990’s, when production within the USA shut down permanently.   You can still buy Revere Ware, which is now owned by Corning, (AKA World Kitchens), but it is stamped “China” or “Indonesia”, and one variation (Pro Line) was made in Thailand for a while.   The “good old pans” were and still are MUCH heavier and better than what you can buy today at Wal-Mart.

Some Info About Paul Revere Ware

This blog is to add information on various Revere Ware that ordinarily I would not include in the information when I am selling them.  Some people don’t want to read all that

Paul Revere collection set

extra stuff, but if you do, I’ll share some things I think I know about Paul Revere Ware here.

This special “High-End” cookware was produced in Oneonta, Alabama, about 50 miles NE of Birmingham.   Production began about 1967, right about the time Revere converted their “process patent” heavier copper bottom cookware to a somewhat lighter style, and dropped the “process patent” logo.   This Paul Revere Ware was made from a solid copper sheet and a solid stainless steel sheet bonded together with pressure, unlike the Revere Ware copper bottom pans, which were a stainless steel sheet with an electroplated layer of copper.

When America’s Bicentennial came around 9 years later in 1976, this line of cookware was stamped with Paul Revere’s signature and 1776-1976 on the bottom.  They produced the Bicentennial version for a couple of years, and then dropped the 1776-1976  from the logo, and kept the signature and the “1801”.  6 years later, Revere Copper & Brass (the original company) filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.     4 years after that, around 1986, the Oneonta plant was closed.

This special Paul Revere Line was so beautiful, (and still is) that many people hesitated to actually use it on the stove, and simply hung it on the wall for decoration.  Eventually they might have taken it down and stored it in a box with some other pans, causing a few storage marks, etc.  Lots of it has never been cooked in, even though it is an excellent heavy-duty line of cookware.