Revere Ware History
OK, there was this really cool site at one point (http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeoywo4/theshineshop2/id10.html) which no longer exists. The point of this blog is to resurrect it for others to share and admire one of America’s great cook ware companies.
The below text is not mine nor do I claim its mine. Neither are the images.
Note: If the following text overlaps the pictures, or the pictures are not at the right margin of the page, you need to enlarge your type size in your browser settings. (IE users: view->text-size->medium or large; Netscape users: view->text[zoom]->larger)
The Foundation Years (1880’s – 1932)
In the 1800’s, everyday cookware was fairly crude – little emphasis was placed on design other than to make it functional. Stove-top and oven-ware were typically heavy (cast iron, copper, or bronze), while lighter tinware was used for kettles, cups, and tableware.
7 Until the 1900’s, the Revere name was associated mostly with the manufacture of copper cladding, copper/brass castings (bells, canon, ship fittings), boilers, nails,and spikes. Cookware was a later addition, coming after 1890, and included skillets with heavy copper bodies, straight sides, and flat uninsulated iron handles. By the turn of the century, Revere & Son (as Paul Revere’s company was known) had merged with the Taunton-New Bedford Copper Company, located in New-Bedford, Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, Rome Manufacturing was established in 1892 as a division of Rome Brass Copper with manufacturing facilities in Rome, NY. It produced a huge variety (by the 1920’s it claimed to have made over 10,000 different products for the home) from sheet copper and brass including boiling kettles and washtubs (Domestic hot water was still a luxury, and these were used to heat water on the kitchen stove.) Lightweight nickel or chrome plated tea kettles and coffee pots were also important products. These were made from multiple parts formed from copper sheet; soldered together, and finally plated with first nickel, and later chrome. The Rome Manufacturing plant was updated in the mid 1920’s to include the newest equipment and research laboratories, making it a leader in brass manufacturing.
The 1928 merger of five northeastern copper manufacturers (including Taunton-New Bedford and Rome Brass & Copper) produced the Revere Copper and Brass Corporation in 1929, the largest copper manufacturer in the US. Most of its production went to the Architectural (metal roofs & gutters), Industrial (refrigeration systems, boilers, cooling water condensers), and Electrical (motors and switches) markets. Cookware (then a minor facet of its business) was assigned to the recently upgraded Rome Manufacturing plant in NY; which then became the headquarters of the Manufactured Products Division for Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. The identifying hallmark used on production reflected the relative importance of the merger – “Rome” was prominent, while “Revere” was an afterthought.
Bakelite (the first heat resistant plastic) and Stainless Steel were both developed in the 1920’s and would become central to the development of modern cookware. Initially, they proved expensive and were difficult to adapt to then-current manufacturing methods. Although the Rome plant began early on to experiment with Bakelite; wooden handled, tin lined, copper cookware was continued as the bulk of Revere’s cookware production through the mid 1930’s. Reflecting a shift in manufacturing emphasis, all reference to the original Rome Manufacturing Company was dropped from the hallmark.
The Evolution of Revere Ware(1932-1949)
In 1932, Chester McCreery (A Rome Manufacturing salesman now working for Revere) suggested that substituting chrome plating for the the tin lining in copper cookware should greatly improve durability. Although logical, the concept was accepted without proper testing, and disgruntled housewives soon found that cooking potatoes together with salt caused the chrome plating to simply flake off – OOPS! McCreery’s initiative (although an embarrassing failure) was noticed; he eventually became Vice President of Manufacturing at the Revere’s Riverside plant in 1952.
The chrome cladding failure resulted in new management being sent to the Rome plant, with the directive to “Make something useful!”. The search for an improved cooking surface was given priority, but other aspects of cookware design such as rolled rims for lightweight rigidity and gently sloped bottoms for easy cleaning were also considered.
While research continued on the new cookware surface, the Manufactured Products Division continued to produce their existing line of cookware at the Rome NY factory, developing additional expertise in high-quality metal forming techniques. During this period, the basic designs for the future coffee pot and tea-kettle lines were developed.
The Manufactured Products Division also produced a high quality line of “Giftware” from 1935 until 1941. Competing with Chase, Manning-Bowman, Kensington, and others, Revere commissioned the services of well known industrial designers to produce luxury goods with a clean, modern look, emphasizing the use of chrome plated metal ware – which became the core of “Art Deco” styling movement. Unfortunately, this line was shut down in 1941 – due to the conversion to wartime production – and was never restarted. The designs and tooling were sold soon afterwards and continued in production under other names (National Silver Co. among them). Several of the designs (including the Fred Farr “Scroll Bookends”, the “Five O’clock Trays” of Norman Bel Geddes, and the William A. Welden’s “Teakettle” (which was later brought into the Revere Ware line) are now considered classic examples of Art Deco design.
Two+ years spent evaluating alternatives and developing new production techniques resulted in a “copper clad stainless steel” cooking surface, which together with an easy-to-clean, rivet-free design, and comfortable, easy to hold Bakelite handles were radical changes to the conservative cookware industry. The product that was eventually introduced in 1939 was given the name “Revere Ware”. There was some uncertainty regarding the hallmark to be used on the new cookware – early production used several, including the “Riding Revere” logo (borrowed from Revere’s Mill Products Division).
Revere applied for Patent protection on it’s copper cladding process in 1938 (formally granted in 1942. Prior to 1946, Revere included the notation “Pat. Pend.”(Patent Pending) in the hallmark used on cladded products. (A complete copy of the Patent & illustrations is available free of charge – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request file ReverePatent.zip)
In 1946, the Revere Ware name was registered as a trademark, and the familiar circular logo started to appear on product. The “1801” notation on the mark referred to the year Paul Revere produced his first copper products (cladding for use on warships) in his original facility located in Canton, MA.
Revere Ware was not a perfect product – The bakelite handles quickly showed themselves as a weak point- they cracked and fell apart due to the excessive flexing of the metal spne, and the Bakelite pieces themselves, were overly brittle. The fix was delayed by WWII, but by 1947, a revised design with a stiff, thickened metal tang, and thicker Bakelite castings with thicker sidewalls and reinforced screw holes.
In the original issue of 1939, covered Sauce Pans were all the same diameter – the volume contained was determined by the height. – this lowered Revere’s manufacturing expenses by reducing the number of different production machines, kept parts inventories down, and reduced customer cost(fewer pieces were needed for a set). All sauce pans, from 1 to 5 Quarts, were 7.25″ in diameter. Simplicity this logical couldn’t last – by the late 1940’s the 4 and 5QT pans were widened to 8.25″ and the 1 and 1.5QT pans were narrowed to 5.5″ and 5.75″. Later years saw taller versions of the 1, 1.5, 2, and 3Qt double-boiler pans added to the line.
Lipped Skillets (with pouring spouts) and Deep Well Cookers (used in special stove-top “heat pits”) were common in 1930’s kitchens. However, post-war changes in cooking habits, stoves with smaller cook tops, and sealed ovens made them obsolete. Both items were discontinued by the early 1950’s.
The original Sauce Pots had simple, flat stainless steel handles which allowed them to be used in the oven as well as on the stove-top. Bakelite (although somewhat heat-resistant) was reserved for stove-top utensils where temperatures were generally lower. Steel handles persisted for some time (Bail-Handle Kettles kept their single side-mounted steel handle until they were discontinued in 1968).
Changes were not always final: The 7.25″ diameter 1QT Sauce Pans that were dropped in postwar re-sizing of Sauce Pans resurfaced in the mid 1950’s as “Combination” pans. With the advent of frozen foods they were repositioned as “frozen Food skillets” (They were a perfect size to allow a frozen block of vegetables and then cook, without changing pans. Never included in regular sets, they remained available as a special order item (marked as 1Qt size) until at least the 1980’s.
Revere brought out its first Pressure Cooker in 1946. Marketed as a time-saver (this was before the days of Microwave cooking); it was initially offered with a dial pressure valve (which required you to monitor and adjust the pressure by changes in the heat). Revere quickly changed the design in 1948 to incorporate a self-adjusting system with fixed pressure settings – 0, 5, 10, & 15 pounds. This simple and reliable system was highly successful, and “PC’s” remained in the Revere Ware line (with periodic updates) through the 1990’s.
Marketing Revere Ware(1953-1965)
Although Revere’s patent initially blocked duplication of their cladding process, Revere faced numerous challenges from competitors in the cookware industry throughout the 1950’s. New technology brought a variety of new materials (multi-layer sandwiches of aluminum, copper, and carbon steel) as well as increased pressure from existing manufacturers of Aluminum and stainless steel cookware. New sales concepts (marketing and consumer profiling) opened up new sales opportunities and Revere sought to capitalize on these by increasing the types of cookware it offered under the “Revere Ware” banner.
An aggressive advertising campaign was begun in 1948 to re-enforce Revere’s brand loyalty, and the Revere Ware trademark (and its imprint) were important parts of this effort. The special cladding process was effectively advertised on each piece of Revere Ware by imprinting them “made under process patent”. Revere expanded it’s production capacity, opening first the Riverside, CA plant in 1949, then the Clinton, IL plant in 1950. Each plant identified its production in the hallmark it used (the Rome plant never revised its imprint – its production was identifiable by having no location).
Ammunition casing production during The Korean War created a shortage of copper, so Revere concentrated new product development on smaller, all-stainless items, bringing out various Wall Racks, Egg Poacher and Double-Boiler Insets, sets of Canisters and Mixing Bowls,and Handy Pans (refrigerator storage containers).
By the end of the Korean War, Revere Ware had become the “Gold Standard” of American cookware with 39 items in 12 distinct utensil types.
Originally designed in 1939, the Institutional Ware line was introduced in 1954. Intended for use in hospitals, restaurants, military bases and schools, it featured heavyweight, all stainless steel construction, and Revere’s copper cladding. available in a wide range of sizes, the skillet and sauce pan handles were long tubes of stainless steel with knurled grip areas and hanging holes, while stock pots used oversized, solid stainless “loops”. The lids were flat and recessed, to permit efficient stacking while designed with “wing tip” extensions serving as handles. Made with heavier gauge bodies than regular Revere Ware, this line did not require rolled rims to give stiffness to the sidewalls (which also made them easier to clean..
The Miniature Revere Ware line came in 1955 and was a direct extension of Revere’s advertising campaign to encourage brand loyalty. These perfectly scaled down sets were marketed to the “little homemaker”, and complemented the full-sized “kitchen jewel” sets sold to their mothers. Copper-clad with Bakelite handles, they even carried tiny replicas of the Revere Ware logo.
One of the biggest food fads of the 1950’s was the backyard barbecue, and Revere brought out the Patio Ware line in 1956 advertised specifically for that market. Revere simply re-packaged the skillets and sauce pots from Institutional Ware, substituting domed lids for the stock pots. Revere claimed the large handles were designed for a man’s “larger hands” as men were expected to be the principal users at barbecues. The line was made up of only 6 pieces – 3 skillets and 3 stock pots (seven, including the 14 cup coffee maker from the 1400 line) and did not include any sauce pans.
1956 also saw two additions to the basic 1400 series Revere Ware line: the Square Skillet (in 10.5″ & 13″ sizes) and the 12″ Round Griddle, which joined the 14 Cup Coffee Percolator (normally associated with the Patio Ware line). All were copper clad, and remained in limited production for the next 10 years. They are eagerly sought by collectors.
1957 saw the initial issue of the Patriot Ware line. This was the first non-copper clad Revere Ware, using instead a special “heat lined” steel body, essentially a laminated steel sandwich of stainless steel with a carbon steel core. All the pieces in this line used the “vapor seal” rim, appealing to the “water free” style of cooking. Later, a 4 piece “Campers Set” with folding handles allowing it to be “nested”, was available with non-stick coatings, and was carried in the LL Bean Catalogue. This line was replaced by Tri-Ply Revere Ware in 1967 (1970?).
Hosting informal dinners with friends and co-workers was an important part of the suburban lifestyle in the 50’s. Seeing another possible market, Revere designed the Buffet Ware Line. It was stylish and inexpensive, “Perfect to bake in, ideal for serving, storing and freezing all in one dish.” Buffet Ware featured heated, covered casseroles of polished, stainless steel and beverage servers.
The late 1950’s saw the advent of a new shopping trend: the mail-order catalogue, dominated by Sears & Roebuck, Jo Penneys and Montgomery Ward. Beginning in 1957, Revere manufactured product for Penneys, which was identical in styling to the Patriot Ware line with vapor- seal rims on all pieces, but was copper-clad, and carried a unique dual hallmark – “Made Expressly for Penneys by Revere”.
“Premiums” (Inexpensive versions of existing products which customers could obtain by buying another product) were popular sales promotion tools of the 50’s & 60’s. Revere produced a special line, Copper Maid to be used just for these programs. It was copper clad and used vapor-seal rims on all pieces, and had a contemporary, handle design.
By the late 1950’s, Sales of the traditional, copper clad, Revere Ware began levelling off and new “flagship” line was sought which would combine style, innovation, quality, and reduced maintenance (demographics probably showed Revere that housewives were too busy to polish copper “jewels”). The Designers’ Group line, introduced in 1959, was a complete redesign of the classic Revere Ware; intended to restore sagging sales and solidify Revere’s leading position in the domestic cookware market. It featured a new cooking surface composed of a “heat spreading” Copper Core laminated between layers of stainless steel, giving it excellent heat dispersion without the need for polishing, and the re-styled bodies and lids gave it a clean, modern appearance. However, Revere’s competitors were showing inexpensive aluminum cookware, which incorporated easy-to-clean Teflon® linings, with bright, multi-color exterior finishes. Designer’s Group was expensive and lacked a non-stick coating, with stainless steel exteriors that would not accept colored finishes. Although successful, the sales of Designer’s Group apparently failed to meet management expectations, was rarely advertised after 1962, and was discontinued in 1966?.
From 1967?-1975? Revere offered a (presumably cheaper) carbon steel core version, designated Designer’s Group (note the change in the placement of the apostrophe). This line used handles and knobs taken from Neptune, removed the sea horse inserts, and painted the remaining hardware black. Apart from reducing the cost it is hard to understand the reasoning behind this hodge-podge, short-lived line.
Deluxe Revere Ware was brought out in 1962 and reverted to the traditional 1400 line copper clad SS construction and profiles, with the addition of a sleek new handle design with slide-out hanging loops with low slung “pagoda” styled lids with inverted conical knobs. Attempting to respond to consumer demand for a non-stick cooking surface, Deluxe Revere Ware was produced with a highly polished “Perma-Sheen” interior surface (claimed to last a lifetime), but the results were disappointing. By 1966, Revere was substituting its “Perma-Loc” (Revere’s name for the Boeclad process for the application of a teflon surface to stainless steel).
In 1963, Revere began producing electrically heated cookware. Initially restricted to coffee percolators, skillets, and serving trays; it was later expanded to include waffle irons, griddles, slow cookers, microwave ovens, pressure cookers, and even ceiling fans. Parts of this line are still in production (as of 2005).
By the early 1960’s the disappointing sales generated by the new Designers’ Group line provoked Revere to commit itself to establishing a presence in the highly profitable aluminum cookware, market. In a puzzling move, Revere chose a “vertical” approach to the market, taking all aspects of the manufacturing process in-house. Subsequently, a Bauxite mine in Jamaica was purchased, a conversion smelter was built in New Jersey, and rolling mill and assembly plants in Georgia were established. In contrast, the largest aluminum cookware manufacturers (Wear Ever and Farber wear)were buying the aluminum material (or aluminum-clad stainless steel blanks) from existing manufacturers, while they concentrated on the developing efficient manufacturing and distribution activities. Revere undertook its mammoth project with a management team which had only limited experience in the aluminum industry, and as a result suffered “one of the worst corporate disasters in recent history” (James Cook, Forbes, 7/1/1977). The first aluminum bodied cookware to carry the Revere hallmark was delayed by plant and production failures and came out in 1967-8. Even then, Revere was forced to either purchase aluminum clad stainless steel material from Clad Metals, LLC. or to have the new line produced under contract by another manufacturer.
This Revere line was similar in design to WearEver’s existing Duranel™ cookware, but carried the Revere hallmark. Apparently Revere discontinued this line when Gourmet finally was introduced. line in 1969. The Neptune line was brought out in 1966 and continued in production into the early 1970’s,taking the styling from the now discontinued Designers’ Group, with the sole change being the addition of “seahorse” graphics (applied to anodized aluminum inserts glued to the handles and knobs). Revere continued experimenting with non-stick coatings applied to Stainless Steel (initial attempts involved “Perma-Loc” on Deluxe Revere Ware); but the use of these coatings on a stainless steel surface were felt to be unnecessary when the utensil was copper clad. The Perma- loc surface was introduced colored blue (matching the sea horses) but later switched to black.
for the remainder of its’ production.
Neptune introduced several new pieces of cookware that had not previously appeared in a Revere line, including an asparagus pot, fondue set (which was later absorbed into the Paul Revere Ware line) and utensil set.
The Contempora line (launched in 1967) combined several styling elements used in previous Revere lines: the laminated stainless steel / carbon steel core (now dubbed “heat spreading core”) and the tab handles on sauce pots came from Patriot Ware were combined with the pan handles from Deluxe Revere Ware, while the lid and body profiles mirrored those used in the Designers’ Group and Neptune lines. Only the lid knob styling was new – an elongated inverted triangular pyramid. The Contempora line was limited to an 8″ skillet, two sauce pans, a double boiler, and a 5 qt sauce pot.
Simultaneously, Revere introduced Stainless Tri-Ply Revere Ware which updated the Patriot Ware line, keeping the Stainless steel/carbon steel core material and the Vapor Seal lids, while using the handles from Deluxe Revere Ware; the lid knobs were unique, but were squat and unremarkable. Tri-Ply Revere Ware was short-lived, and was replaced by the 1400 line look-alike Stainless Revere Ware in 1974.
Recognizing that a high-end consumer market existed for the solid copper cookware commonly in use by professional chefs, Revere introduced the Paul Revere Ware line in 1967. Produced only at the Oneonta, AL plant, the copper/stainless steel material it used was made in house using a high temperature, pressure-bonding process, not the traditional Revere electro-plating process. Designed as much (or more) for visual appeal as for function, the solid brass handles were attached with rivets welded to the bodies (producing a riveted handle with no exposed rivet heads on the cooking surface. The line included numerous specialty pieces: omelet, crepes suzette, fondue, and Au Gratin pans; casseroles, even a flambe set with alcohol burner and tray. Initial production carried “Limited Edition Collection” stamped on the undersides of the handles while a stylized Paul Revere “signature” was later added to the underside of each piece. This combination was designated the “Paul Revere Signature Collection” when the handle imprint was removed. A special issue commemorating the American Bicentennial added “1776-1976″ to the hallmark. The “signature” was also used on teakettles, serving trays, and mixing bowls which were later additions to the line (these were simply units produced for the 1400 line with the signature added). By 1978, the line had grown to include 33 different pieces, making it the largest line produced by Revere since the Revere Ware 1400 line of the mid 1950’s. A design change came in 1982 when the handle was widened and an option for polished stainless steel, copper core bodies was added. A heavy duty commercial copper core version with stainless steel handles was added just before the line was discontinued in 1986, when the Oneonta plant was closed. The line was re-introduced in 2003 with an Stainless Steel encapsulated copper bottom and bodies of solid stainless steel; this final edition was manufactured in China and bore the hallmark “Paul Revere Shoppe”
Revere brought out its first “in-house” line of cast aluminum cookware in 1969 – the Gourmet line. Featuring heavy gauge aluminum bodies (with the Bakelite knobs and handles from Patriot Ware), baked on poly amide color clad finishes, and Teflon II linings, it was likely produced at Revere’s aluminum products plant in Oneonta, ALA.
Throughout the late 1960’s and 1970’s, Revere sought to reduce production costs – particularly as regards the traditional copper clad Revere Ware. By far the most significant change made was to reduce the thickness of the copper cladding by shortening the electro-plating cycle time. Eventually, the cladding thickness was cut by almost half. This cut plating costs dramatically and increased production, but also severely compromised the legendary cooking qualities.
Changes continued – One-piece handles replaced the two-piece handles by 1970; Drip Coffee Makers were discontinued in the late 1970’s, followed by the 6 Qt Dutch Oven (with its Vapor Seal Rim and High Dome lid)in the mid 1980’s, and the Coffee Percolators in 1990. Although customer loyalty lingered, the “Grandma’s Revere Ware” quality was never restored, and copper clad Revere Ware (renamed Copper Clad Collection in 1974) was increasingly targeted at the discount market. It survives today as the Traditions line, having little in common with the original Revere Ware except its appearance.
The hallmarks used from the late 1960’s to the mid 1970’s went through their own peculiar evolution. The plant name (typically Clinton, since Riverside was closed in 1962 and Rome mothballed from 1968-1974) previously below the circular logo, was moved above it, and the “Process Patent” wording dropped. The traditional circular Revere logo was replaced by the “1801 Profile” mark, and the utensil size added in 1975? with coding for the month and year of production added in 1979. When the Rome plant restarted copper clad production in 1974, it used the new hallmark and included the production plant.
Stainless Revere Ware (introduced in 1974) was styled identical to that of traditional Copper Clad Revere Ware, it used the stainless steel clad carbon steel core material first used in Patriot Ware and later in the Contempora and finally Tri-Ply Revere Ware lines. This provided satisfactory cooking performance, and retained the Revere Ware “look”. Stainless Revere Ware became Revere’s main line, and remained in production into the 1990’s. Produced at the Clinton plant, the copper clad production it displaced was transferred to the Rome plant, allowing that plants’ copper clad line (mothballed since 1968) to restart.
A specially designed Omelet Pan was added to the Copper Clad Collection in late 1974. Introduced as “America’s only copper bottom stainless steel omelet pan”, it was designed with shallow evenly rounded sides and was available in two sizes – 8″ & 10″.
Restaurant Style Stockpots were introduced in 1985, replacing the 10,12,16, and 20 Qt wide Sauce Pots. Initially these were brought out in two forms – Stainless Revere Ware, using the stainless steel/carbon steel core laminate, and a heavy duty restaurant grade of copper clad. Later a disc line version and a lighter weight copper-clad version were added. The stylings of all four versions were all-metal pots, with tubular steel handles and metal lids.
Kitchen technology changed in the mid 1980’s with the introduction of the smooth glass/ceramic cooktop surfaces. These surfaces used embedded thermostats requiring cookware with thick, cast metal bottoms (as opposed to the pressed steel or electroplated bottoms used by Revere Ware). In 1986, Revere responded with the Aluminum Bottom Cookware, sometimes advertised as “tri-ply” or “disc bottom” (known internally as the 2000 line). It continued the classic Revere Ware styling, but used a stainless steel coated aluminum disc brazed to the bottom of each piece allowing use on smooth cooktops, while retaining the heat dispersion needed by Stainless steel pans used on conventional cooktops. Initially, the discs were brazed and buffed in Hong Kong, and the final product assembled at Clinton. The line was competitively priced and was successful in the lower priced markets.
The Micro-Fryer was introduced in 1987 – designed to allow “combination cooking” – food could be browned on the range top, and then transferred to the microwave oven to complete cooking – all in the same pan. The pans were available in 8″ and 10″ sizes, with both copper clad and aluminum disc bottoms. A tempered glass cover was provided with each piece.
The ONYX line, also introduced in 1987, was Revere’s first line to use a hard anodized aluminum cooking surface. Originally introduced with commercial style tubular steel handles and solid, stainless steel lids, by 1994 dismayed buyers found that clear glass lids and phenolic handles had been substituted and a non-stick surface had been added — production had been outsourced to Hong Kong and the design had been modified to allow for available parts.
The End of Revere Ware As We Knew It (1988 – present)
The tremendous financial losses incurred by its aluminum operations ultimately forced Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. to seek bankruptcy protection in 1982. Following reorganization in 1985, Revere Ware Incorporated (the cookware division) was sold to Corning Glass Inc.; while the Mill Products Division was bought by the employees (retaining the Revere Copper and Brass Inc. name). The remaining Aluminum assets were sold and Revere withdrew completely from primary aluminum production. In 1986 the Rome facility was closed; and in 1989, the spare parts program was discontinued. There-after, corporate philosophy seems to have changed from focusing on specific markets to “shotgunning”: Prior to the 1988 Corning buyout, Revere was producing only four distinctly different cookware lines: Copper clad 1400 line, Aluminum disc (2000 line),Onyx™, and the Micro- Fryer™, each of which retained some domestic manufacturing capacity. Ten years later in 1998, World Kitchen Inc. assumed control with over a dozen lines, most simply combinations of old ideas & existing parts, all made in off-shore plants by affiliated companies (or companies under contract to Revere). WKI then continued adding “new” lines; at least 12 more were added within 7 years (1998 – 2005) further exacerbating the situation. The lack of cohesive marketing together with inconsistent names / descriptions / specifications produced massive confusion — So much so that after 1990, I have included here only those lines with some special significance.
1989 – The first completely new Revere/Corning product was brought out – ProLine – made of a very heavy gauge of 18/10 stainless steel with a copper disc bottom to provide even heating and unusual “wire” handles. It was first made at the Clinton plant, but by 1994 it was being manufactured in Thailand.
1989 – The Vista line was introduced with cookware bodies were from Revere’s Copper Clad 1400 line (with vapor seal rims added) while the covers were taken from the Corning Ware line. The combination of parts from existing lines to make a third line became Revere’s source of “new” product concepts.
1992 – Spectrum introduced aluminum non-stick bodies which incorporated dual pouring spouts, together with “old fashioned” Revere Ware stainless steel strainer lids. The enamelled exterior was available in maroon, blue, and black; the one-piece handles were riveted to the aluminum bodies. The finished product was imported from Thailand.
1992 – Revere issued the “1892 – 1992 Paul Revere Centennial” teakettles, but what they “commemorated” is somewhat puzzling – Revere was producing cookware before 1892; and the Rome facility that started production in 1892 was Rome Manufacturing, not Revere; and did not become part of Revere Copper & Brass, Inc. until the merger of 1927. There was irony as well – Revere had closed the Rome facility (Revere’s teakettle plant) six years earlier, and moved all teakettle production offshore – every “Paul Revere Centennial” teakettle had to be imported from Korea.
1992-3 – Hallmarks on aluminum disc bottom line were relocated to a circular recess on the bottom of the utensil. Production of Stainless Revere Ware was discontinued, and the Clinton plant workforce suffered further reductions.
1993 – Excel – Emphasizing ease of use, it incorporated stainless steel bodies with double pouring spouts, non-stick interiors, and specially designed “strainer” lids to allow draining without the use of colanders.
1998 - Independence – Porcelain enamel exteriors with nonstick interiors, double pour-spouts, stainless steel strainer type covers. This line was essentially Spectrum with new handle styles.
1998 – Revolution – DuPont SilverStone Select nonstick coating, inside and out, re-styled Revere Grip handle, large loop knobs, saucepans with double pouring spouts, and strainer covers.
1998 – Revere Ware, Inc. was sold to Borden Inc., along with the rest of the Corning Consumer Products Division (Corelle, Corningware, Visions, Pyrex), all of which were reorganized as World Kitchen, Inc.
In 1999, the Clinton, IL plant closed. All domestic manufacturing of Revere Ware ended, and corporate headquarters for the former Revere Ware Inc. line were moved to Indonesia. The Revere Ware logo was initially dropped and replaced with the single word “Revere” (it was revived in a subsequent oval logo. New Product lines continued to be introduced by World Kitchen, Inc., many of which were essentially renamings of older or existing lines.
May 2002 – World Kitchens Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but introduced new lines even while reorganizing in 2003.
2002 – Chef’s Preference – Aluminum bodied, nonstick cookware with black enamel exterior finish. Features saucepans with pouring spouts, stainless steel colander (strainer) covers and restyled versions of the traditional “pistol grip” handles. Sold as an 8-piece set.
2002 – Culinary Classic – Extra heavy, 18/10 stainless steel bodies with impact bonded, copper encapsulated bottoms, solid stainless steel handles and tempered glass covers – skillets had a non-stick interior finish. The line was targeted to the upscale market (sold in 13 piece sets, priced at $199.00).
2003 – Chef’s Request – Heavy duty, all 18/10 stainless steel bodies with copper bottoms. Slim, cast stainless handles and stainless steel covers. This line was not available with non-stick cooking surfaces. Made in Indonesia, it was available in 11 piece sets and open stock.
???? – Revere Nonstick – Aluminum with a polished exterior allowing for coordinated styling with stainless steel Revere lines, nonstick interior.
2004 – Copper Ellipse - Pans feature an attractive bowl-shaped body made of 18/10 stainless steel with copper encapsulated bottoms, riveted, tubular stainless steel handles, and solid stainless steel lids. Made in South Korea, available 7 piece sets only.
2003 – Tri-Ply Stainless – A renamed version of the highly successful Stainless Revere Ware originally introduced in 1974. Classic 1400 line styling, body material comprised of two layers of stainless steel around a core of carbon steel for heat dispersion. Phenolic handles and knobs on stainless covers, virtually unchanged from 1974. Made in Indonesia, available in 10-piece sets.
2003 – Copper Clad – The latest version of the 1400 line copper clad Revere Ware which was first introduced in 1939 and was the foundation of the company. The copper clad stainless steel body, with phenolic handle and knob stylings (my emphasis) are virtually unchanged in almost 60 years. Made in Indonesia, it is available in 14 piece sets and individual pieces.
2003 – Traditions – Stainless steel bodies with non-stick coating, capacity markings on interior surfaces, modern looped handles with hanging holes.
2003 – Convenience – Stainless steel (18/10) bodies with encapsulated aluminum disc bottoms, Metal resistant DuPont Teflon™ nonstick coating on all interiors, soft grip handles, vented glass lids with wide stainless steel rims, and “no-spill” pouring spouts. Made in Indonesia, available in 8 piece sets.
2004 – Copper Select – Essentially a reintroduction of the Paul Revere Ware series, (discontinued in 1986) it used the same solid copper stainless steel lined bodies and stying as the earlier series, but with stainless steel handles replacing the earlier brass ones. It was also available in a stainless steel body version, with a disc of copper faced with SS on the bottom; marketed under the “Paul Revere Shoppe” label. This SS version should not be confused with the heavy duty, professional grade of Paul Revere Ware which was produced by Revere’s Oneonta AL plant in the mid 80’s – that line was completely SS with a copper core (bottom & sidewalls).
January, 2005 – The availability of the various Revere Ware lines is difficult to determine at present. The Traditions and Convenience lines are the only lines mentioned on the WKI internet site for the Revere line. At least one internet distributor reported that in December 2004, WKI issued a request for all internet marketers to suspend the promotion and sale of Revere lines. The future of the Revere Ware line appears uncertain.
Readers: The company records and historical archives that would normally have been the source for production and design details were moved to the Clinton Plant after the Rome facility closed in 1986. By all accounts, they were either lost, destroyed, or dispersed in 1999 when Clinton was closed, and are no longer available. The information presented here was compiled from many anecdotal sources, including advertisements, catalogues, examination (and sometimes destruction) of some 500+ pieces of Revere Ware, as well as interviews with retired Revere employees. Because of the lack of company records inconsistencies and uncertainties exist in the information presented here. Comments, criticisms, corrections, or assistance are all welcome! – Periodic updates will follow in the future – check back from time to time.
Special Note: Many people have contributed to this project, either with photographs, information, or encouragement. First among equals are Jay Merrill (who laid the initial groundwork and whose continued input has carried me over many a blind alley) and Skene Moody (a kindred spirit, whose “voice in the darkness” helps me retain my sanity)!