Vintage Cream and Green Enamelware Canisters

My wonderful cream and green enamelware canisters from the early 1930s deserve to be recorded and displayed as reference for every collector out there.  What I try to do here on the blog is not only share ideas and creations, but I also hope to guide people in the right direction with correct information about a particular subject.  Nothing is more frustrating than doing an online search and coming up empty about the things I like to collect.    

After opening a dialogue with several individuals here and abroad, I came to realize that no one had really written about the canisters that I love having in my colonial home.  Little did I know when I was able to acquire these, that it would lead to a new bounty of information about a particular company specializing in steel objects for the home.    

Vintage Cream & Green Enamelware Canisters

If you were to quickly glance at these cream and green enamelware canisters sitting on my large kitchen island, you might think that they were early twentieth century American.  Not so!

The 'Sago' canister provides you the clue as to their country origin.  Sago is essentially tapioca.  Although not a staple here in the United States or in England, sago has been commonly used in Australia as a breakfast item (think porridge).  If I were to guess, I'd say that this was influenced by Australia's close proximity to southeast Asia.  


Metters & Company or Metters Limited of Australia is responsible for these beautiful canisters made in the early part of the 1930s.  The foundry produced stoves, cooking & heating equipment, in addition to cookware and kitchenalia made to coordinate with its appliances.  Based out of Perth, Adelaide and Sydney, most Australian households had access to mass produced cooking equipment for homes in the larger cities and in the bush.  This wonderful advertisement (above) shows a cream and green gas stove that more than likely was meant to pair with my canisters.  Imagine how charming that kitchen must have looked!

Vintage Metters Australia Enamelware

  
Each of these porcelain enamelware canisters was made from a base of milled steel, stamped out by machine in their various forms.  The canisters and lids would have then been cleaned, degreased, pickled (this etches the surface of the steel to help the porcelain enamel adhere before firing) and then rinsed.  The porcelain enamel base (frit), in this case colored cream and green, would have been applied to the base by either the wet or dry method.  

The wet method involves dipping the vessel in a solution, flow coating, or spray gunning. The dry method requires the vessel to be heated to a certain temperature and is then rolled around in powdered frit (porcelain enamel), which cause the porcelain enamel to adhere and melt on contact.

After this procedure, the pieces then get fired in large furnaces that are set between 986 ° F to 1400 ° F so that the finish becomes a continous, permanent layer.  

Cream Green Enamelware, Fire King Jadeite, Green Bakelite Flatware

Whether you have jadeite from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, colorful bakelite from the mid century, other enamelware from the 1930s or various kitchenalia meant to have been used during that era, then you understand how well they look with one another.  

I can just imagine how house proud the housewife and family who owned these canisters must have been. The fact that they are almost 100 years old and have absolutely no rust, dents or awful marks on them, other than the usual nicks and some minimal color loss, tells me that the entire set was highly cherished.

Vintage Enamelware Canisters: Rice, Coffee, Sago

The Coffee and Sago canisters are a perfect fit for displaying a small assemblage of green bakelite flatware. Forks, spoons and knives can be placed in each canister, and set on the kitchen counter or in a cabinet to have them within easy reach.  This way, not only are you able to admire the colors of the collectibles, but you are likely to use them much more frequently.

Metters Australia Enamelware 'Cakes' Canister

Although I don't have any plans to use the Cakes canister to store delectable sweets, I love how it looks sitting on a jadeite cake stand.  This particular canister measures 10" in diameter, which makes it suitable for a bundt cake or kugelhopf.  I may just store some of my treasured linens from the 1930s and 40s.

Vintage Enamelware Tea Canister

Vintage enamelware endured the hardships of Depression Era kitchens.  Inexpensive to make, subdued in color choices, each of these kitchen pieces was meant to last for generations.  



At long last!  We have answers as to the origins of these canisters that I've seen here and there on social media, as well as through Google searches.  It took some research, a lot of air miles and several emails to get the correct information together for the blog post.

I have to thank Terry and Marie, as well as Lismore_Collectables on Instagram, who are based in Australia. Without their wares, guidance and forthcoming information, I would not have been able to piece this collection and post together.  

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