Collecting The Kind Of Molds You Do Want In Your Kitchen

When I saw this jangle of vintage copper molds at the thrift store today, I was reminded of my aunt Vicki.

copper molds at thrift shop

When she was alive, her entire kitchen was decorated with them. It began, I believe, as an inexpensive way to decorate. Back when I was a kid, you could grab these copper molds for just a quarter or so, which meant for a dollar or two you could easily cover your kitchen walls. (They are more expensive now, but still less expensive than other forms of home decor for your kitchen walls.)

I remember how the copper would gleam off the walls and warm the room… Except for the lobster (he creeped me out — still does!)

As their monetary situation improved, even when they moved to a much larger house, my aunt continued to collect the copper molds — but she also began to add more pieces to her collection, like vintage chocolate molds.

I’ve sort of taken up the idea, but for even more practical reasons: space.

I’ve a modest collection of whimsical cake pans and I find that rather than attempting to stuff them into that wee drawer beneath the oven or fail at stacking them neatly next to the pots and pans, that it’s easier and prettier to display them on the wall above the kitchen cabinets.

collectibles above cupboards

Most of them, like the Wilton Scooby-Doo, have a small hole in the top from which to hang them. And cake pans without them can, like my vintage 3-D lamb cake mold, can sit up atop the cupboards. In either case, I’ve ended the clutter and crashes of cake pans that do not stack or nest nicely.

Plus, on display I know where each one is. The kids pick one out, I take it down and wash & dry it while they gather the ingredients. And I think they add charm to my kitchen too.

Everedy For Vintage Kitchenalia

If I weren’t reading vintage magazines, I might have continued my ignorance of the Tater-Baker. I would have seen the (probably aluminum) dome and thought it was a cake saver, missing it’s platter.

Vintage Everedy ad, found in Good Housekeeping (May 1961).

Memories Of Vintage Colored Aluminum Kitchenalia

When hubby and I were selling at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, we had brought a large collection of vintage colored aluminum pieces to sell. While the display was incredibly vibrant, shining in the sun, what was even more striking were the reactions to it.

Groups of people were drawn to it, often grabbing a person they were shopping with and dragging them over to the display. Of course, these people were usually of a certain age… For while aluminum was considered a rare metal in the 19th century — and costly by the ounce than silver or even gold — once the mining processes improved, aluminum became all the rage and by the 20th century it was used from everything from kitchenware to Christmas trees. By the 1960s, however, plastics were on their way to replacing pretty much everything, including colorful aluminum ware. But many younger people also recognized the vintage colored aluminum ware as much of the fancy colorful aluminum pieces lived second lives as part of camping gear and in cupboards in summer cottages.

Nearly each person who passed by had their own stories and memories about vintage colored aluminum ware. Clutching a piece in their hand, they’d shared their stories — making a collective experience as they stories drew even more people over.

“My grandma had these glasses — I remember fighting with my sister over who got the purple one!”

“I remember these! Everyone had a set of these. …I wonder where I put my set? Oh, I know, I gave them to the kids for camping. I wonder if they still have them?”

“My aunt had these glasses! I remember how cold our hands would get holding them!”

I too recall my aunt having a set of the vintage colored aluminum tumblers — but my memories are more fear-filled. For my aunt used to save money by making Kool-Aid with only half the directed amount of sugar. Ack! Now the sight of these vintage aluminum tumblers makes my taste buds suspicious. *wink*

Another woman shopping at the flea market also was suspicious. When her friend was regaling her with fond childhood memories of drinking the leftover milk from a colored aluminum cereal bowl, the woman shuddered and said the idea of the aluminum near her mouth made her teeth ache. Her friend knit her brow and said, “You use a spoon and fork to eat, right? And aren’t you drinking that Coke out of an aluminum can right now?”

But my favorite story came from a man about my age who said, “I remember how cold the cups stayed — and how they would sweat. And I’d always leave one sitting put on the furniture and when my dad would find it he’d call me over. He’d tell me to pick the cup up and bring it to him. And when I brought it to him, my dad would ‘ding’ it on the side of my head.”

As a mom, I have to wonder just how many times this had to happen before the kid would learn to put his dishes away. *wink*

There were a number of collectors there that day too, out shopping exactly for more pieces to add to their collections — and a number of collectors who were delighted to discover that there really was a pitcher or a coffee pot to go with their tumblers and trays, butter dishes to go with their salt and pepper shakers, measuring spoons to match their measuring cups, and tongs to go with beverage sets. There even are advertising pieces, such as scoops for lard!

Some pieces have (usually black) plastic handles. Some pieces have embossed, etched, or even hammered designs. And the range of colors and brands are impressive!

We sold a lot of vintage aluminum ware that day. What didn’t sell has been split-up, with half going to our case at Antiques On Broadway and the other half going to our booth at Exit 55 Antiques.

My favorite piece of those left is this red and gold aluminum coffee pot — look at the clear mod percolator top! (It’s available at Exit 55, and it can ship from there!)