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Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Descoware: Vintage Cast Iron Cookware Still Popular – Descoware Photo Gallery, Page 1

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

I've only been collecting Descoware cookware for a few years now, but my collection is steadily growing. Finding gently used pieces that aren't outrageously priced takes time and patience, but there are still many excellent pieces out there being sold online or at thrift stores and yard sales.

Many of the photographs in this gallery are pieces of mine, but other photos were graciously donated by their owners or were available via Creative Commons license for non-commercial use.

Descoware Colors

The gradient flame-red color (also called sunburst flame, sunburst orange, or red-orange, by the public) was the most popular color back in its heyday and was the company's trademark, so these pieces usually sell for less because they aren't as rare, although they are still the most popular.

The company offered other colors. Originally, the only available colors were the already-mentioned Flame-Red (gradient color) and an attractive Sunny Yellow (solid color). As time passed, other colors were released, including Antique Gold (solid), Avocado Green (solid), Marigold Yellow (gradient), Sky Blue (gradient), Chocolate Brown (solid), and a very short run of Turquoise (solid), which was released under the Descoware Special line.

Some of the above-cited colors were also released under the Descoware Special line. The Descoware Special line was so-named because it related to pan sizes and set combinations.

Descoware Patterns

In the mid-1950's, the "Maple Leaf" pattern was released, which depicted a plucked stem of Red Maple Tree leaves beginning to change into autumn colors, imposed onto a cream-colored background. Also during the mid-1950's, other patterned series, known as Descorama, were released by Descoware. Descorama featured a pattern that went all around the cookware piece (like a panarama).

The most popular and widely recognized Descorama pattern is the Markley series, which features a yellow background with a whimsical, "kitch" pattern of food, animal, and culinary items painted on it and signed by the artist (Markley). I've seen this unofficially referred to on eBay as "Friendly Farm," but I'm not sure if the term is Descoware-authentic or something concocted by the seller.

Other limited-issue designs in the Descorama series included Cream-colored with Vegetables, Yellow with Vegetables, Cream with Mock Tulips, Blue with Mock Tulips, and Yellow with Mock Tulips. Of the Descorama series, it appears that the Markley design is the most desired.

I recently saw on eBay a small, mint-condition Markley Dutch oven with lid sell for $103.00 and one of the same size but in not-so-great shape (a small chunk was taken out of the edge of the lid) sold for $55.00. A small oval roaster with lid recently sold for a whopping $174.00 on eBay (I dropped out once the biding hit $50.00). It was in excellent shape, except for a small chunk missing on the lid's rim.

This leads me to believe that mint condition of the funky Markley pattern is not as imperative as that of the more common colors and pieces. The Markley design is currently highly sought.

 

Flame-red medium-sized Descoware roasting pan with lid... I won this gorgeous piece on eBay for a fraction of its value. It has a small drilled hole in the lid to permit steam release. I plug it up with a bit of aluminum foil when I want a complete seal when I use it in the oven, making it into a small Dutch oven.

Flame-red medium-sized Descoware roasting pan with lid... I won this gorgeous piece on eBay for a fraction of its value. It has a small drilled hole in the lid to permit steam release. I plug it up with a bit of aluminum foil when I want a complete seal when I use it in the oven, making it into a small Dutch oven.

 

Solid yellow Descoware pot in excellent condition with lid and wooden handle; this color is a bit more difficult to find than the flame-red version. The owner recently bought it from a thrift store for just 5 USD. | <em>Photo credit: Dulamae

This solid yellow Descoware pot with lid and wooden handle is in excellent condition; this color is a bit more difficult to find than the flame-red variety. The owner recently bought it from a thrift store for just $5 USD. | Photo credit: Dulamae

 

Sturdy, 2-quart yellow Descoware casserole with lid, with minor chipping. This durable piece will last for decades. Sturdy, 2-quart yellow Descoware casserole with lid, with some minor chipping. This durable piece will last for decades. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

Lovely flame-red Descoware coffee or tea pot in excellent condition. The flame orange-to-red color is magnificent.
Exquisite flame-red Descoware coffee or tea pot in excellent condition. The flame orange-to-red color is magnificent. | Photo credit: Creative Commons
I am now the proud owner of a rare Descoware double-spout small pot (used primarily for melting butter on the stove) with an autumn leaves motif, sometimes referred to as the maple leaf pattern. | Photo credit: Wenda Vorce

I am now the proud owner of a small, rare, adorable double-spouted pot (used primarily for melting butter on the stove) with an autumn leaves motif against a white background. This Descoware "Maple Leaf" pattern is difficult to find because so few were made, compared to the popular gradient flame-red. This is one of three pieces for the Descoware butter warmer, which means I'm on the hunt for the other two pieces (lid and bottom hot plate) | Photo credit: Wenda Vorce

I'm now the proud owner of a small, very rare, adorable double-spouted pot (used primarily for melting butter on the stove) with the autumn leaves motif against a white background. This Descoware autumnal pattern is difficult to find because so few were made, compared to the popular flame-red. This is one of three pieces for the Descoware butter warmer, which means I'm on the hunt for the other two pieces (lid and bottom hot plate) | Photo credit: Wenda Vorce

Bottom of my new autumn leaves double-spout pot, showing the Descoware trademark | Photo credit: Wenda Vorce

The bottom of my autumn leaves double-spouted pot, showing the famous Descoware trademark. While I love the flame-red color, this piece was so unusual and enchanting, I had to add it to my collection after I saw it on eBay. Thank you, Wenda! | Photo credit: Wenda Vorce

"Oval, flame-red au gratin Descoware baking dish. A real beauty!

My oval, flame-red Descoware au gratin baking dish, measures 13 1/2 inches by 9 1/4 inches without the handles and is 2 1/4 inches deep. Yes, a real beauty!

Bottom of my oval au gratin baking dish shown to the left, with the Descoware logo in the center.

Bottom of my oval au gratin baking dish shown to the left, with the Descoware logo in the center.

Charming flame-red Descoware teakettle, I use it almost every day. The wood across the top of the handle is in remarkably good shape for its age.

Charming flame-red Descoware teakettle; I use it almost every day. The wood across the top of the handle is in remarkably good shape for its age. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

 

This is a rare green, 8-inch Descoware pot with lid in excellent condition. Tried hard to win this on eBay, to no avail. But I'll keep looking.

This is a rare green, 8-inch Descoware pot with lid in excellent condition. Tried hard to win this on eBay, to no avail. But I'll keep looking. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

 

Flame-red divided round casserole dish in excellent condition; it's very rare.

Bottom of the divided round casserole dish.

Inside the divided round csserole dish.

This is a rare, flame-red divided round casserole dish with lid. The three photos (from top to bottom) show it from the outside, the bottom, and the inside. It permits the cooking of three servings, one main and two sides, in the same dish, much like the divisions of a frozen TV dinner. TV dinners were still novel during the 1950s and 1960s. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

Bottom of my 8-inch flame-red Descoware fry pan, from the "Special" line. Note the "Descoware Special" logo on the pan's bottom. Because the inside is in mint condition, I'm still worried about using and ruining this perfectly pristine fry pan. From the condition of the inside, it appears to not ever been used.

Bottom of my 8-inch flame-red Descoware fry pan, from the "Special" line. Note the "Descoware Special" logo on the pan's bottom. Because the inside is in mint condition, I'm still worried about using and ruining this perfectly pristine fry pan. From the condition of the inside, it appears to not ever been used.

This small blue Descoware pot with dark blue mock tulips has a bit of chipping on the edge, but is still functional and charming.

This small blue Descoware pot with dark blue mock tulips has a bit of chipping on the edge, but is still functional and charming. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

Here is an extremely rare Descoware label, still affixed to the piece of cookware. These would normally be removed and discarded after purchase. Obviously, this piece of Descoware was never used. As a result, the cookware sold for several hundred dollars on eBay.

Here is an extremely rare Descoware label, still affixed to the piece of cookware. These would normally be removed and discarded after purchase. Obviously, this piece of Descoware was never used. As a result, it sold for several hundred dollars on eBay. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

The famous Markley Descorama design on a yellow background, in excellent condition. The <em>kitchy</em>, whimsical style of the painted graphics is decidedly from the 1950s. This photo shows a view of the front of the pot.

The famous Markley Descorama design on a yellow background, in excellent condition. The <em>kitchy</em>, whimsical style of the painted graphics is decidedly from the 1950s. This is a top view of the lid.

The famous Markley Descorama design on a yellow background, in excellent condition. The kitchy style of the painted graphics of food, farm animals, and cookware is decidedly from the 1950s. The top photo shows a view of the front of the pot and the bottom photo is of its lid. I've tried to acquire this rare casserole pot in auctions several times, but have not yet been successful. But, I've not given up. | Photo credit: Creative Commons

This large blue Descoware casserole/Dutch oven with lid is gorgeous. The rich, gradient color and luster of the sky blue enamel on the lid is more accurate in the photo of the lid than that of the photo of the pot itself (in the top photo of the baking pot, it appears greenish-blue or turquoise, but isn't). I use this heavy-lidded pot at least once a week.

This large blue Descoware casserole/Dutch oven with lid is gorgeous. The rich, gradient color and luster of the sky blue enamel on the lid is more accurate in the photo of the lid than that of the photo of the pot itself (in the top photo of the baking pot, it appears greenish-blue or turquoise, but isn't). I use this heavy-lidded pot at least once a week.

This large blue Descoware casserole/Dutch oven with lid is gorgeous and one of my favorites. The rich, gradient color and luster of the sky blue enamel on the lid is more accurate in the photo of the lid than that of the photo of the pot itself (in the top photo of the baking pot, it appears greenish-blue or turquoise, but isn't). I use this heavy-lidded pot at least once a week.

 

 

Retro Canisters and Carriers

The following kitchen canisters and cake carriers are NOT Descoware, but Decoware (notice the 's' is missing). The designs shown below are likely from the 1950s or 1960s. I thought they were cool and kitschy, fun for inclusion in decorating a retro or 'shabby chic' kitchen, so have included them here for fun and to show what else can be found, often for a fraction of what it's worth, at garage sales, flea markets, Goodwill, eBay, or online second-hand stores.

However, let me repeat: none of these vintage metal kitchen canisters or carriers were made by the Belgium cookware company Descoware.

The Decoware company made metal kitchen canisters, matching trays, and other metal home accessory items, as demonstrated by this vintage, four-piece Decoware kitchen canister set with cherries from the 1950s.

The Decoware company made metal kitchen canisters, matching trays, and other metal home accessory items, as demonstrated by this vintage, four-piece Decoware kitchen canister set with cherries from the 1950s.

 

Vintage Decoware metal canisters with rooster/chicken motif.

Vintage Decoware metal canisters with rooster/chicken motif.

 

Vintage Decoware metal canister set with yellow flowers.

Vintage Decoware metal canister set with yellow flowers.

 

Vintage Decoware tin cake carrier with old kitchen motif.

Vintage Decoware tin cake carrier with old kitchen motif.

 

Vintage Decoware cake carrier tin with climbing roses

Vintage Decoware cake carrier tin with climbing roses.

 

Another rare Decoware kitchen canister — a pale pink and black (1950s French influenced) canister with flowers (top photo), the company logo 'Decoware' is etched on the canister's metal bottom (bottom photo)

 

Another rare Decoware kitchen canister — a pale pink and black (1950s French influenced) canister with flowers (top photo), the company logo 'Decoware' is etched on the canister's metal bottom (bottom photo)

Vintage Decoware kitchen canister — a pale pink and black (French influenced) canister with flowers (top photo), the company logo 'Decoware' is etched on the canister's metal bottom (bottom photo)

 

Go to Descoware Photo Gallery, Page 2 >>

 

Submit Your Own Descoware Photos and/or Stories

We'll be adding more Descoware photos to the gallery and to a new "Descoware Stories" section as quickly as we can. If you have Descoware photos of your own that you would like to share, please click 'Contact Us' (the email link is provided in the left sidebar), attach a reasonable-quality jpeg (sized no larger than 100kb for the file and the graphic measuring no greater than 500px width) to the email. Please include your name (for photo credit), city/state or region, and provide a brief summary that describes the Descoware item and anything else of interest about it (e.g., how you found it or inherited it, how you use it).

 

Related Reading:
Descoware: Cast Iron That Warms Up Your Kitchen... Descoware Collecting and Cleaning Tips
Descoware: Vintage Cookware Still Popular... and a Bargain to Boot
Descoware Stories: Markley Descorama Farm Kitsch Set, Descoware Flame Beanpot
Descoware Stories: The Saucepan and the Cork
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Links to other sites for Descoware information and photos:

Descoware - A Fan Site for the Antique "Made in Belgium" Enamel Cookware
MeatHenge: Enameled Cast Iron goes POP !!!
MeatHenge: New Toy Day - Descoware 5 Quart Danish Oven

 

Source:
A Brief History of Descoware website, (http://www.youpickedawinner.com/desco_hist.html).