Antique & Traditional Kitchen Tools

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Welcome to Antique and Traditional Kitchen Tools! Since I created “Basic Kitchen Tools” in a previous article, I wanted to also list a general library of older traditional kitchen tools as well. This is intended as a basics list as well as the previous article. Luxury and specialty items will have their own article following this one. This article will also only list non-electrical and some mechanical items used in the kitchen. 

Key:

(*) Suggests an alternative tool for the same use.

(~) Explains the function of a tool. This can also suggest a different variety of tools.

(E) I consider it essential in my kitchen.

~

  • Flatware box (*Any flatware tray)(~ Sometimes called a dowry box. This special box keeps silverware safe and neat.)
  • Compost bin (E~ Looks like a small traditional tin trash can, with holes in the lid. Holds food waste inside until moved to a compost pile outside.)
  • Dutch oven (E~ Cast Iron circular pot with a lid. Used to bake bread and cook a variety of foods.) (Note: Cast Iron does not mix with acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes! It will make your food taste bad and make you sick.)
  • Casserole dish (*Metal baking pan)(~ Glass or Pyrex large baking dish. Became popular in 1945.)
  • Variety slicers (*Knife or wire)( ~ Used to cut eggs, cheese, bananas, and apples. Invented for convenient, uniform cutting.)
  • Eggbeater (Mechanical)(*Fork, Whisk) (~ Pair of whisks attached to a mechanical rotating handle. Known as the early mixer and first patented in 1856.)
  • Ball/Mason jars (E~ Must-have for canning and storage. Newest canning technology that followed the older animal bladder and gulf wax canning methods.)
  • Rubber lids (E~ Used for Ball/Mason jars. Rubber seals are painted on the underside of the lid to create suction and seal the jar when the jar cools down from a high temperature.)
  • Jar band (E~ Used to fasten down rubber lids for Ball/Mason jars. They can be removed after the jar is suctioned closed, to be reused on another jar. For dry goods storage, you must keep the band on the jar with a lid.)
  • Trivet (E~ A hard raised surface for hot vessels to rest away from a heat source. Usually made of cast iron, brick, pottery, etc.)
  • Food mill (~ Specialty tool, a hand-crank funnel to make small grains ground into flour. Older forms of a “mill” is big as a small house and as small as a mortar and pestle.)
  • Meat grinder (~ Specialty tool for making sausage and minced meat from different animal body parts.)
  • Nut and seafood cracker (~ Specialized tool to crack tough shells.)
  • Honey dipper (* Spoon)(~ Tool to retain most honey in a scoop and drizzle over food.)
  • Egg separator (*Whisk) (~Specialty tool, A wire bent inward in a circle with handle. Usef to catch the yolk and separate the whites.)
  • Corn shucker (~Specialty tool, a wood stake with a finger loop, used to strip the leaves from the corn without hurting the hands.)
  • Stockpot (~ Large pot used to make a large quantity of meat or vegetable stock/broth.)
  • Cookie cutters (*Wide mouth glass, fork, knife)(* Specialty tool for cookie shapes cut in the dough before baking.)
  • Butter/Oil brush (~ Used for bread, cookies, and other foods to brown a surface with butter.)
  • Pie pan (~ Bakeware for fruit and meat pies.)
  • Pie weight (~ Ceramic balls used to weigh down a crust as it bakes.)
  • Punch bowl (~ For drinks at large parties. Some sets come with cups and a ladle.)

Traditional Kitchen Tools

Listed here are all the tools I found concerning 18th-century cooking. None of these are electric or mechanical. All listed are based on Townsend’s website for 18th-century cookery.

Redware (Pottery):

  • Mixing bowl (~ Large multi-purpose bowl.)
  • Handled bowl (~ Often referred to as a soup bowl or a large mixing bowl with handle.)
  • Pancheon (~ Bowl that is wider on the top than the bottom. Used to let bread rest before baking or let milk and cream separate.)
  • Milk pan (~ Pan with a pour spout.)
  • Pie pan (~ Pan used to bake pies in.)
  • Grease lamp (~ Medium to a shallow bowl with handle, middle of the bowl has a spout for the wick. Used for a light at night.)
  • Cooking pot (~ General cooking pot for all hot food items.)
  • Pipkin (~ Small handled pot used to melt and heat foods in.)
  • Chocolate pot (~ Tall pipkin with a pour spout for melting chocolate.)
  • Lidded crock: ½ gallon, quart-size (~ For older canning methods in larger quantities.)
  • Pickling jar (~Medium canning jar.)
  • Lidded jar ( 2,4 oz) (~ Smaller sizes of canning jars.)
  • Mustard jar (~ Rounded smaller jar for condiments.)
  • Tankard (~ Large mug for drinks like beer or mead.)
  • Pitcher (~ Large vessel with pour spout for pouring water.)( Not necessarily a food-related item)
  • Jug (~ Used to store and pour wines.)
  • Beer bottle (~ Used to store and pour beers.)

Wood:

  • Spoons (~ Hand-carved eating utensil. -Also used for cooking.)
  • Bowl (Wood//gourd) (~ Used to eat from, and to hold foods.)
  • Mortar & pestle ( ~ Small mill for grinding down spices and herbs.)
  • Ladle (~ Large curved spoon used for liquids.)
  • Masher (~A big post used to beat food into a mash.)
  • Dough bowl (~ Unvarnished, unoiled wood bowl that contains yeast bacteria. Dough left to rest in the bowl allows the yeast to eat the sugars in the dough and create bacteria bread or sourdough.)
  • Rolling pin (~ Large dowel with handles used to flatten dough.)
  • Water bottle (Gourd) (~ Dried gourd used to store water for travel.)
  • Canteen (Pine or oak)(~ Wood box sealed to store water for travel.)
  • Butter churn (~ Large barrel with a post handle rising from a hole in the lid. Used to beat the milk into butter.)
  • Bottle box (~ Travel-friendly compartmented box for glassware.)
  • Bucket (~ Used for all manner of things from washing dishes to taking food scraps to the livestock.)

Tin, Copper, Forged:

  • Cook’s knife (like a Santoku knife), Trade knife, Trade long knife, Paring knife ( See Guide to Knives for details.)                                                   
  • Dutch oven (~ Explained in basic kitchen tools.)(Note: Cast Iron does not mix with acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes! It will make your food taste bad and make you sick.)
  • Cast iron pot (~ Large pot with feet, meant to rest on or over a fire. Used for large amounts of food.)(Note: Cast Iron does not mix with acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes! It will make your food taste bad and make you sick.)
  • Spider skillet, folding skillet, skillet (~ Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Coffee pot (~ Large tall pot with handle and spout. Within is a stem with a mesh sieve used to separate the coffee grounds from the coffee.)
  • Teapot (Kettle) (~ Smaller stout vessel for boiling water.)
  • Trade Kettle (Looks like a bucket but is a cooking pot, great for travel.)
  • Boiler (~ Large tall pot for boiling water.)
  • Cooking pot (~ Rounded large pot for all types of food.)
  • Rotisserie (~ Metal spined fork used to rest on two ‘Y’ shaped sticks to rotate a chicken or other animal. -Ensures meat will cook evenly over a fire.)
  • Bail (~ A hook-and-chain hung over a fire to hold a pot.)
  • Trivet (~Explained above in Antique tools section.)
  • Coal scraper ( Long iron rod with a perpendicular metal rectangle attached. Used to move coals in an oven for cleaning and positioning.)
  • Coal poker (~ Similar to a coal scraper, but the end of the iron rod has a curved hook used to move wood in a fireplace.)
  • Tongs (~ Used to pick up coals to put on top of a dutch oven for baking.)
  • Knife & fork (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Grinder & grater(~ Small handheld tool used for large spices like nutmeg.)
  • Wire fork (~ Used in long-distance cooking, like over a fire.)
  • Spatula (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Ladle (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Strainer (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Tin cup (~ For all-purpose drinks.)
  • Tin plate (~ A modest eating surface.)
  • Tin serving bowl (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Pewter plate (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Baking sheet (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Tart tin (~ Small mold for sweeter baking with fruits.)
  • Measuring cup (~Explained in basic kitchen tools; However measurement tools were inconsistent at this time for cooking.)
  • Funnel (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Corkscrew (~ Tool to remove corks from bottles.)
  • Flask (~ For distilled alcohol consumption and travel storage.)
  • Canteen (~ Travel container for water.)
  • Bowl (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Plate (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Washtub (~ Holds water to wash dishes in.)
  • Toaster (~ Iron rod with two round, semicircle wires placed a few inches apart. Used to lean bread on and move closer to fire to toast.)

Glassware:

  • Spice bottles (~Explained in basic kitchen tools.)
  • Hand blown mallet bottle (~ For brew storage like beer, mead, etc.)

Misc items:

  • Horn Tools like spoons and tumblers (~ Hand carved. Tumblers are like shot glasses for distilled alcohol.)
  • Reed pot scrubber (~ Made of natural materials, used as an abrasive surface like a stack of reeds tied together to scrub off food from pots and pans.)
  • Cotton flour bags (~For dry goods storage.)
  • Hog’s bladder (~ Used for old-style canning. This is a surface that is wetted down, stretched, and tied to a jar to dry and create a reliable barrier between the food and the outside air. Keeps food for long periods of time when properly used.)
  • Corks (~ Older form of closing off a jar, jug, or bottle. The material is porous, and allows air to escape in small amounts, letting the brew within to stay fizzy and not flat.)

It’s amazing how many little types of tools were essential in a 1950’s kitchen, let alone an 18th-century hearth! It was rare to see such a wide variety of tools in an average kitchen, but it shows how many different things could be used in a variety of ways. When I see these tools, I hope to be able to eventually procure them, and use them effectively and with more skill. In doing so, I hope to connect with how we have prepared food in the past.

If you are interested in the 18th-century cooking tools, feel free to browse Townsend’s catalog online! All references in this article from Townsends belong to Jas.Townsend and Son Inc. https://www.townsends.us/

Thanks for reading!

S.C.

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Header Image is free from pixabay.com.

Work Cited:

Jas Townsend and son, “Townsends”, “https://www.townsends.us/, © Townsends, Date Accessed: 07/10/20.”

Meredith, Dana.”What You Should Know About Your Heirloom Pyrex Dishes”. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/know-heirloom-pyrex-dishes/, © 2020 RDA Enthusiast Brands, Date Accessed: 07/06/20.”

Brasher, Sam “ When was the manual egg beater invented and how did they come up with this idea?” “https://www.quora.com/When-was-the-manual-egg-beater-invented-and-how-did-they-come-up-with-this-idea?share=1, Posted Septemeber 22, 2016, © Quora Inc. 2020, Date Accessed: 07/07/20.”

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