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Graniteware is a solid step back in time at Blackfoot fair |

Graniteware is a solid step back in time at Blackfoot fair

BLACKFOOT — Step into the Antiques Building at the Eastern Idaho State Fair and step back in time.

Among the toys, Depression glass, knickknacks, saddles and tack — is this year’s featured display of graniteware, the enameled cookware, roasters, canners, stock and soup pots, plates, cups, ladles, strainers and dish pans, widely used around the 1950s and beyond. Graniteware comes in a variety of colors. It can be speckled, or, swirled, or plain and painted with a logo or any theme imaginable.


“We choose something different every year for this display. I like the graniteware, it’s pretty and makes me think of my grandparents to see things like this, my grandmother had a graniteware teapot,” said Antiques department volunteer Genese Brower, of Blackfoot. “You come away with a better appreciation and understanding with these kinds of displays.”

Rosa Thornley and husband, Todd Thornley, of Tremonton, Utah, were first-time visitors at the fair and the antiques building. Rosa Thornley, a professor at Utah State University, in Logan, who teaches farm literature and culture, was especially intrigued by the graniteware collection.

“We like this era and have pieces of it. I admire the burgundy-brown swirled pieces, I’ve never seen them before,” she said. “It’s fun to see them all together.”

The couple decided to visit the fair after hearing about it from her students.

“I had heard a lot about this fair from my students who were raised on farms and ranches,” she said.

Graniteware is made by fusing porcelain to a steel core at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. A steel core gives the cookware strength and distributes heat evenly. Food doesn’t stick to the porcelain or alter the taste, according to graniteware.com, the website of graniteware by Columbian Home Products, a Terre Haute, Ind., company. The company has manufactured graniteware since 1906. The website states that graniteware has been America’s cookware since 1871. The website says that porcelain is a natural product, absent of unhealthy chemicals.

Another fairgoer also was intrigued by the display. Growing up on a ranch in the San Diego area, Barbara Warren, now of Rockford, reminisced about cooking with graniteware on a campfire and in the kitchen.

“When I wasn’t cooking I was helping with branding many, many years ago,” she said. “I started helping with the cooking when I was in the third grade. I remember we had a great big coffee pot like that one,” she said, as she pointed to one in the display. “Graniteware lasts forever and we also used great, big, heavy, cast-iron frying pans and Dutch ovens. Both were used all the time in the 1950s and it’s still going strong and used a lot today.”

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