Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Name

Ramekin

Variant

Ramequin, Ramekin dish.

Pronounced

(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin

Function

English Noun

Plural

Ramekins

Hypernym

A type of dish

Purpose

Cooking

Etymology

French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


Meaning

1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.

-


Monday, August 27, 2018

Saywell Imports





Designer       
Not Known
Maker
Not Known
Marks
Embossed oval silver paper adhesive label to base of saucer marked “An Exotic Import by Saywell Imports.”
Material
Moulded glazed slip
Description
Three-piece set of brown single handled bowl with contrasting interior with geometric design to base and unglazed foot ring.  Short dished handle attached to exterior of bowl.
Dish is brown matching gloss glazed slipware, unglazed foot ring.  Swirl pattern in light brown to centre of saucer with matching colour on edge of saucer.
Lid is also gloss glazed in matching two tone brown with patches of lighter brown to two quadrants.
Condition
Good
Number
No number
Production Date
Late 1970s / early 1980s
Width at rim 2 sizes
Saucer 146mm
Bowl 93mm
Lid 97mm
Width at Base
Bowl 50mm
Depth
Bowl 45mm
Length (with handles)
130mm
Weight
Saucer 242gm
Bowl 208gm
Lid 128gm
Volume
175mm
Acquisition
Purchase
Salvo’s Ballarat
 24 Aug 2018
Rameking Reference Number
SAY 001-012



These ramekins were made in Japan and imported to Australia by Saywell Imports.  Paget Sayers journey in this business began in 1963 when he started Saywell Imports with partner Ian Murray. Initially based in his small home in Woolloomooloo and then Rochford street in Erskinville and later, Wentworth Avenue in Sydney’s CBD (better parking)  Saywell Imports brought a huge variety of household items , sourced worldwide.


.
Born in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse during the depression.  Orphaned at age 16 following the death of his mother, his father having died some 5 years earlier.  He began working at various jobs, even at age 19, working on a ship to England and working on an oil tanker and other trips before eventually returning to Sydney.  He worked as a salesman for a couple of years before starting his own business. 

Some of the keys to their success were profit-sharing with the staff, free lunches for staff (only sandwiches) and some of the staff could name their own salary. These strategies were considered novel and enlightened at the time but Paget likes to think it was his "inner-Buddha" nature. It was on an overseas buying trip that Paget discovered Bhuddism.  At its peak, there were about 50 employees. 

Paget is a philanthropist who devotes his time to Your Aid, who deliver charity providing education, clean water and medical services to rural communities in Cambodia and supporting the PAL Buddhist school in Sydney.


Saywell Group,was a long-time highly successful furniture distribution business in Australia and New Zealand. Paget later said “I had a very successful business called Saywell Imports, but when I was 45, I decided that when I hit 50 I’d like to retire. So, when I was 50, I sold the business to a company who ruined it within four years.”  Later, it was sold 2008.  A company called “Saywell Importing” on the Gold Coast is not connected.  


Monday, June 25, 2018

CULA Potteries









Designer       
Ken Day?
Maker
CULA Potteries
Marks
Hand Painted in black “Cula D65”
Material
Mould formed slipware.
Description
Cream coloured exterior of bowl with offset unglazed foot ring. Yellow and black interior glaze with sgraffito wavy lines to interior. Reinforces semicircular handle attached to top edge of rim of bowl.
Condition
Very Good,
Number
D 65
Production Date
Before 1958
Width at rim
113mm
Width at Base
55mm
Depth
48mm
Weight
143gm
Volume
237ml (1 cup in old money)
Acquisition
Purchase
Daylesford
23 June 2018
Rameking Reference Number
CUL 001, 002


Despite years of collecting, sometimes a surprise comes along.  This one happened recently when I found these two ramekins hiding on the bottom shelf of a retro/antique store in Daylesford Victoria.  They are from CULA Pottery, yet another small manufacturer that began after the Second-World-War.  In 1946 Ex-Servicemen Ronald Frank Curnow (1914-1998), originally a Queensland boy, later of Narrabeen and William Langley (combined the first two initials of their surnames to form CuLa) purchased a small working pottery in Grenwich, Sydney (I don't know which pottery).  In 1948 the partnership was dissolved.  Just who continued, I also don’t know.  In 1950 the works were relocated to larger premises at Brookvale in the Wahringah Shire in Sydney.  Into this pottery came master potter and mould maker Ken Day.  Ken had previously worked for Diana for many years.  He made moulds for CULA and other potteries at this time.  It is better than even money that he made the moulds for these ramekins.  He began his own pottery “DAYEL” in 1955 and operated it until 1957. The CULA pottery closed in 1958, most likely yet another victim of the trade agreement with Japan.  Ken then set up as a contract modeler in the old Martin Boyd pottery.  CULA made a variety of slip cast wares including these ramekins glazed in a variety of dark orange through to brown.  Like many potteries of the time, cultural appropriation was not considered and some were hand decorated with Aboriginal motifs or flowers and marked “Cula” either painted or inscribed.  Unusually, these ramekins have an offset base that makes them sit on an angle.  






Saturday, June 23, 2018

Maxwell & Williams






Designer       
Maxwell & Williams

Maker
Maxwell and Williams

Marks
Transfer print to base and side.  Base “Maxwell& Williams Designer Homewares Homestead first quality porcelain Dishwasher, Freezer, Microwave and Conventional Oven safe.”
Transfer to side “Maxwell & Williams Ramekin Designer Homewares The Homestead Collection”
Material
Mould formed porcelain.

Description
Cream coloured bowl with thickened rim and cream interior and unglazed foot ring. Transfer printed (as above).

Condition
Very Good, small chip to rim of one bowl.

Number
No number

Production Date
1910s

Width at rim 2 sizes
98mm
107mm

Width at Base
90mm

Depth
68mm



Weight
285gm

Volume
375ml

Acquisition
Purchase
Salvos Store Norman St Ballarat
22 June 2018
Rameking Reference Number
HAG 001, 002

Question?                           When is a ramekin not a ramekin?

Answer;                              When it’s a bowl.

Just because you call a bowl a ramekin doesn’t make it so.  These bowls made by Maxwell and Williams have the word “Ramekin” printed on the side.  Well, they can call their product whatever they like, but by my definition, they are bowls.  Beautifully made but still bowls.  Nevertheless, theirs is still a story that needs to be told.  Don’t look for much on the web because you won’t find it.  They are a private company owned by a very private family, so I won’t tell you too much.

Maxwell and Williams are yet another success story created by migrants escaping the chaos of post-war Europe.  The Maxwell and Williams story is an interesting one.  Heinrich (Harry) and Anna Grundmann, German migrants, arrived in Australia on the 17th of January 1952 aboard the migrant ship “Cyrenia”; a creaking old Greek ship built in 1911.  The ship sailed from Piraeus in Greece to Fremantle Western Australia.  Another website states that they were holocaust survivors.



On Board were 6 people named Grundmann, only Heinrich and Anna travelled on to Melbourne.  After working as a salesman, Harry decided to go it alone.  He began his own company H.A.G, combining his and Anna’s initials.  The company began life in a small garage at their home in Clinton Street in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton East.

Their story is one of talent seizing opportunity.  The business began at just the right time because Australia had signed a trade agreement with Japan in 1957.  The grandfather of the current Japanese Prime Minister Abe signed the agreement with our then Trade-Minister; ”Black Jack” McEwan, opening the door to a range of imports not available previously.  (It also almost killed our studio pottery industry).  It was abrave thing for the Post-War Government to do.

Maxwell and Williams is just one member of the  HAG Import Corporation (Australia) Pty Ltd, registered on the 17th of June 1975 and operating from a purpose-built warehouse in Millers Road Brooklyn Victoria Australia.  Their Action Plan states; “H.A.G. Import Corporation (Australia) Pty Ltd (H.A.G.) is a family company that has been selling homewares in Australia for over 35 years. H.A.G. is the sole Australian importer and distributor for the brand names Maxwell & Williams, Casa Domani, Doozie, Headline, Krosno and Ritzenhoff.”

Maxwell and Williams are Max Grundmann, son of Harry and Anna and Bill (William) Ryan, Max’s business partner.  The company operates in over fifty countries worldwide and employs around one hundred people.  Max was studying at Monash University in Melbourne when he realised that he had inherited a love of sales from Harry.  He joined the company in 1974 and took over when Harry suffered a heart attack in 1978.  That is when Bill joined the company.  Bill had a background in finance.




The business really took off when they marketed the “Krosno” brand and the Maxwell and Williams name was born in 1995 when Max was staying in Europe.  After doodling “Maxwell and Williams” on a paper table cloth the name was born.  I believe that this piece of paper is now framed and hanging in their offices.

They also have a range called "White Basics" that have a "Ramekin" with fluted sides, that has similar dimensions.  Much of the fine porcelain produced these days is made in China.  Even though these do not have a country of origin marked on the, I think it reasonable to conclude that they are of Chinese origin.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Holmburg, Karl


Designer       
Not Known
Maker
Karl Holmburg
Marks
Sweden 501 impressed to base with logo
Material
Glazed earthenware
Description
Small rectangular bowl with rounded corners sloping to base.  Heavy green speckled gloss glaze to interior and exterior.  Unglazed foot ring.  Handle extending from upper third of exterior of bowl, grooved on top.
Condition
Excellent
Number
501 impressed to base
Production Date
Late 1960s
Width at rim
95mm
Width at Base
60mm
Depth
40mm
Length (with handle)
160mm
Weight
Varying from 151 to 180 gm
Volume
150ml
Acquisition
Purchase
E-Bay
1 November 2017
Rameking Reference Number
HOL 001-007

Pickings have been a little slim on the ramekin front lately, so it came as a surprise when these came up on E-Bay recently.  Almost unknown in Australia and still rare in their native Sweden, these ramekins are unusual in that they were made by a company that specialised in wooden products in the pre-internet days.

The large ramekin with lid is approximately 22cm wide (including handle) x 110mm high.  The opening is approximately 120mm wide and the base is approximately 95mm wide.  It weighs approximately 670 grams. Impressed to the base is "Sweden 520-2" and makers mark and there is a sticker on the lid.  The smaller ramekin with pourer and lid is approximately 16omm wide (including handle) x 80mm high.  The opening is approximately 75mm wide and the base is approx. 65mm wide.  It weighs approximately 245 grams.  On the base is "Sweden 520-2" and makers mark and there is also a sticker on the lid on this piece.  The stickers read "Karl Holmburg Gotene UGNSELDFAST (Heat Resistant) Made in Sweden".  The wooden tray is approx. 500mm long x 100mm wide x 20mm high and has a heat branding stamp.

This pottery ramekin/tapas set was made in the late 1960s in Sweden by Karl Napoleon Holmburg (1883-1955).  The set comprises 4 square ramekins, 1 large ramekin with lid, 1 smaller ramekin (saucier) with pourer & lid and the wooden serving board of Bangkok Teak (Tectona Grandis).   In those days, Teak was an expensive, exclusive timber used for high end products.  It was known as “Burmese Teak”, because at the time, half of the world’s teak came from Burma (today’s Myanmar) and was used for furniture and small wooden products. 

Karl Holmburg, a Carpenter, began making furniture in the early 1920s at Gotene in Vastra Gotland, Sweden.  He started by working with his father Anders Johan Holmburg, also a Carpenter in the family business that Dad began in 1903. They initially made exclusive designer furniture to order for the larger furniture store such as Nordiska Kompaniet (NK)  in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Anders died in 1927.
The company expanded slowly over the next 30 years and by the early 1950s, they employed around 20 staff.  At that time, they restructured and production switched to teak products for the home, mainly kitchen items such as trays and bowls. 

Karl’s sons took over the running of the company with elder son Karl-Eric in charge.  In the 1960s, the company launched its own teak cutlery series by which time they had around 100 staff and were Sweden’s largest maker of teak products.  This couldn’t last and by the late 1960s, fashions had changed and despite attempts to diversify, the company was bankrupt by 1973.  Teak had become much more widespread and commonplace by then.

It is odds-on that the tray was made by Karl’s company but  it is likely that the ramekins themselves were made by Rörstrand, now part of Iittala, having moved their production to Sri Lanka and Hungary.   In 1926 the company moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg and again from Gothenburg to larger premises at Lidköping in 1936. In 1983 Rörstrand was bought by Arabia and in 1987 they merged with Gustavsbergs Porslinfabrik.  In 1990 Rorstrand were taken over by the Finnish Hackman Group.  Between 1960 and 1990 Rörstrand had several owners, including Uppsala-Ekeby, Finnish Wärtsilä and Hackman and Gustavsberg .  Check out my post for them for more information.

Iittala is a design company from Finland that specializes in housewares.  In December 2005 their factory in Lidköping closed, ending almost 280 years of local manufacture. The former porcelain factory is now the Rörstrand Centre containing a museum, restaurant, art gallery and outlet store.  The museum contains one of the best collections of porcelain in Europe.

I should point out that none of the Rörstrand ceramic designs are in any way similar to these ramekins and to further confuse things, as mentioned earlier, they were taken over by Upsala-Ekeby in 1964.  (Uppsala-Ekeby began manufacturing porcelain in Uppsala in the 1960s because of increasing sales.) There are some similarities in colour and design with a few of the Uppsala-Ekeby products.


The products had various burned stamps, stickers and labels over the life of the company.  They are marked “Karl Holmburg AB Akta Teak Gotene Sweden” or “Karl Holmburg AB Genuine teak Gotene Sweden”.  The branded ones also have a number that may be a model and/or size designation. There is a label with the ramekins written in Swedish. (Not one of my languages, but here goes; - )

“Your beautiful ramekins and beautiful Bangkok teak tray will become more beautiful if they are used properly.  Do not expose the ramekins to high heat and never put them in a dishwasher.  Clean after use, by washing or wiping off with lukewarm water and immediately drying on a towel. They should be seasoned with cooking oil or paraffin oil occasionally.”

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mystery Maker Marked "Michelle Dubois"




Designer       
Michelle Dubois
Maker
Michelle Dubois
Marks
Incised “Country Life” by Michelle Dubois “Australia” to indented base
Material
Glazed slipware
Description
Mould formed ramekin and plate combination apparently made for a child.  Ramekin set to side of plate.  Hand painted animals to plate. Exterior of bowl painted green with interior streaked yellow-ochre colour.
Condition
Very good
Number
No number
Production Date
Not known
Width at rim
112mm
Width at Base
220mm
Depth
47mm
Length (with handle)
260mm
Weight
gm
Volume
250ml
Acquisition
Purchase
Salvos Store Daylesford
Rameking Reference Number
DUB 001


It has been a long time since my last post.  Lots have happened and this little treasure has been on my shelf for quite a while.  I have not found any information about this maker and would appreciate any assistance.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Arabia


Designer        
Ulla Procopé (1921-1968)
Maker
Arabica
Marks
Stamped “Arabica Finland” to base
Flame motif above
Material
Glazed stoneware
Description
Mould formed, heavy brown matte glazed to inside and outside of bowl.  Indented pourer to outside of rim.  Flattened rim extending outwards from bowl.  Hollowed straight stem handle angled slightly upward from outside of rim.  Unglazed flat circular base.
Condition
Very Good
Number
No number
Production Date
Late 1960s
Width at rim
130mm
Width at Base
65mm
Depth
43mm
Length (with handle)
192mm
Weight
288gm
Volume
250ml
Acquisition
Mill Antiques, Daylesford Victoria.
18 Dec 2016
Rameking Reference Number
ARA 001

This ramekin is shown in the Arabia catalogue as a “Sauce Boat”..  It is more appropriately considered a “saucier”, or as they refer to them in some of their literature as “open sauce boats.”  The closest in design to those in a catalogue is the “Ruska” design.  This isn’t one, but is similar, so it was probably made in the 1970’s.

The Arabia factory was set up near Helsinki, Finland, in 1873 by the Swedish company Rörstrand. They chose Finland for its close proximity to Russia, where they wanted to expand their market. Within a few years the Arabia factory was producing half of Finland's total ceramics output. The Arabia factory was managed by Gustav Herlitz who had previously worked for Rörstrand in Sweden. The range of wares was expanded to include art pottery, domestic and utility wares, sanitary wares, tiles and even bricks.

During the first World War Arabia passed into Finnish ownership and by the outbreak of the second World War was larger than any producer of porcelain in Europe in terms of output.  Expansion continued during the war and into the second half of the twentieth century. Affiliations were forged with other companies and by the end of the century Arabia and Rörstrand were again part of the same group.  Rather than me stealing from their website, it is probably better if you go there and see their story for yourself.

The designer of 'Ruska' series was Ulla Procopé (1921-1968), who worked for Arabia from 1948 to 1968.  She's also creator of the beautiful and practical - unfortunately also discontinued - fireproof 'Liekki' (Flame) series, (see next para) and the gorgeous hand-painted 'Valencia',  'Anemone', 'Rosmariini', 'Koralli' and the colorful 'Purpurinjenkka' pattern.  Production of 'Ruska'  discontinued in 1999.

The stamp to the base is not shown in any of the lists for Arabia.  Above the three crenelated crown is a flame motif.  The stamp is only partial and the word “Arabia” is only partially legible.  This sauce-boat is most likely from the later part of her career.  The simplicity of design is classic scandinavian.