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




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




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.


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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

John Elischer

Hello sports fans, you have come to the wrong place.  How 'bout those Ravens?  World champions in a sport where only one country competes.  But what a run, 11 seconds, that's Olympic qualifying time.  Anyway, I follow Green Bay, but read on. 

Elischer Pottery was started in Sandringham in 1947 by well-known sculptor John (Johann Wolfgang) Elischer (1891-1966) and his son, also named John, (known as Wolly). John (Snr) was born in Vienna and trained at the Academy of Vienna from 1908 to 1911 and was an Associate of the Royal Academy Vienna.  He won the Prix de Rome in 1909.  This was a scholarship for art students, although his name does not appear on the list of winners, he may have been awarded a second prize.  This is no shame because Manet and Monet both failed to win the Prix de Rome.  Johan later studied in Paris (1910-1911) under the even more famous August Rodin.   

After serving with the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War 1, he practiced as a sculptor in Vienna and designed figures for Austrian pocelain factories.   In 1924, he became the Art Director at Dittman-Brunner, an Austrian light fitting and novelty manufacturer.  He won an international competition in 1926 to design a memorial in South Africa for General Botha.  An excellent example of his early work, the sculpture, 'Foundryman' is held in the Eckhart G. Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  This piece captures the intense concentration, grace and skill involved in pouring metal.

John migrated to Australia in 1935. While living in Douglas Street Toorak in 1951, John won the 200 Guinea prize for a design for a jubilee medal for Australian Primary School and pre school children.  The medal was given to the school children of Australia in 1951 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Federation of Australia. The design was chosen after a competition, with the valuable cash prize of two hundred guineas. It was won by John for his depiction of a man hand-sowing wheat.  The wheat represents the seven States of Australia on the other side of the medal, at left 1901, at right 1951 in tiny letters near ground right, J.W.E. (obverse) Some of his notable sculptures are busts of Archbishop Daniel Mannix and Television great Graham Kennedy in clay.

Elischer, P. Hurry and John Farmer together held an exhibition of works at the Atheaeum, Collins Street Melbourne, in June 1937. The catalogue lists 10 pieces of sculpture by 'John Wolfgang Elischer, A.R.A. (Associate of the Royal Academy) (Vienna)' (Copy in Museum Victoria History and Technology Department

Elischer also received commissions for sculptures including the King George V Memorial in Bendigo (1938),  The statue was unveiled by the then Premier of Victoria, Mr Dunstan amidst complaints that local materials had not been used in the making of the statue.  He also made a bronze fountain for businessman and philanthropist Sir Russell Grimwade in Toorak  In 1946 Huntley Pottery in Glenhuntly began making slip cast items designed by John Elischer. 

John (Senior) died in 1966 and the business was continued by his son John (Wolly), until 1987 when it was sold.  Prior to that, at some time, he started making pieces the brand NCP.

The business continues today as “Unique Ceramics” at 31 - 33 Beaumaris Parade, Highett, Victoria. You probably have some of their stuff without knowing it. Have a look at the bottom of that ceramic port bottle of beer stein from the Dandenong Octoberfest.  In 2002, Elischer Street in Canberra was named in his honour.  Unique Ceramics continues to use the “Elischer” brand today on some of their wares.


  1. I know the ramekin wall -- and the Elischers.my father vin riley used to buy the item for sale at Buckley and Nunns in the fifties/sixties and many Sundays we used to visit Wally's pottery in Sandringham Road. While the suave john was the designer, Wally did the work.

    Their best design I think was a water jug for Johnny Walker whiskey, although some of their ramikins -- the curved, leaf shaped ones -- were design beauties as well. Our house was downing in ramekins.

  2. Actually I remember the day Wally first showed my dad the leaf design ramekin.We used to visit the pottery after mass on Sundays (Sacred heart Church is up the hill from the pottery and Wally always offered beer). John was in the background, more or less retired, and living nonetheless with his son in Beaumaris. So we'd come together occasionally if only so that John could kiss my mother's hand!

    The problem with the ramekins was that -- with the semi square ones at least -- they had a rough glaze -- and the top round ones, had such a narrow handle that they could easily tip. But the left handed leaf shaped ones were a design break through.

    Combine that with a splayd fork/knife/spoon combo
    -- which came out an t the same time and you had entertaining down to a T.

    If ramekins had ruled we could have saved ourselves the polluting horror of take away containers and with the splayd, plastic forks!

  3. How I remember the Elischer Pottery factory in Sandringham Road. My grandparents lived next door so I did spend a fair amount of time in there when visiting in school holidays. Great memories from the early/mid 1950's. Daryl