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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crown Lynn

The New Zealand Society of Potters have reported that there are more potters per head of population in NZ than in any other country.  In the heady days of the ‘60s and 70s, almost everyone in NZ seemed to be a potter, or if they weren’t, they certainly knew one. Craft shops were everywhere and the pottery produced was earthy in colour and texture, domestic in scale and intended for use.

Clay in New Zealand was first used to produce bricks and pipes, however, as more people with skills in pottery and ceramics travelled from Europe, the ceramics industry grew. The largest period of growth was the 1870s and 1880s as potteries closed in Britain and many potters travelled to New Zealand where the growing ceramics market welcomed them. It was not until some of the early companies decided to produce domestic ceramics that they became successful. Many of their techniques including slip casting and press moulding were used to produce ranges of domestic ceramic pieces.

These types of Ramekins are marked "Made in New Zealand".  I have included them because NZ is so close to Australia and the top ones show some degree of artistic merit, even though they are mass-produced.

High gloss, graduated brown glaze. The brown slip glaze applied over the base matt glaze to create the graduated contrast in colour. This glaze extends over the rim to the inside. The glaze is in perfect condition outside as well inside. The colours are fresh.

These ramekins were made in the early 1970s at the Titian factory under licence from Crown Lynn, who began in 1854 when Rice Owen Clark made pipes to drain his farmland by wrapping logs in clay and firing them. This led to making pipes for neighbours and eventually becoming the Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company.

During the Second World War, they produced millions of mugs and plates of varying quality for the American forces stationed in New Zealand and the Pacific, as well as tableware for the New Zealand military and domestic use. Quality improved and an increasing range of tableware eventually gained a reputation for being well made, in fact some was regarded as “unbreakable”.

Crown Lynn pottery was slipcast at the time and a trickle glaze technique was developed (as seen above) that is now sought after by collectors. In the late 1940s and early 1950s art pottery was developed. Until the late 1970s Crown Lynn was the largest producer of household pottery in the Southern Hemisphere.  In the late 1960s, Crown Lynn had an outlet at 3 Tivoli Street South Yarra, an upmarket suburb in Melbourne, Victoria. 

Crown Lynn bought Royal Grafton Fine China from Tams in the early 1970s. (More likely they just bought the name as the factory closed in 1972)  The New Zealanders were looking to expand into the UK and saw the acquisition of a local works as way of circumventing import quotas.  They believed that the Ottowa Agreement had made it difficult for New Zealand to compete in Britain.  They saw this acquisition as a means of accessing the US market.  In 1960, almost half of New Zealand’s ceramic production was exported to the U.K, yet thirty years later, almost all was imported.  Corporate neglect has been blamed for the ultimate demise of Crown Lynn.  

On the 5th of May 1989 it was announced that Crown Lynn would close.  The plant and equipment was sent to Goh Ban Huat Berhad in Malaysia.  Curiously, Temuka Homewares, part of Pacific Retail Group Ltd is a good selling line of ceramic tableware.  Pacific are the owners of Ceramco who bought out Crown Lynn. 

Crown Lynn became Ceramco in 1974 with the factory eventually closing in 1989. All assets were then sold to GBH Porcelain of Malaysia. Artists Rudolf Boelee and Robyne Voyce acquired the Crown Lynn New Zealand trading name in 1994. They started using old images of Crown Lynn wares as paintings. They now run the Pug Design Store in Christchurch that has developed a range of Crown Lynn wares including tea towels, cushions and cards depicting the company's most famous products.

The last set of slipware ramekins has that 60's/70's look, giving them style as well as practicality. They are made from a mustard glazed ceramic and feature a stylized floral relief design around the outsides. The bases of all 4 are stamped '1187 MADE IN NEW ZEALAND'. They are in very good condition. No chips or cracks visible. Each ramekin is 6cm tall, with a top opening diameter of 10.2cm, with 5cm handles.


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  2. Hi there, Crown Lynn is very collectible in NZ. I have a bunch of brown 70s ramekins in my cupboard which are very evocative of the era. They are signed by the potter but although they seem perfectly uniform, and yet handmade, it could have been any potter I spose. Wonder whether I should stop using them for weetbix and ricebubbles.

  3. The first of your Crown Lynn ramekins is "Country Fair", but was also referred to in Crown Lynn records as "bobbles". It was produced in at least three glaze mixes. 1970s.
    The second is called "Daisy". I think it was only ever finished in honey glaze. Also 1970s.
    There are many more Crown Lynn ramekins.