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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Martin Boyd / Tom Sanders

Tom Sanders
Martin Boyd Pottery
Incised “TS” “Martin Boyd Australia” under glaze to base
Slipware bowl with balloon sides and circular base and stem handle.  Brown glaze to interior of bowl with brown banding to exterior, excised with a zig zag pattern.

Production Date
Length (with handle)
Camberwell Sunday Market 28 Aug 2011
Rameking Reference Number
MBS 001

In 1946, while Guy Boyd was studying at the East Sydney Technical College, he worked at night with Norma Flegg in her basement pottery in Cremorne. They originally used the name “Guy Boyd” incised on the base of their ramekins, but in 1948, they began using the name “Martin Boyd” when Norma’s husband Leonard joined the company.  Guy returned to Victoria in 1950 and the company in Sydney continued to use the name until it ceased production in 1964.  They also used a variety of other names as they produced pottery for department stores and commemorative wares.

 This ramekin is incised "Martin Boyd" to the base. Many people can be confused by this and think that Martin was another of the Boyds’, yes he was, a writer, not a potter.  But Guy used Martin as it is actually one his middle names. Why did he choose to use his middle name on these items?  Who knows. 

The initials “TS” refer to Thomas Percy Sanders who was born on the 16th of February 1924.  Others record his birth in 1921 or 1925, but it was actually 1924.  After serving in the Royal Australian Air Force as an Aircraftsman in WW2, Tom moved north from Melbourne and started working in Guy Boyd's Sydney pottery as a potter and ceramic decorator. He moved back to Melbourne in 1949 and worked at the Hoffmann pottery in East Brunswick. He then spent a year with Arthur Boyd at Murrumbeena in suburban Melbourne before setting up his own pottery "T & E Sanders" at Eltham in 1950 and later “Dorian Sands”.

The Martin Boyd Pottery developed their own high quality glazes and at its height, employed up to eighty people. They also used a variety of other names as they produced pottery for department stores and commemorative wares. Many of the ramekins I have that are signed as Martin Boyd are smaller than his "Guy Boyd" ones. There are larger ones with the same signature most with reverse matching colours. So there it is folks. Just because it says Boyd on the bottom, it ain’t necessarily so. Collect them just the same.  If you are lucky enough to find some that have “TS” on them, buy them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crown Pyrex

Crown Pyrex
Crown Pyrex
Moulded ”Crown Pyrex” to base in cartouche with stylized three pointed crown emblem above with pattern Number below
Milk Pyroceram squared glass bowl with sides tapering to circular footring, handle moulded to one corner. 18ct gold leaf pattern with two strawberries below to two opposite sides.  Gold lining decoration firing occurs after each piece has been individual hand painted with a very fine film of liquid gold and is then fired at 750 degrees C to 850 degrees C.
0-RS-12 with each ramekin having a number moulded to the right side of the cartouche
Production Date
No earlier than 1972
Length (with handle)
Vinnies Oakleigh 12 August 2011
 Very Good, no chips or scratches
No, I have not forgotten that this is for Australian Art Studio ramekins, but I could only resist these for so long.  If you have ever been op-shopping anywhere in Australia then you would have seen these ramekins for sure.  The shape remains the same but the outside design varies.  Everywhere I went, I would see them on the shelves with the other ramekins that I have collected and I never even considered them.  Because they are so rugged in construction, they still survive in full sets.  These are marked with the words “Crown Pyrex” moulded into the base.  They were made by an Australian company that started out as Crown Crystal Glass in 1926 following the amalgamation of a number of small glass making hand production works. These were the Balmain Glass Works, Crown Glass Works and the Crystal Glass Works.

Look into any Australian family’s cupboards any time between the 1920s and the 1960s and you would be sure to find wares from the Crown Crystal Glass Company, who had a virtual monopoly.  They produced some distinctly Australian patterns.  Most (although not all) of the early designs are Crown’s own, reflecting the Australian cultural obsession of the first half of the 20th century with native flora and fauna.  Their quality did not reach that of American pressed glass until after the second-world war, and their production values could be quite low, but that is part of their appeal.

Pyrex is a name for glassware introduced by Corning Incorporated in 1915.  Originally Pyrex was made from borosilicate glass.  In the 1940s the composition was changed for some products to tempered soda lime glass that is now the most common form of glass used in glass bakeware and has a higher mechanical strength so is less vulnerable to breakage when dropped (the main cause of breakage in glass bakeware).

These ramekins are made from a product called Pyroceram.  The manufacture of this material involves a process of controlled crystallization.  NASA classifies it as a “Glass-Ceramic” product.  Glass Ceramic materials share many properties with both glass and ceramics.  They have an amorphous phase and one or more crystalline phases and are produced by a “controlled crystallization” in contrast to a spontaneous crystallization that is not usually wanted in glass manufacturing.  Glass ceramics usually have between 30% [m/m] and 90% [m/m] crystallinity and yield an array of materials with interesting thermomechanical properties.

Pyroceram is a material developed and trademarked by Corning Glass in 1953.  Capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 450 degrees C (840 F), its development evolved from Cornings’ work in developing photosensitive glass.  Corning credits S Donald Stookey with its discovery; while he was conducting research he noted that an accidentally overheated fragment of glass resisted breakage when dropped. 

Another Australian Pottery, Studio Anna was also catering for the cookware market at the same time.  Introduced by owner Karel Jungvirt around the early 1960s, possibly as an Australian answer to Corning Ware (which came out in 1958), a range of decorated cookware he called Pyro-Ceracraft was developed. Available in a wide selection of designs and described as oven tableware, this range of heat resistant ceramics included casserole dishes, pie dishes and ramekins and was designed to be attractive enough to be brought straight from the oven to the dinner table.

Glass ceramics are mostly produced in two steps.  Firstly, a glass is formed in a glass manufacturing process.  The glass is then cooled down and is then reheated in a second stage.  In this heat treatment the glass partly crystallizes.  In most cases nucleation agents are added to the base composition of the glass-ceramic.  These nucleation agents aid and control the crystallization process.  Because there is no pressing and sintering, glass-ceramics have no pores , unlike sintered ceramics.  When a liquid crystallizes during a cooling phase of a process, the molecules organize from a primary nucleus to form complex structures.  These structures continue to grow until they impinge on neighbouring molecules, then they stop.  Properties of the item depend on the size of the molecular structures.

For crystal growth to start, a primary process called nucleation has to occur.  This is the focal centre around which the molecules can organize themselves.  The secondary process of crystal growth follows nucleation.   A nucleation agent is a foreign body added to create a new surface on which crystal growth can happen.  Typically this phase takes the form of an agent to have a good match with the growing crystal

The 2nd World War saw production of domestic ware drop to fairly low levels at Crown.  Most of their production was servicing the war effort, including contracts for the US Navy.  After the war, some of their early patterns made a comeback, but much of their production turned to ceramic glazed, colourful but streamlined and less decorative items, as was the fashion in the 1950s.  Much of their glass was mould-blown or involved hand tooling, but this ceased in 1968.

During the 1950s and 1960s tableware production continued, especially for homes, hotels restaurants and milk bars.  In 1963 Crown Crystal became a division of Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI) which set up a joint venture with American company Crown Corning in 1968, known in Australia as Crown Corning Ltd.  In 1998 ACI became an affiliate of Owens-Illinois in the USA, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass containers and a leading glass equipment manufacturer.

Crown Corning is now known as Crown Commercial Pty Ltd and continues to produce a large range of glassware for both commercial and domestic markets.  Ramekins of this type are not in the range.  The Crown Crystal Glass Company merged with the American company Corning in 1972 to become Crown Corning.

There is now quite a bit of evidence that Crown Crystal was copying patterns from overseas after 1932.  Copied patterns have confused collectors so be careful on Internet auction sites.  In a case of what goes around comes around, Australian glass patterns are now also being copied, so be doubly careful.  For more information, look at  http://www.ozcrowncrystal.com/  because that is where a lot of this has come from.  Glass is not my area and they have some very interesting information.