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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Friday, August 10, 2012

Zeller Keramic Hahn und Henne

Zeller Keramic
Zeller Keramic
Stamp to base "Made in Western Germany" and "Zell am Harmersback Handpainted"
Slip clay
Large bowl with rounded sides tapering to a footring and indented base.  Handpainted Cock and Hen pattern in green and black with clear gloss overglaze.  Closed handled with small hole to underside angled upwards from centre fixing on exterior of bowl.
Very Good, some circular crazing to interior gloss glaze.
No Number
Production Date
Between 1960-1970
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Salvos Store Noble Park, Victoria
6th August 2012
Rameking Reference Number
ZEL 001

This ramekin is marked on the back as being made in Western Germany at Zell Am Harmersbach, a small historic picture postcard Black Forest market town in Baden-Wurttemberg Germany.  Zell Am Harmsbach is the home of the Hahn und Henne  (Rooster and Hen) pottery factory. The painting of a cock and hen on the exterior of the bowl is a traditional design of the company.   Fabulously kitsch, in the manner of the modern 1970s vases the Germans also made. 

“Hahn & Henne” is a long produced design dating back to the early 1900s.  Traditionally, the designs are hand painted.  There are over 100 different pieces made with this design.  This ramekin being one of them, but don’t look for it among their current product line, it has long dropped off their list.  This was made pre-unification and is most likely from between 1960 and 1970s because that is the period when this backstamp was in use.  There is a pipkin, or sauciere (No 0010/1-1101) in the pattern range though.

 There was an English pottery in Bristol that also called their pottery “Cock and Hen.”  This was Pountney & Co Ltd  (1905 to 1969) who seem to have produced distinctive black and white or blue and white ware.  There are also examples of very similar bowls and plated from Pountneys.  Just who copied who?  I put my money on Zeller as the original.

Like many long-term makers, they have experienced highs and lows.  Known today as “Zeller Keramic”. With typical German efficiency, we can state with certainty that they opened on the 22nd of October 1794 when Josef Anton Burger began an earthenware factory.  By the mid 19th century, almost half their production was porcelain.   The late 19th and early 20th Century saw two town fires almost destroy the works, known as the “upper and lower Factories”, just outside the town gates. 

Before Georg Schmeider took over, the company went through three phases of ownership.  Josef and his partners Jacob Lenz, George Schnitzler and David Knoderer operated until 1846, when by then Jacob Lenz was the last man standing.  He shifted some of their production from stoneware to porcelain.  In 1867, the ageing Lenz handed over to the even more ageing Carl Schaaff who very slowly went broke and sold out to Georg Schmeider in 1907. 

By 1925 they employed over 500 people, but Georg Schmider died in 1934.  Heinrich Heiss, Georg’s son-in-law took over, then Heinrich’s son Gunter ran the company later on.  Unlike a lot of German businesses, they operated successfully for a time during the Second-World-War, but had to close for a few years from 1942 because of a shortage of raw materials.  They recommenced in 1946 and eventually closed the old Upper Factory in 1963.

The recession of the late 1980s saw another disaster averted when a real estate company took them over in 1988.  Like Denby in England, the parent company fell over and the pottery was sold off in 1994.  Known as Zeller Keramik Geschwister Hillebrand G.m.b.H, since 1997, the company still continues to operate successfully today.  There is a porcelain museum operating from the old Haiss manor house.

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