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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Florenz



Designer        
Ron Cooper
Maker
Florenz Pottery Pty Ltd
Marks
Incised signature “Florenz” across base
Material
Clay
Description
Wheel-thrown rounded bowl with short trumpet handle.  Light grey gloss glaze to interior with brown blaze to lower 2/3 of bowl.  Unglazed flat base
Condition
Very good
Number
No number
Production Date
1970s
Width at rim
95mm
Width at Base
97mm
Depth
45mm
Length (with handle)
155mm
Weight
330gm
Volume
300ml
Acquisition
Australian Pottery at Bemboka
19 Nov 2012.
Rameking Reference Number
FLO 001-004

The story of Florenz is in some ways the story of Australia.  Named after her Grandmother, Florence Maude Mills was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1894 to John Brier Mills and Mary Blanche Mills.  There was also brother Arthur and sister Mary.  The family lived in the suburb of Claremont.  John was a Major in the Artillery and tragically died of wounds received at Gallipoli in 1915.  For my overseas readers, the campaign at Gallipoli during the First-World War has become a defining moment in the history of both Australia and Turkey. A visit to Gallipoli is a rite of passage for young Australians traveling to Europe and the Middle East.  Many Australians still have an ancestor or relative that served at Gallipoli and count it as a badge of honour.
In 1916 Florence married George Robert Bertie Williams, a Draughtsman turned artillery officer.  The couple moved to 20 Dudley Street in Haberfield, an inner western suburb of Sydney.  They had 3 children Joan, Marie and George.   It was in Sydney that Florence studied pottery.  They established Florenz Pottery Pty Ltd in 1934 in their garage (some people say stable but Florence said garage) at Marrickville, home of many of Sydney’s great potteries, such as Fowler, Diana and Studio Anna.  George, ever the technician had built an oil-fired kiln, different to the traditional coal fired ones in use by most other potteries at the time.  Their daughter Marie also worked at the pottery.  Florence was experimented with firing lace to produce Dresden like figurines.  Over the next few years they perfected this process.

During the Second World War, Florenz, like other pottery companies turned production over to war work, gaining government contracts to make, among other things, porcelain insulators for radar.  Wartime restrictions meant that only utilitarian pottery was to be produced, that is why so little decorative ware is found from this time.  After the war Florenz had fifteen employees and started making resistance blocks for electric stoves purchased by the Housing Commission of New South Wales.  They also made insulators for the power industry.  Ceramic insulators are used in electrical equipment to support and separate electrical conductors without letting current through themselves.   Next time you are walking around the streets, look up and you will see just how many ceramic insulators are on power poles.

In 1942 the company went into voluntary liquidation, a common and legal business practice, and recommenced immediately at the same site as Florenz Potteries (000 164 214).   The couple were then living just up the road at a property on the corner of Robinson Crescent and Illawarra Road Marrickville.  The pottery was at 303 Illawarra Road, now the site of the “Good One” Vietnamese Barbeque (eat in or take-away).   Many well known potters trained at Florenz, including people such as Harry Mammot.  They made both hand thrown and slip cast   ceramics as well as laboratory and hospital porcelain.

Florence died on the 18th of September 1948 and George on the 1st of June 1957.  In 1951 the pottery was sold to Johann Harves, a post-war German migrant,  (Whose son Peter is now at the Coolangatta Pottery), Max Archer and Mr Pitcher.  Johann’s son Peter now runs Coolangatta Pottery.  Altogether, the pottery operated from 1934 until 1980 when it was sold to Ron Cooper who owned K C Industries, (Casey Ware) who later made high quality porcelain insulators.  In 1962 the company relocated to Brookvale, north of Sydney and continued under the Harves management until 1980.

The following comes from the KC Industries website (yes they are still in business, not all potteries died in the sixties and seventies).   “A privately owned, wholly Australian Company formed in 1947 by Ronald Gordon Cooper and a business associate. Originally founded to produce various glazed earthenware lamp bases and pottery vases most of which were sold through the major retail chains around Australia.  In the early 1950's Ron Cooper acquired 100% of the company and quickly changed its direction towards Technical and Industrial Ceramics, the field in which we continue to excel today. On the death of Ron Cooper in 1969, the current Managing Director, John Cooper took over the running of the business.”
OK, enough about Florence.  In the words of Monty Python “and now for something completely different”.  What can I tell you about Johann; well Johann Freidrich Harves was a German Scientist who migrated to Australia post second world war in early 1950.  He had worked for Schobel (Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Pty Ltd) as a meter specialist.  At least that is what his immigration record says.  In reality he was a ceramics specialist recruited by the Australian Government post-war and smuggled out of Haldenslaven in what was then Russian controlled East Germany.  Arriving in Sydney with his wife and two children, he worked under contract for the Commonwealth Ceramic Engineering Co for two years before  starting H.A.P.Insulators and taking over Florenz.   Don’t believe me? Check out an interview with him in 1970 in the Sydney Morning Herald. (March 15th)
Johann Halves

How’s the serenity?  This is a quote from the 1997 Australian film classic, “The Castle.”  This is the question you ask when you visit Australian Pottery at Bemboka.  Another quote that springs to mind is that elementary law of the old west, “no matter how good you are, there is always someone better.”  Judith and David are in that category.  I think that I have a reasonable collection but theirs is far and away the best collection of modern Australian ceramics that I have ever seen.  Why is this relevant?  Because I bought these ramekins there and if you get the opportunity, I recommend a visit.


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