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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dyson / Lorrant

This post does not have as much detail on each design yet.  I have had a lot of Dyson ramekins stored away so I though it time to get them out.  June Dyson was a prolific potter who produced many different designs over a long period of time.  Most of her output was hand made and glazed, sometimes I think that she must have applied her glaze with a shovel because it appears to be so thick.  Anyway, her are many of her ramekin designs.

June Dyson, 20.11.1918, 28.07.2004

June spent her early years in Tennyson Street St Kilda (an inner suburb of Melbourne) and enjoyed the social scene thanks to her socialite mother Mrs (Edward) Dyson.  Her father, Edward Dyson was a successful poet and author and her uncle Bill, a revered political cartoonist and the Australian Government's official war artist during the First World War.

Lorrant Studio

In her early 20s, she commenced studying pottery at the Royal Melbourne Technical College under the legendary John Barnard Knight and Klytie Pate.  The Dyson Pottery studio was based in Melbourne at their home, 12 Arkaringa Crescent Hampton.  Her husband Colin Mervyn Gordon is recorded as being her business manager but is shown as a potter on the Electoral Rolls. 

In 1958, she opened another studio in Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges.  The area was a favourite amongst potters.  William Ricketts had worked in the area for decades.  Most of her ramekins are incised “Dyson Studio”, but some of her pieces are incised with "Lorrant Studio" and are press moulded, mostly in good condition with a few glaze bubble spots from firing and some minor wear marks.

Lorrant is, according to Ford, her maiden name.  It was actually Dyson, so where “Lorrent” comes from, I do not Know.  This mark was only used at the start of her career in 1945 and changed to “Dyson Studios” in the late 1940s.  June formed a working, as well as a personal partnership with her scientist husband Colin who became the company's Business Director.

It was June's second son Andy, who showed most interest in the pottery, helping out in her studios from his early twenties.  Some of her ramekins show her traditional style of making but have a hand-painted interior that shows up in later Robert Gordon pottery.  Unlike most of her earlier work, these have a signature written in black pencil to the slip on the base.  Maybe this is an early example of Robert helping in his mother’s studio?

June produced thousands of items, some plain, like these ramekins, some decorated, like the cornflower pattern on some ramekins and other work.  A slightly rough and ready style is indicative of Dyson's studio ware.  June continued her own work until the late 1980s, but continued with the Warrandyte potters almost until her death.

Her son, Robert (Andy) Gordon  began working on his own as a potter in 1979  in Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges, north of Melbourne and the successful Robert Gordon Pottery continues today near Pakenham in Melbourne’s outer south east.  Robert and wife Barbara now export to many other countries.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crown Pyrex

ACI Crown Pyrex
Moulded ”PYREX” (in capitals) to base
Milky white Pyroceram squared glass bowl with sides tapering to a raised circular footring, handle moulded to one corner.
O RS 12 moulded into base
Production Date
Length (with handle)
Waverly Antique Market
17th April 2014
 Very Good, unused
Rameking Reference Number
PYR 005-010

At the beginning of this blog is the statement that a lot of these ramekins are coming onto the market as people pass away.  Such is the case with these.  I bought them from a man who does house clearances.  These had been in someone’s kitchen for decades, still in the original box, untouched.  They were most likely a wedding present back in the mid 1960s.  They are marked with the words “Crown Pyrex” moulded into their base, along with a three-pointed crown symbol.

Pyrex is a name for glassware introduced by the American Corning and Incorporated in 1915.  Originally Pyrex was made from borosilicate glass.  Their website tells the story that their scientists developed a heatproof glass for railway lanterns.  Originally used in industrial applications, it became used as home ware when Bessie Littleton, wife of one of the Corning scientists asked him to bring home some glass to replace her broken casserole dish.  He brought her the bottom of some battery jars. 

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 bake ware and has a higher mechanical strength so is less vulnerable to breakage when dropped (the main cause of breakage in glass bake ware).

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.  NASA used a borosilicate coated quartz sand ceramic tile to cover the Space Shuttle providing a heat shield to resist the 3,000 degree F temperature on re entry.

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 thermo-mechanical 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.  These are an early example.

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.

Established on the 25th of January 1939 and closing in 1982, Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI) was a holding company, consisting of subsidiaries that manufactured items such as bottles, glassware, sheet glass, engineering products and plastics.  Located at Spotswood in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Brisbane, Queensland and Dandenong, Victoria.  They had also opened a factory in Japan prior to the Second World War, and in Singapore, post war.

Crown Crystal Glass Pty. Ltd. was established in 1926 when the Australian Glass Manufacturers Co. Ltd. acquired Crystal Glass Ltd. and combined it with one of their existing subsidiaries, the Crown Glass Company.  The latter had been known as Crown Glass Works Ltd. prior to AGM acquiring it in 1921.  AGM owned other subsidiaries throughout Australia & New Zealand, making bottles & jars and sheet glass for windows.  Based in Sydney, Crown Crystal Glass would produce Grimwade hand-cut crystal, pressed glass tableware, and Agee Pyrex ovenware, the latter entering the market in 1932.

Although Pyrex had been made in England during the 1950s & 1960s and was marked with a crown symbol, the word "Crown" was never part of the brand name.  Items with this logo are not meant to be "Crown Pyrex".

A solid-coloured exterior finish first appeared on clear Agee Pyrex in 1938.  Alongside ordinary clear Pyrex, colour choices available up to 1942 were: Blue, Green, Biscuit/Primrose, Daffodil.  Biscuit and Primrose may or may not be the same colour; the descriptions in advertising vary.  Only plain clear Pyrex was offered for the duration of the 1940s, but Biscuit, Blue and Green returned in 1950.  Sometime during the 1950s, Coral (red) replaced Blue.

In 1959 opal Pyrex could be purchased in Australia for the first time, but it was not made in Australia.  British opal Pyrex from J. A. Jobling's was imported, starting with Daisy and Snowflake from the Gaiety product line.  In white Daisy on turquoise, a shallow oval open baker was specially produced for a Nestle's condensed milk promotion in 1959.  In place of JAJ's usual backstamp, "Nestle's" is embossed across the bottom.  Clear Pyrex from England had always had a presence in Australia, and along with opal Pyrex, this was maintained until at least the 1980s, possibly later. 

The Australian plant launched opal Agee Pyrex in 1961 with the Festive Ware product line.  Flannel Flowers, in Rose Pink, Haze Blue, or Buttercup, and Black Rose were the first patterns to debut.  Solid-coloured Copperglow (or Honey Glow) and ramekins in Harlequin colours also appeared in 1961.  Borrowing an American pattern from late 1961, Golden Pine was introduced in 1962.  Other colours were a light sky-blue, pale dove–grey blue, (think Yves Saint Laurant) Eau De Nil Green, Summer Orange, Tangerine and Sun Yellow.

Company names and brand names changed a few times during the lifetime of Australian-made Pyrex.  Upon diversifying into plastics in 1939, the parent company, AGM, changed its name to "Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd." (ACI), and the glass-making division was named "Australian Glass Manufacturers Co. Pty.", of which Crown Crystal Glass remained a subsidiary.

Pyrex products marketed by Crown Crystal Glass had been consistently branded as "Agee Pyrex" until 1963 when the brand name transitioned to "Crown Agee Pyrex".  A new logo was adopted at that time, a three-pointed crown.  The Agee name was dropped eventually and the product was called "Crown Pyrex" and "Crown Ovenware" through the remainder of the 1960s and into the 1970s.  Back stamps on some newer items simply state "Pyrex (TM) Ovenware" inside a circle, with no crown symbol.

Up to the early 1970s Crown Crystal Glass had not been affiliated with Corning Glass Works of the United States.  Corning already owned a subsidiary in Australia for processing and distributing Corning Ware, and in 1972 Crown Crystal Glass agreed to a merger with this division.  Both ACI and Corning Glass held interests in the newly-formed company, which was named "Crown Corning Ltd."

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.

Crown Corning kept the existing crown logo, and continued to manufacture Australian Pyrex along with Crown Crystal's other glassware lines.  The Pyrex line remained throughout the 1970s, but it is unclear when it ceased production.  Being part of Corning's international network, Crown Corning also distributed Pyrex Ware from the U.S., the U.K. and France to Australian consumers.

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.  I have also copied large chunks of information from the Corelle Corner website at http://www.corellecorner.com

The inventor responsible for the discovery of this type opf glass, S Donald Stookey died on the 4th of November 2014 at the age of 99.  See his entry on Wikipedia for more information, it is very interesting.