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 They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface.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, November 1, 2017

Holmburg, Karl

Not Known
Karl Holmburg
Sweden 501 impressed to base with logo
Glazed earthenware
Small rectangular bowl with rounded corners sloping to base.  Heavy green speckled gloss glaze to interior and exterior.  Unglazed foot ring.  Handle extending from upper third of exterior of bowl, grooved on top.
501 impressed to base
Production Date
Late 1960s
Width at rim
Width at Base
Length (with handle)
Varying from 151 to 180 gm
1 November 2017
Rameking Reference Number
HOL 001-007

Pickings have been a little slim on the ramekin front lately, so it came as a surprise when these came up on E-Bay recently.  Almost unknown in Australia and still rare in their native Sweden, these ramekins are unusual in that they were made by a company that specialised in wooden products in the pre-internet days.

The large ramekin with lid is approximately 22cm wide (including handle) x 110mm high.  The opening is approximately 120mm wide and the base is approximately 95mm wide.  It weighs approximately 670 grams. Impressed to the base is "Sweden 520-2" and makers mark and there is a sticker on the lid.  The smaller ramekin with pourer and lid is approximately 16omm wide (including handle) x 80mm high.  The opening is approximately 75mm wide and the base is approx. 65mm wide.  It weighs approximately 245 grams.  On the base is "Sweden 520-2" and makers mark and there is also a sticker on the lid on this piece.  The stickers read "Karl Holmburg Gotene UGNSELDFAST (Heat Resistant) Made in Sweden".  The wooden tray is approx. 500mm long x 100mm wide x 20mm high and has a heat branding stamp.

This pottery ramekin/tapas set was made in the late 1960s in Sweden by Karl Napoleon Holmburg (1883-1955).  The set comprises 4 square ramekins, 1 large ramekin with lid, 1 smaller ramekin (saucier) with pourer & lid and the wooden serving board of Bangkok Teak (Tectona Grandis).   In those days, Teak was an expensive, exclusive timber used for high end products.  It was known as “Burmese Teak”, because at the time, half of the world’s teak came from Burma (today’s Myanmar) and was used for furniture and small wooden products. 

Karl Holmburg, a Carpenter, began making furniture in the early 1920s at Gotene in Vastra Gotland, Sweden.  He started by working with his father Anders Johan Holmburg, also a Carpenter in the family business that Dad began in 1903. They initially made exclusive designer furniture to order for the larger furniture store such as Nordiska Kompaniet (NK)  in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Anders died in 1927.
The company expanded slowly over the next 30 years and by the early 1950s, they employed around 20 staff.  At that time, they restructured and production switched to teak products for the home, mainly kitchen items such as trays and bowls. 

Karl’s sons took over the running of the company with elder son Karl-Eric in charge.  In the 1960s, the company launched its own teak cutlery series by which time they had around 100 staff and were Sweden’s largest maker of teak products.  This couldn’t last and by the late 1960s, fashions had changed and despite attempts to diversify, the company was bankrupt by 1973.  Teak had become much more widespread and commonplace by then.

It is odds-on that the tray was made by Karl’s company but  it is likely that the ramekins themselves were made by Rörstrand, now part of Iittala, having moved their production to Sri Lanka and Hungary.   In 1926 the company moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg and again from Gothenburg to larger premises at Lidköping in 1936. In 1983 Rörstrand was bought by Arabia and in 1987 they merged with Gustavsbergs Porslinfabrik.  In 1990 Rorstrand were taken over by the Finnish Hackman Group.  Between 1960 and 1990 Rörstrand had several owners, including Uppsala-Ekeby, Finnish Wärtsilä and Hackman and Gustavsberg .  Check out my post for them for more information.

Iittala is a design company from Finland that specializes in housewares.  In December 2005 their factory in Lidköping closed, ending almost 280 years of local manufacture. The former porcelain factory is now the Rörstrand Centre containing a museum, restaurant, art gallery and outlet store.  The museum contains one of the best collections of porcelain in Europe.

I should point out that none of the Rörstrand ceramic designs are in any way similar to these ramekins and to further confuse things, as mentioned earlier, they were taken over by Upsala-Ekeby in 1964.  (Uppsala-Ekeby began manufacturing porcelain in Uppsala in the 1960s because of increasing sales.) There are some similarities in colour and design with a few of the Uppsala-Ekeby products.

The products had various burned stamps, stickers and labels over the life of the company.  They are marked “Karl Holmburg AB Akta Teak Gotene Sweden” or “Karl Holmburg AB Genuine teak Gotene Sweden”.  The branded ones also have a number that may be a model and/or size designation. There is a label with the ramekins written in Swedish. (Not one of my languages, but here goes; - )

“Your beautiful ramekins and beautiful Bangkok teak tray will become more beautiful if they are used properly.  Do not expose the ramekins to high heat and never put them in a dishwasher.  Clean after use, by washing or wiping off with lukewarm water and immediately drying on a towel. They should be seasoned with cooking oil or paraffin oil occasionally.”