There are many kitchen staples that avid cooks and bakers swear by, such as KitchenAids, blenders, and even specific sets of knives. But those haven’t always been go-to kitchen tools. Throughout history, tools have changed, evolved, and, for some, been completely tossed aside.
Back in the 1960s, kitchens had non-electric scales to portion food, while the 1930s saw a specific tool to cut green beans. And some of these gadgets look like bizarre medical devices. Get ready; these vintage kitchen items are a sight to behold.
A Box Designated For All Types Of Bread
In this day and age, one thing you probably don’t see in very many kitchens is a bread box. These funky containers typically sat on the kitchen counter and contained, you guessed it, bread. They might look funny, but these boxes were actually quite useful.
The air circulation in the box is just right, so the bread won’t mold as quickly, while the humidity inside is the perfect amount to keep the bread soft and fluffy. Craftsmen of the 1950s knew what they were doing with this kitchen tool!
Butter Molds To Give Your Spread Some Pizzaz
For holidays, you might see butter shaped like a Christmas tree, a turkey, or maybe even a star. But before people were able to drive over to the grocery store to grab their preferred shape of butter, they had to make the molds to form the butter themselves.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers would carve their own molds for the butter they churned. According to the State Museum of Pennsylvania, farmers who took pride in their craft liked to “mark their wares.” So, these wooden molds were a way for farmers to put a trademark stamp on their product.
No Farmhouse Was Complete Without A Cone Sieve
In the 1960s, many people had cone sieves in their kitchen. Now, this tool was used for a very important purpose, to crush out as much puree from various fruits as possible. Simply put, it was a way for people to make homemade sauces.
All you have to do is place the tool over a large bowl, then place all parts of the fruit in the cone. This includes the guts, seeds, and skin. Then, mash it with the wooden masher. In no time, there is a beautiful bowl full of puree.
French Butter Dishes Kept Butter At The Perfect Temperature
The French butter dish was a pottery design made back in the 19th century. The idea was to make it so that butter was always at the perfect spreadable temperature, never hardening too much but not melting either. Its design has two parts, a cup that holds the butter and acts as a lid and a base that holds the water.
The water acts as a seal, keeping the air away from the butter while making it so that the spread doesn’t have to be refrigerated. The concept was wildly popular through the ’70s and ’80s with American craftsmen.
Condiment Serving Tray For Barbecues
In the 1960s, no barbecue or picnic was complete without a condiment serving tray. It was the perfect set-up to place ketchup, mustard, relish, and mayo for cookouts without having to leave out unsightly bottles. It even had a plate underneath the bowls for easy cleanup.
Now, people tend to leave bottles on the table, for simplicity’s sake. Or, if they’re trying to be fancy, some people opt to grab various bowls from their kitchen, just to spice things up a bit.
This Cast Iron Coffee Grinder
Another kitchen tool to come out of the 1930s was this cast iron coffee grinder. The device was quite simple to use. All the user had to do was put the coffee beans into the top “bowl,” crank the lever, and watch as freshly ground coffee winds up on the little drawer.
This model evolved into the coffee grinder we see today, either at home or at a coffee house. And while they’re not nearly as heavy as this vintage cast iron model, they work just as well and are probably a bit easier to move around a store.
A Green Bean Slicer For a Quick Side With Dinner
This 1930s kitchen tool is something everyone should search for while thrift shopping. This cast-iron device is actually a very capable bean slicer. Instead of taking a long time chopping beanstalks with a knife, people would cut time in half by using a bean slicer.
All they had to do was place the stalk in one of the holes. Then, crank the handle and watch as the beanstalk is sliced into perfectly proportioned pieces for cooking. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to find. But if you’re lucky enough to locate one, know that they are built to last.
A Cookie Press To Make Sure The Shapes Were Just Right
Before people spooned out cookie dough onto baking sheets, there was this handy-dandy tool called a cookie press. We know it looks like a tire pump for a bicycle, but these nifty gadgets were pretty great when it came to making delicate-looking cookies.
Unfortunately, this Mirro brand cookie press that was popular in the ’50s is no longer available for purchase. The company eventually stopped making them, leaving holiday cookie bakers to their own devices in the kitchen. Of course, there are “modern presses” on the market, but users of the vintage press swear by its cookie-making powers.
Food Processors Are The New Food Mills
This interesting looking tool is called a food mill. Comparatively speaking, it is similar to the cone sieve, but without the mashing. Instead, the mill has a crank to help mash soft foods. It is almost like a vintage food processor, but for soft foods.
The mill consists of three parts, a bowl, a crank, and a bottom plate with holes (similar to a colander). Some uses for this device are removing seeds from cooked tomatoes, making jellies or any type of puree, and preparing mashed potatoes.
People Used To Make Ice In Aluminum Trays
With refrigerator companies installing ice makers, ice trays are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Ironically, these aluminum ice trays are already considered to be vintage. If you’ve seen these trays before, we’d imagine they were few and far between.
Ever since the wave of plastic and silicone containers and trays became the norm, aluminum became a thing of the past. Ironic, considering that aluminum freezes quicker! Newer models should have taken a page out of this 1950s staple, using the same material while re-utilizing the ice-cracking lever for quick access to the ice.
Hand Mixers Were The Original KitchenAids
A lot of interesting kitchen tools came out of the 1950s, including this nifty hand beater and mixer. Before the rising popularity of electric mixers and, eventually, KitchenAids, people would get an arm workout manually mixing ingredients.
The top handle was used to put pressure into the ingredient-filled bowl, so the mixer did its job correctly. Then, the cook or baker would spin the crank to get the beaters to move through the ingredients. It’s no wonder we don’t see these lying around people’s kitchens anymore!
An Ice Pet For All Of Your Shaved Ice Needs
One very interesting kitchen tool that is rare to see lying around a household kitchen is an Ice Pet shaved ice snowcone maker. The Jetsons rocket-looking contraption was a popular item in the 1960s, especially with the kids during hot summer days.
They’re also fairly simple to use. All you had to do was grab a block of ice, place it between the crank and shaver, and crank away! Of course, the best part of any shaved ice cone is the flavored syrup.
A Nutmeg Grinder To Churn Out Ground Spices
This pencil sharpener-looking contraption is actually a 1930s nutmeg grinder. The tool is clamped onto a counter, nutmeg is put into the top, and after cranking the red lever, freshly ground spices come out of the hole-covered side. And while spice-packing industries probably have a device like this on an industrial level, it is rare to see them in kitchens.
Nowadays, people are more likely to buy pre-ground spices, rather than having to grind anything themselves. It’s more simple and quicker for the speediness of day-to-day life. That being said, the vintage grinder is still pretty cool.
Iron Trivets For Very Hot Dishes To Cool Down On
Although you might see one of these tools floating around your grandma’s house, they’re probably not a regular kitchen item among your friend group. Cast iron trivets were used as a type of hotplate and were wildly popular among 1930s households.
The base of the trivet was used to place hot kettles, pots, and skillets, while the little feet on the bottom side made it so the heat from the object didn’t damage the surface it was protecting.
A Meat Tenderizer That Looks More Like A Torture Device
While this vintage kitchen tool looks most suited for a medieval dungeon torture chamber, it is actually quite practical. This spiked device is used to tenderize meat. The spikes, along with the rolling mechanism, penetrate any meats’ tough tendons and membrane.
This tool had since evolved into more of a mallet and less of a roller. Most modern kitchen tenderizers still have some semblance of a spike, but the design is a bit different, and less “torture chamber” looking.
Egg Poaching Pans For The Perfect Brunch
Egg poaching pans really should make a comeback because we can’t think of an easier way to whip up six perfectly poached eggs at the same time. These pans are very easy to use and should be your next kitchen purchase.
All that’s required was a bit of water in one of the pans. Then, place another pan on top, cracking eggs into each of the cups. It took a few minutes for the eggs to poach, but when they did, they were probably delicious!
French Fry Cutter To Get Your Fry Fix
While it is very rare to see this device in household kitchens nowadays, it used to be a staple tool. This contraption is a heavy-duty French fry cutter used to make steak fries from potatoes.
Although they’re not very common in homes, there is one place that you might see a modernized version of this vintage tool. Restaurants have industrial-sized French fry cutters for daily production. So, we’re thankful for this 1950s tool for allowing us to make a device to mass-produce fries.
Labeled Jars So You Don’t Get Confused
Walking into Grandma’s house, you might have seen canisters on the counter. Of course, it’s not an odd thing to have, but what made them stand apart from everything else in the kitchen was how they were labeled. Tea, sugar, flour, even coffee had a rightful home in a personally labeled ceramic container.
Interestingly, this vintage style is making a comeback. Those who enjoy a “farmhouse decor” will most likely have some sort of labeled canisters on their counter or in their pantry.
Non-Electric Kitchen Scale For Portion Control
If you see a non-electric farmhouse scale sitting on someone’s kitchen counter, it is most likely for decoration. These scales used to be a kitchen staple for those who wanted to portion out their food, but they have since been replaced by more modernized technology.
Today, food scales are digital, making them very user friendly. They’re also much smaller than their vintage counterparts, making them easier to store in the pantry and move around in the kitchen.
A Pot Strainer That Tested Your Multi-Tasking Skills
This 1950s pot strainer is a rare item to see in modern kitchens. And, honestly, it’s not hard to see why this device got the boot from the kitchen tool drawer. This hand-held strainer would make it so the cook would have to hold a pot in one hand while placing this strainer on its lip with the other.
It’s definitely a test in multi-tasking! Thankfully, there are strainers that now attach to the pot, so we don’t have to worry about potentially dropping everything into the sink or, worse, onto the floor.