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ASW-BSR Enameled / Porcelain Coated Cookware (Read 2039 times)
Cheryl Watson
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ASW-BSR Enameled / Porcelain Coated Cookware
Apr 23rd, 2017 at 3:58am
 
We finally have concrete evidence, that Birmingham Stove and Range Cookware was, in fact, purchased, porcelain/enamel coating applied, and sold by a Third Party. 

As you read thru the posts below, you will see that debate has been ongoing for years...... Wink  Patience is a virtue, and sometimes the answers are found along the way. Wink

The letters below, dated 1975, and 1976, now give us the proof needed. 

The third party was.....
Roesch, Inc, Belleville, IL.


It is not currently known when this arrangement began, but it was clearly in place in 1975 and 1976.


Smiley Smiley Smiley


...
 



......


CLICK HERE FOR:


PRIZER LETTER


ROESCH-VERNOIS LETTER



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Chris Stairs
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Enameled BSR items
Reply #1 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 3:07am
 
There is an interesting discussion ongoing at the BSRUsers (BUGS) Facebook group concerning enameled BSR items.
  These two pictures have been shown on the BSR page as BSR items, but now, after reading what has been said by the insiders from BSR on that page, I am starting to wonder. It would be nice to have the BSR guys on the forum, but that may never happen.
  Perhaps it would be best to post these pictures on the Facebook page, to see if they remember these being made. I know that I saved these pictures from an Ebay auction years ago, and even though we don't normally post pics from the foundry list in public, I would sure like to know for sure.

  I think it best for Dwayne to post them there, as he is well known to the BSR guys.
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“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Stephen Hawking
 
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Chris Stairs
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #2 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 3:11am
 
I think that the general thought when these were posted was that these were made for a short time, until the new mold making machines were sorted out, and they figured out how to automate the tapered finger in the pattern.


Now I'm beginning to think these could might be imitaters....
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“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Stephen Hawking
 
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #3 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 7:10am
 
Hugh is stating they never made enamel, but I've had three of them over the years.  They are pictured on the foundry page.
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Chris Stairs
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 7:34am
 
The ones that are skillets, and are clearly marked as any other BSR sure seem like the real deal.
  Maybe it happened before his time there? Maybe some other company bought a bunch of items and had them enameled, and sold them under their own label? However they may have became enameled, they are surely BSR.

  The lid pictured above is a different matter. It has an attached handle, but not like the knob on the Pioneer line, a handle made to resemble a standard BSR handle, but made in such a way as to avoid having to make a complcated mechanical pattern.
  It's not so much a question about enameling. it's about that handle.
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #5 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 4:18pm
 
The one above is interesting.  It has the characteristics I would expect on BSR.  The Asian pieces I've seen usually have the tab type handle.  That one may not be BSR, I can't say for absolute sure it is or it isn't.  Maybe Dwayne or Tom has more information about it.  I remember it being discussed on the Forum at one time.   
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Andrea Paysinger
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #6 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 8:17pm
 
I've owned this small UNMARKED Dutch oven for about 25 years or so.  I think I bought it at Sears about the time I moved up here in '88.
It originally had a stainless steel bail but I removed it because it was awkward to handle.

I had smaller pots and larger ones Le Creuset and Descoware, Dru, etc., but needed something this size.

It's gotten a lot of use and cleans up well - it does not discolor with certain foods, they way Le Creuset does - it behaves more like my old Descoware from the '60s and the enamel is very tough, no chips - wish I could same the same for my Le Creuset.



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Chris Stairs
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #7 - Jun 3rd, 2014 at 10:47pm
 
That helps a great deal Andrea. BSR did make items for Sears, but probably not these ones. If you had said 1960 or so, I might think that they were still trying to sort out the pattern for the molding machines. By 88, it should not have any sort of attached handle if it was BSR.

  I don't know who made it or where, but I'm thinking not BSR.
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #8 - Jun 4th, 2014 at 1:25am
 
If it was bought in 1988. I would not think BSR.   They were getting to the end of the road if I remember correctly.
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Cheryl Watson
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #9 - Jun 4th, 2014 at 8:33pm
 
Newest Post on BUGS page by Anthony Richerson....  the plot thickens... Grin
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Cheryl Watson
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #10 - Jun 4th, 2014 at 8:33pm
 
Markings...
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #11 - Jun 4th, 2014 at 8:38pm
 
That one does look BSR all the way.  I can't say that for the one with the screw holding the handle in the lid.
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John Wright
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #12 - Jun 6th, 2014 at 11:35pm
 
After reading posts to this thread, I was inspired to dig through the debris I call my collection. I remembered one piece of BS&R in particular and I found it. It is a No. 3 skillet with white enamel on the inside and black on the rest of it. At first glance it resembles pieces of Quaker Ware. I have taken photos of it and have sent them as e-mail attachments to Dwayne Henson, Roger Barfield and Chris Stairs, rather than posting them here. This way their availability isn't restricted, nor does it compromise members-only sections of the WAGS Forum. They can feel free to do with the photos as they see fit.

There is one aspect of the posts to the BS&R threads that bothers me a great deal. This is the role that "oral history" played in the reconstruction of the history of BS&R. It has been stated that BS&R never made anything for Sears and that those companies that did, went bankrupt. A very short time later, items made for Sears by BS&R were reported. Second, it was stated that BS&R never produced enameled ware. Now we know that enameled pieces are not rare, leading to speculation as to who would have enameled BS&R pieces without their knowledge. If we are to rely on memories, lets first make sure that the person rendering the history was actually present when the events took place. Alarms should go off and red flags raised when the oral history flies in the face of empirical data. I remember years ago at a convention in Erie when a group of former Griswold employees were invited to attend and entertain questions from the convention attendees. One person ask a question about Erie skillets, a former employee responded that he knew nothing about cast iron as his job was to wire small electrical kitchen appliances. Yes, he was there but some 50+ years after Erie skillets were made.
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #13 - Jun 7th, 2014 at 10:37pm
 
John, I hear what you are saying.  Sometimes the oral history may be all we have until proven to be incorrect.  I think better to copy down what is available while it is still available.  These old foundry guys are passing away and all they know goes with them.  Memories may not always be accurate, or may have only been accurate while that particular person was there.  Our task is to sort it out and make sense of it all based on all the evidence we have.  To me that is what Wags is all about.  I wish we could get some of those old employees here on the Forum, but for whatever reason they are on Facebook.  We must glean what we can and test it based on facts and what evidence is available, sometimes we get it wrong.  The important thing is that we correct what we have here as new information becomes available and always question what is presented as fact or possible facts in light of hard evidence.  Thank you for your post and the photos.  I have not seen that one before.  I think it definitely should be added to the BSR foundry page.  Hopefully one day we will know the history behind it.
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Tom Penkava
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #14 - Jun 9th, 2014 at 4:24pm
 
Just looking at that lid is like taking a statement out of context, it may or may not indicate having been made by BSR.  It does have some simularities and some diferences, but when you put it with the bottom it came with you do get answers.  I have several of these in the brown and all the bottoms are marked in the standard BSR method.
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Roger Barfield
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #15 - Jun 9th, 2014 at 4:36pm
 
Thank you for the photos Tom.
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Tom Penkava
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #16 - Jun 9th, 2014 at 5:46pm
 
Roger Barfield wrote on Jun 9th, 2014 at 4:36pm:
Thank you for the photos Tom.


I sent Chris and Dwayne some additional information/speculation if they want to persue it, but did not post it here for fear of starting a false line of reasoning.
Here is one more of my #5 skillet, there is also another sause pan and then "Grasshopper" won the chicken fryer that goes with this set a few fears ago out bid me on it.
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Chris Stairs
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #17 - Jun 9th, 2014 at 5:54pm
 
I have been holding off on making any actual changes to the foundry pages until this gets hashed out.

Thank you For the pictures Tom.  I still would like to see if Saunders or Hugh knows anything about these.

Their recollections may not be gospel, but I think there is some value in recording their thoughts on some things. They might actually remember these specific lid handles, and if they were made by a competitor, or by BSR.

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Dwayne Henson
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #18 - Jun 14th, 2014 at 3:53am
 
There is no doubt that BS&R made enameled pieces. I, myself have a green skillet. As far as Sears, BS&R turned down the opportunity to be the contractor for the entire Sears cast iron line. If read closely, BS&R did make the cast iron sold at the local Sears in Birmingham, with a Sears label, but not for the entire company, just the local. The Jones family knew the Sears store manager. BS&R's porcelain plant burnt down in the 1940's from what I remember, so who/when were these made? Are these all Desco? I do not know. 
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Dwayne Henson
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Re: Enameled BSR items
Reply #19 - Jun 14th, 2014 at 2:04pm
 
I should have added when Sears came to BS&R, they (Sears) wanted all the top quality (think most expensive, and high loss features due to breakage) like very thin castings, sharp angles between the flat cooking surface and the sidewalls, etc. that is what bankrupt the other foundries who initially thought contracting with Sears was a good idea. That is why BS&R declined.

The BS&R items sold at the local Birmingham Sears, were just that, BS&R items with just a Sears label in them. So they would be impossible to tell these items from any other BS&R item.

I am sorta surprised about the debate here about. BS&R. I like it, that people here at WaGS are finally talking about this foundry, but that there are debates are part of it. Look at Lodge, the official line is they never plated any pieces, but we have example, after example of plated Lodge pieces, and there is no call to discard their history. Often the newer employees/family weren't there or were too young, or just flat didn't pay attention to the details that cast iron collectors think are important.

The three main guys from BS&R I had the Privilege to get to know over the phone, where sharp, funny, kind, very polite Southern Gentleman from a bygone era. All of them expressed amazement that anyone was calling them about cast iron cookware. Memories are funny things, it has been many years since I first contacted these gentleman and sadly on the phone I can now tell time has been working on them. They are all happy when I call, but the replies are slower, the memories aren't as clear, and occasionally the answer is I don't remember now, were years ago they knew answers quickly and with confidence. The main stories are the same as they were, but the details that didn't make as big an impression on them are going or gone.

I guess what I am saying is yes there can be problems with oral history, but all history is oral history, some of it gets written down. When I look at it, I don't see inconsistencies as proof that the whole thing is inaccurate, but look at it more like auto accident reports.

Two cars with two passengers each, crash. The four people each write a report about what happens. You have four different stories, the main facts are similar, but the details are all different. Does this mean all the reports are inaccurate? No. You are just getting each persons different perspective, and what detail they thought were important. This IMO describes the BS&R oral,history we have recorded here.
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Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. &&Thomas Jefferson
 
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