Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Learnin' about my treasures: Dru Holland cast iron/enamel cookware

I've had a strange string of luck with orange cast iron/enamel cookware just recently.  First I found a pair of orange flame Le Crueset saucepans -  at the Goodwill on South Lindbergh:


Classic Flame colored Le Creuset saucepans - sizes 14 and 18.
I did a little research to try and date this style of saucepan with the fat hollow iron handles.  Best I could find was an Etsy listing for a Le Creuset pot of this style that said (without attribution) that it was made in the 60s, and one blog that showed some similarly shaped iron/enamel pots with different knobs that were Cousances brand, which Wikipedia says Le Creuset bought out in 1957, but then the same blog said that the famous Le Creuset Flame color was inherited from Cousances, which is untrue according both to Wikipedia, which says Le Creuset introduced the Flame color in 1934, and the Le Creuset websites "our story" section, which says Flame was the first color they ever used, and was inspired by the color of the molten iron before it was cast.  Of course, the Le Creuset website fails to mention the fact that while Le Creuset is made in France and has always been considered ever-so-French, both of the founders were Belgian.  Still, the picture on the blog with the iffy color info are definitely the same style pots, and one of them has a sticker on it still, so I guess it really was a Cousance style, so the (early?) 60s does seem a reasonable guess for when Le Creuset would have been making the style.

Maybe a week after the Le Creuset find, I found a larger, older looking French oven/cocotte/casserole in a similar orange:




The markings on it say "Dru No 8", and while I've known about Le Crueset since I was a teenager, I'd never heard of Dru, so I asked my good friend Google about them, and found lots of vintage pots and pans for sale, none of which looked a lick like mine.  They were all in white/yellow/blue/green and had little tulip patterns on them, like so:



Nice, but not my style really.  I searched through pages of Google images but the only time I found plain orange ones was when they were on the same page as some of the country-kitchen-tulipy stuff, but were by Le Crueset or one of a handful of other companies that make such things.  So then I started looking around for just plain info on the company.  A few different sites had bits of information.  Mostly that the company was called Dru Holland, the pots were made in Holland, the company went out of business sometime in or before the early 70s, and nobody really knows all that much about it.

Then, I finally found a post in the Amazon forums from someone who purported to know something about it:

"My Uncle Robert E. Evans started a companey in the 50's after he got back from war and imported the Dru Iron from Holland. There is an article in the Boston sunday Herald, April 28, 1957 that talks about his business and how he got started."

I saw mention on a couple of different sites that various colors of the Dru pots and pans were from different eras.  The earliest ones mentioned before I found the Amazon thread, from the 1930s, had the tulip pattern.  But, quoting the nephew of the importer again:


" The orange with grey inside was the first line. Next came the blue, green and last the yellow. Uncle Bob's cookware was featured in Better Homes and Garden issue in the late 50's."

So it appears that I have a very old, and very rare (rare enough that there are no Google images of it at least) pot on my hands  that goes pretty nicely with my two Le Creuset via Cousances saucepans.  Serendipity!

Can you imagine the yummy meals that were prepared in these beauties?  Mmm....

4 comments:

  1. I want these pans! Are you selling them in your booth?

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  2. Remind me to bring them next Sunday. Just the little saucepans, or the bigger pot, too?

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  3. Wow! what sweet finds! just found your blog because you commented on mine...do I know you? or did you just find mine because I'm in STL too? Where is your booth?!

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    1. Thanks!
      I don't think I know you, I just always look for other vintage/thrift lovers, especially locals! I'm at Kenrick Antique Mall - it's on Watson in Shrewsbury, next door to the big Value Village thrift - you should come check it out some time!

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