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Lost L.A.: Cookware for the modern mother


As Lost L.A. columnist Sam Watters writes in his latest piece, in the late 1930s and '40s, the Guardian Service line of cookware was a symbol of modern living through good design. Manufactured with Bakelite, glass and pressed aluminum, the pots promised healthful cooking with good looks to match. Writes Watters:

The styling was campfire gothic meets streamlined Art Deco. Hammered finishes, crested handles and polished edges gave the weighty casserole tureen, the Guardian roaster and breakfast fryer a cartoony, Flash Gordon sleekness. With her Guardian Service, the American housewife could ride the range and rocket to the moon while frying the morning eggs.

Keep reading to the jump to see some amusing advertisements for the Guardian Service, courtesy of collectors Damon Kirsche and Andrew Martin. You've probably seen these designs in antique malls and vintage stores -- or perhaps your own cupboard.


Above: Century Metalcraft, the manufacturer of Guardian Service, published ads in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal urging mothers to use modern cookware to preserve the vitamins in their cooking.


Above: Note how this 1948 ad includes stacked pots on the left. The idea behind vertical cooking: Use rising heat to prepare multiple dishes simultaneously.


Above: Cook with a traditional frying pan, deprive your children of vitamins and minerals!

-- Craig Nakano

Credits: Ads from the collection of Damon Kirsche and Andrew Martin.

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I was a collection manager for Century Metalcraft in 1955. The office was located on the the northwest side of Chicago, they made it possible for everyone to own this product on one of those dollar down and a dollar a week plans. I can never recall a complaint about the cookwear, people loved it.

These old print ads looks like the kind Jim Lileks would love!

I remember Guardian Servive from my childhood. And I used it. My Dad still has what is left from their original purchase & uses it regularly. He uses the drip coffee maker everymorning as he has since the late 40'. It cooked good then & still does now. It is in his will that I get these items.

My parents got this cookware as a wedding gift in 1939 and I still have several pieces, the rest of which were shared with my niece. They have truly stood the test of time.


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