Well, a vintage Hall china casserole dish, for one thing!
Few things scream “1950s” as much as this color pink — I swear it’s the same shade as those pink tiles in your grandma or great-grandma’s bathroom!
Special bonus points for the shiny gold — 22 karat gold, even! This fancy color gives this kitchenware its name: Gold Label. While the use of gold began in 1919 with tea pots, the Gold Label line grew greatly in the let’s-get-women-back-into-the-kitchen merchandising of domesticity of the 1950s. Several patterns were available with gold details and designs, as you can see in this ad from 1956.
The pattern for this vintage Hall casserole dish is called “Basket” — after the subtle patches of what looks like woven works, designed by Eva Zeisel. The basket motif would be more like a texture than a print, save to the shiny-shiny gold. All the Gold Label pieces had gold body decorations; the handles, knobs, spouts, etcetera, were covered in gold alone for a “solid gold” look. All these Gold Label Hall China pieces have an inventory number for shape and color followed by “GL” to designate them as Gold Label pieces.
The Hall China Company maker’s mark or backstamp is on the bottom of the casserole dish (on the unfinished pottery). This is the mark used on all Hall kitchenware produced after 1932; sometimes with pattern name stamped below. In this case, there’s the “76″ to designate the piece as the round, 3 1/2 pint, handled covered casserole dish. And the pattern number, “075″ with the necessary “GL”.
Collectors should take particular note of Hall China’s maker marks. Authentic Hall pieces without a backstamp were “seconds” meant to be destroyed, but which were either claimed and carried home by employees or sold through the Hall Closet, Hall’s factory outlet store. Hall did promotional pieces for other companies, such as refrigerator pieces for Hotpoint, Whirlpool and Westinghouse, called Refrigeratorware; those pieces typically bear the Hall backstamp as well as the other company name, but not always. However, since Hall goods were imitated and flat-out copied, especially post-World War II, it is important to know and match Hall China marks with dates of production.
The Hall China Company is still around, even though it has recently joined Homer Laughlin China (and Kenilworth) under the HLC Inc. umbrella. Hall and HLC both have a history of making reproductions or reintroducing previously made Hall wares from the original molds — but these pieces will be marked with the new backstamp.
But back to this vintage casserole dish and the Gold Label line. Hall produced Gold Label kitchenware for approximately 10 years; by the 1960s it was discontinued. Presumably to make way for plastics. OK, I’m joking; Hall didn’t make plastic stuff. but pretty much everyone else was and I blame that for the demise of the kitschy-chic Gold Label line.
I pause now for a heavy sigh.
One thing I must point out now is just how the cover on this dish is especially worthy of note: the lid was fabricated with a hole in it to let out steam — because casseroles, you know, are to have crispy, not mushy, tops!
Speaking of casseroles… Hall collectors might enjoy this guide to cleaning the antique and vintage pieces.
[Additional image credits: Vintage Hall ad via HallChinaCollectors.]