This old enameled cast iron pot from Descoware, Belgium, with the Maple Leaf design was well loved in San José, California, in the 50´s and for many years on. This week it met a new fall leaf shaped bowl from Målerås Glassworks (https://www.maleras.se/en/). They now hang out together whenever they can!
Both items are symbols of economic impact and innovative design, more than 60 years apart.
On a Cast Iron collectors’ site (where else?) the story of the pot is described thusly: “Originally produced as “Bruxelles Ware”, “Descoware” took its name from D.E. Sanford Co, the U.S. importer, and gained a following after its endorsement by famed TV chef Julia Child. Revered for its lighter weight (35%), relative to other ECI (enameled cast iron) brands. Manufacturing ceased after being purchased by Le Creuset in the mid-1970s.”
The really famous Descoware was the “Flame”, originally called Cherry Flame, but now called Orange Flame if you search on EBay. The Maple Leaf pattern was released in the mid-50’s, depicting the plucked stem of Red Maple Tree leaves beginning to change into fall color, imposed onto a cream colored background.
After forging the cast iron in Japan, the wares were sent to be porcelainized (love, love, love that word and will from now on try to work it into at least one sentence every day!) in Belgium. The economic growth that Decoware generated helped both the Belgian and the Japanese economies recover from the World War II, and D.E. Sanford was Knighted in the name of Belgium’s King Baudouin I, in 1958 for his role in trade relations.
Målerås Glasbruk started making crystal ware in 1890. In 1981, Kosta Boda, a huge glass and crystal manufacturer, wanted to buy Målerås, and move the production elsewhere. Local son and glass master Mats Jonasson and 13 co-workers, with the help of the village people, bought Målerås Glasbruk with the promise that the production would stay local and hand made. And so it has to this day, saving not only Målerås Glasbruk but the village as well.