Essential Tools

Help Us Identify these Antique Kitchen Tools!

February 26, 2016

Yesterday, Food52er Kyleen emailed us a photo of some antique kitchen tools. She needed help identifying what she aptly described as the "weird chain mail looking thing" in the left side of the photo. Kyleen is an employee at Point Mugu Thrift Store at the naval base in Point Mugu, California—that's where these tools ended up. She and her customers were able to work out what the other tools were, but we're still in the dark, and so curious!

So we're throwing it out to the best collective resource we know: our community! Do you recognize any of these kitchen tools of yore? What are they called? What were they used for? How do they hold up to their modern counterparts?

Share your wisdom with us in the comments.

45 Comments

Paige March 5, 2016
I actually own quite a bit of these utensils. They were passed down from generation to generation. I believe I know what some of them are used for ie: egg beater,hand mixer and a potato slicer for starters.
 
Marit G. March 3, 2016
They are not that old, have used them all in my younger days
 
Frances Q. March 3, 2016
Cast iron cleaner, Rosette iron, egg beater, cutter for pie dough, potato slicer, biscuit cutter, potato peeler and early whisker/whipper.
 
Widya K. March 3, 2016
The flower thing is used in Sri Lanka to make a savoury cookie (deep fried in coconut oil). We call it Kokis, and probably got it from the Dutch (who colonized us) do something similar (called something like kojis I can't remember the exact term.
 
Dea H. March 3, 2016
It might be easier if you numbered the the items in the photo. The thing that looks like a flower is used for making funnel cakes. There's a corer/peeler. There's a slicer for making ruffled potato fried. There's a biscuit cutter. The thing that looks like a small wheel on a handle is for cutting dough. The thing with all the holes looks like a sprinkler/shaker for flour or powdered sugar. And there are several kinds of whisks/frothers. The thing with the gears and the beaters is a hand-powered beater.
 
Joan W. March 3, 2016
I recognize and have used about 5 of the above. An apple/potato peeler/corer, wire whisk for egg whites etc., the flower is an iron to deep fry cookies from many European countries. There is a pizza cutter at the bottom and the wavy clever type is for cutting cheese.
 
Missy March 3, 2016
I think the can with holes (missing the chain) is for adding whole spice to stock. My mom used a cheese cloth do do this. It could be a large tea ball for loose leaves, although I have never seen one that large.
 
Amanda V. March 3, 2016
We still use some of those items!
 
loulew181 March 3, 2016
The "can" on top is a tea holder, for loose leaf teas. The top has a hook that probably had a chain attached at one time for removing it from the teapot once it had steeped.
 
Sajina S. March 3, 2016
Extreme right is egg beater, the start shaped one is the Rossetti( achappam). Mold, peeler, biscuit cutter, whisk.hope it helps
 
Marilyn P. March 2, 2016
The can-like object at the top, looks like it's got lots of small holes in it. Could it be a tea ball?
 
Cliht March 2, 2016
The rest are fairly obvious the can stumps me a bit. It looks like a twine or floss dispenser. For leveling cakes and tying things like poultry and roasts.
 
Anne J. March 1, 2016
Is this for real? A couple of those are maybe a little obscure but mostly I don't really believe that anyone who can cook would not be able to identify that group of objects. Especially bloggers who must search for vintage food photo props. I call shenanigans so you can use a cute photo.
 
Sue T. March 2, 2016
Right!
 
Jen F. March 3, 2016
Although it is a super cute photo, I wouldn't call it shenanigans... I cook quite a bit and could only recognize a few of the items. I think that Food 52 posting and asking the question is actually a great way to engage and involve their viewers, especially those at the (little bit) older and much younger end of their spectrum.
 
laurelei235 February 27, 2016
Oh, c'mon. I can't be that old.<br />From the left. Chain mail pot scrubber, used especially for cast iron. They're still being made today -- and sold as a 'new improved' idea.<br />Rosette. Dip into a light cookie batter and deep fry.<br />Eggbeater.<br />The wheel is a docker. For pricking pie crusts for blind baking, and docking thin doughs like shortbread or crackers.<br />Waffle cutter, a decorative slicer.<br />Small biscuit cutter, or doughnut hole cutter.<br />Apple corer.<br />Whisk, especially for eggs or very light batters.<br />The screw top can looks more like a camera film can. But you could use it for spice storage.
 
Robin J. February 27, 2016
I agree laurelei235 -- I didn't recognize the waffle cutter, but the rest are all tools that I have owned and used over the years (though mine are not quite as rusty) I have about half of these in my kitchen today. Really made me feel old to read the rest of the comments and see that people said "my grandma had...."
 
Dea H. March 3, 2016
Mom mom didn't use the small wheel thingy to dock. She used a fork. She used it to cut thin strips of dough for when she made lattice pie crusts. It made then edges look like they were cut with pinking shears. I don't know if that was the correct usage, but it made a very pretty pie.
 
Smaug February 27, 2016
I'd love to take a guess, but for some reason there's an add for doggy workouts in front of the picture. This site is one of the worst I've encountered for that sort of thing.
 
Shauna O. February 27, 2016
I remember my Grandma using the one that has the green handle fourth from left to slice veggies like carrots, potatoes and turnips into krinkle cuts for veggie trays or for deep frying.
 
jennyuj February 27, 2016
The rosette tool is also used in Hawaii to make Chinese pretzels- dip the rosette into a thin, slightly sweet batter just below the top edge of the rosette (not over the edge or it won't come off the iron), then dip it in hot oil. It'll slip off and fry to a thin, crispy Chinese pretzel.
 
Niedefix February 27, 2016
My Dad once showed me how to use the rosette iron, I remember he used one shaped like a butterfly, very cute. He made a waffle batter, put the rosette iron in it, then held it in a pot full of hot oil and deepfried it for a short time. Very delicious but it takes quite some time... With a whisk like that on the picture (newer version) we once made mayonnaise during our camping holiday in France. Everytime I think about that experience, I'm so glad, I have my electrical one :)
 
Jeanne M. February 26, 2016
The tiny wheel on the angled handle looks far more like a tool used for transferring marks on fabric for sewing than a pastry wheel.
 
manykittiesmama March 2, 2016
I agree!
 
FoodFanaticToo March 2, 2016
That's what I think, too!
 
Dea H. March 3, 2016
My mom would use one just like it for cutting thin strips of dough that she would use for a lattice crust. It made the edges almost look like they were cut with pinking shears. It was very pretty.
 
Brie February 26, 2016
The chain mail is an early version of the scrubber pad or steel wool. You use your Palm to move it around the cast iron pan to remove loose bits of stuck on food. This model didn't last very long though because as you can imagin it was tough on the hands
 
manykittiesmama March 2, 2016
They still sell them & are one of the best things to use for scrubbing cast iron pots & pans.