In the past, I've found a large teak salad bowl. A set of "French Onion Soup" crocks, and a chrome round "UFO" waffle maker from the 50's. What treasures have you found?
Someone hit the jackpot with a very large mid 70's Cuisinart food processor I had to part ways with and donated. It had a full set of blades with racks and a motor that would sometimes trip the breaker. I rarely used it as it was just too big for practical use for me.
So, I'll expand the question to include what things have you donated?
I like this question Sam because I hit antique stores regularly. I found a cast iron skillet that is supposedly 100 years old and in perfect seasoned condition. I also came across a spiral patterend cheese grater---the original knuckle saver before the Microplane. My problem is that I go in looking for kitchen gear and walk out with something like a 1940's Underwood typewriter. I also found a WW2 cockpit clock that still works. I hope it helped kill some Nazis. It's hard to kill Nazi's with a box grater, although the skillet might work.
I find great stuff at thrift stores. Most recently: a vintage (I'd say 1970s era) spritz cookie press in its original box with all the parts. It's metal, not plastic like the ones they make now. It works like a charm and is beautiful. $5.
My cautionary tale: A friend of mine recently found some plates in the same circa-1980 pattern in which I had three bowls (I used to have more, but 1980 was a while ago and the usual happened, which was okay by me). She bought them for me. Now I have 12 plates plus three bowls in a nice-but-outmoded pattern that I'd thought was almost out the door. And I have a ton of other circa 1980 dishware. I'd rather she'd found some of my circa 1950 stuff or something completely different.
And: I do keep a small lookout for Griswold cast iron. I don't need it and I don't buy it, though I'd like to, and I like to think of the lucky person who does. My brother once picked up a wonderful and ancient (older than Griswold) Swedish pancake pan that looks like it was used over a wood fire but is still in great shape.
I haven't thought about buying electrics, but I do lament an old waffle iron I had. I should have just gotten a new cord for it instead of replacing it with the flimsier stuff they mostly make today. If you see one,....
One other cautionary note: if you're buying vintage pitchers, festaware, plates etc.
Get a Lead Test kit from Amazon. They used lead a lot in the 50's for glazes on ceramics.
My daughter found an individual-cup milk beater to whip up perfect lattes. Cost about $1.20. New.
I've found a few things. A recent one was a Japanese tamago (omelet) pan. I'd read a Japanese cookbook and was interested, but probably wouldn't've bought a new one for myself, so this will help inspire me to try a new thing.
Oh, and cook books are great thrift store finds. Especially the old self published 'garden club' types...and some of the older 'sunset magazine' books.
I'm a sucker for those. The older the cookbook the better and I try to limit myself to pre-1960 but darn it if those 1970s era cookbooks/pamphlets with the gnarly photos don't get me every time. I also just got an amazing recipe box of favorites pre-1950 as best we can guess at an estate sale. I love the box itself and I love the notes on different recipe cards. It's a happy thing, to find someone's small treasures.
Some time after MFK Fisher died I found a lot of old cookbooks that must have been duplicates of ones she had and a manuscript of her annotated edition of Catherine Plagemann's Fine Preserving at a little thrift store near her Last House in Glen Ellen.
I love those old spiral-bound garden-club cookbooks! I scored a stack of them once, and they make for such fun reading.
I'm always on the lookout for old Pyrex dishes and bowls, but most thrift stores in my area are hip to what they can get for them, so they're usually not a great bargain. However, I was a local Goodwill recently, and I found two Pyrex baking dishes that were stamped "England" and came in shapes and sizes I'd never seen, and they were cheaper than some of the other Pyrex dishes I saw there that were not stamped "England." They're both clear, and one is a sort of over-sized, tapered loaf pan with the bottom narrower than the top. It's super cool.
My mother has kept her 70s-era Cuisinart going for YEARS by always being on the lookout for extra blades and parts in thrift stores.
My hand mixer, all of my vintage Pyrex, and several of my favorite pans are from thrift stores or garage sales -- to say nothing of all the goofy gadgets (cherry pitter, ice cream scoop, gorgeous wooden spoons...)
Enameled cast iron, not LeCreuset -- huge frying pan and small saucepan, from consignment shop, cheap; another frying pan, same size, that was in the trash can of a house where I was visiting -- literally! she didn't like it. And same diameter Calphalon frying pan with cover (now we're getting away from thrift shops), my daughter-in-law wasn't using. Our town recycling has a giveaway shed, and I've found beautiful Italian soup bowls and serving bowls (some in my recipe photos), as well as cookbooks -- some on my want list. Silver plate forks at a multi-vendor antique place (I don't think people want to polish it), reasonable; same place, bowls rice bowl size, look like oranges inside and out! And a tureen that looks like a head of cabbage! (Same place has cast iron, pricey. Recycling again -- one day I was there when someone brought in a 5" skillet -- now I have a 2nd for the one I had.)
Best buy ever, at a yard sale for $25, a pressure cooker set -- large base, shorter base, pressure lid, regular lid -- basically new, with booklet, in original box, now used regularly. Oh -- church thrift shop, $5 for a rice cooker in excellent condition, but had to intuit how to use it (now have found the manual online).
Free, cheap or just a great find, it's all good... as long as there's storage!
I'm on the lookout for a deviled tray. In the South they used to issue those to females when graduated college.
Deviled EGG tray...dang you lack of edit button...I miss you so much, please come back.
Do you mean like a depression glass style one? There are several on Etsy. I agree, it was also issued with the oysters on the half shell platter.
Sam1148, I thought of you this weekend when I saw a funky glass devilled egg tray at a flea market. I was tempted to get it ultimately decided it was more ugly than funky. I did, however, score a couple of German-made bundt pans in varying sizes, muffin tins in an atypical size (somewhere between regular and mini-muffin), 10-inch Pyrex pie plates, and an old-style pie pan that has a metal insert that allows you to pull the entire pie out of the tin. And it was all super cheap!
My most proud second hand store moment happened in 1990 when I found a paella pan and a Braun immersion blender, each for a dollar. Both still get heavy use. I also search for a vintage devilled egg tray, but I'd use it to serve stuffed figs or mushrooms.
Not a thrift store, but at a town wide yard sale a man's parents were here from Ireland. The mother had a marge set of gorgeous metal serving.. I don't know what they're actually called but I call them servers. The kind with a fancy metal lid and a Pyrex dish inside. I wish I could have purchased them all but I don't have the room! I took one for $20. I thought it was pricey for a yard sale, but worth it as its in such beautiful condition!
My very best thrift store buy (and I have had a few stellar finds) was a Black & Decker stick blender from the Goodwill when I was in college. I had seen them used in the ceramics studio for making slurry, and thought that would be great. However, before the little-known-at-the-time gadget had the opportunity to make it to my studio, it went on what was supposed to be a brief detour through some soup or other, and I was hooked. I had that little bugger nearly ten years – in later years, wishing it dead so I could get a fancy cordless braun. Eventually my husband took pity on me and got me a sexy new one. I use my stick blender exponentially more often than any other gadget in my kitchen. Three cheers for the Goodwill!
I also have a lovely vintage pasta machine that a jeweler I know had attempted to use as a piece of studio equipment before passing along to me, and I can't tell you how excellent foodservice condiment squeeze bottles are for dispensing plaster in the mold-making process. Three cheers for the kitchen-gadget-studio-exchange, too!
One of my better finds in a market square in Tuscany was a double handled "mezzaluna" for chopping herbs etc. Imagine getting that through TSA screening now. "Look out it's a weapon of mass herb destruction!"
Vintage Franciscan ware - Starburst pattern, vintage Pyrex, measuring cups and vintage airline silverware.
I would love to have a good answer for this one,really!I love antiques,old houses,19th century,Art Dèco,the aesthetic from the 40's,50's,60's...Sometimes I fell like I was born on the wrong Era but I'm afraid I worry too much about the energy left on objects by the previous owners to buy antiques.Especialy when we talk about personal things as kitchenware or clothe.But...my mom has a friend who used to live in an upscale building in NY,and she tells the tale on how she would often find beautiful china on the recycling bin.Complete tea and dinning services.
I absolutely love old, used things that I find in thrift stores and estate sales! Especially for my kitchen. I've collected many, many things over the years. I'm always on the lookout for interesting items, particularly those that I can use for entertaining. This list is lengthy but some of my favorites are: beautiful silver plate salad tongs, brass and ebony ice tongs, lots of Dorothy Thorpe glassware, lovely silver-etched glass footed cake plate, ice cream scoop, pastry blender, cool purple Franciscan creamer and sugar bowl, many of best cast iron pans, waffle iron, linen cocktail napkins, nut dishes, interesting platters (especially one shaped like a cow) and serving bowls, an unusual sized whisk. Recent finds include cast iron corn stick pans for cornbread, a Donvier ice cream maker in perfect condition and a pretty cream pitcher. Yes, I admit - I am an addict! I love the idea that someone else used these things with love and I always imagine what the people who used the things might have been like. Real fun for me!
I found a Vintage Vitamix blender for $50 in a thrift store - I called my fiance who is a Chef and asked if he was interested in it for the restaurant because I knew their blender broke, I said it was kind of pricey for a thrift store but he told me it was a bargain if it worked - I fell in love with its shape (square sides), its forward and reverse options and its side serve spout that you can use to test the consistency of what is being blended!!
Turkish coffee grinder
Just today (Aug 22, '18), I found a very curious set of dishes. The dish is about the size of the palm of my hand. Notice the tiny pitcher and lid for the little well in the top (?) of the dish. And the hole in the middle?? I bought the 4 they had at the shop. I have searched quite a bit to come up with an explanation of the purpose of these dishes. Anyone have a clue? THANKS!