I have always wanted to learn more about this bowl, but unlike my Neu Deel Cookin Ware, I have been unable to find any information about this one. The words “The Pure Food Sanitary Cooking Ware” are stamped on the bottom of the bowl, with the “N” in “Sanitary” written backwards. The inside of the bowl is glazed and very glossy. The outside of the bowl is not glazed, and the stoneware has the typical uneven coloring caused by the impurities in the clay. The rim of the bowl has a very unevenly applied thin dark glaze, and the same glaze has been applied to the indented lettering on the bottom of the bowl. There is a simple pattern etched all around the lower portion of the outside of the bowl.

This bowl came from my father’s family. I’m not sure exactly how old it is, but I know it was still being used in the early 1900’s as a favorite casserole dish by one of my relatives. Although I never knew her personally, I am lucky to know quite a bit about this woman and her husband. She gave birth to twelve children and raised eleven, plus three others from her husband’s first marriage. She was often called to nurse the sick and deliver babies. She took in boarders, including the local schoolteacher, and made butter and cheese to sell. In photographs she is never smiling, but people who knew her remember her kind nature and the way she always whistled hymns as she worked.

Her husband was a farmer who raised Merino sheep. He also drove a stagecoach and delivered the mail. In all the photographs he always has children and animals nearby. He kept journals and diaries all of his life. I have several of them, and my favorite diary entry is one that he wrote on the day their twelfth baby was born… starting with a simple statement, “New baby born today, cute little shaver”… followed by a complete paragraph describing in detail the new litter of baby pigs!

I’m hoping someone who has a bowl like this or knows something about the Pure Food Sanitary Cooking Ware company will see these photographs. I’d like to find out more about the manufacturer and the origins of this bowl.

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Mike T.

I have a very similar bowl to this myself. It was one that was handed down to me from my grandmother. Don’t know where it came from prior to that. Mine has the same stamp on the bottom, but the N is turned correctly. Very similar and simple pattern (yet different) around the bottom and a mottled blue glaze around the rim. If you find out anything enteresting about this company please let me know.


Hi, I have the same bowl but the “n” in sanitary is not backwards. It is a favorite bowl that I think I got at a thrift shop. Have you learned anymore information regarding the hx. The bowl never chips etc. and I love the earthy looks of the bowl. Thanks Sharon


I, too, have this lid. When my grandmother died, I got a box full of broken pieces that I tried to put together but could not- I’m sure it was the bowl. The ‘N’ in Sanitary is correct, but the ‘N’ in cooking is backwards on mine! Please let me know if you find out any info- I have run into a dead end! I do know that it was my greatgrandmothers, and she ran a boarding house. I wondered if the piece was sold for commercial use???


I have the exact same bowl. It was my grandmothers. It has a date of 1923 that I know that my grandmother had put on there as she used to date everything and I’m so glad she did. She would make her pie crust and biscuits in it. I also have several other vintage kitchen items that were my grandmothers, my moms and my mother-in-law. Thanks for the information on this.


I have just arrived home from an antiquing trip and bought 2 bowls of this brand. Did you ever find out anything about the manufacuturer? I would be curious to know. One of the bowls is a pail-type bowl with a metal handle that was factory made. Any information that you have gathered would be greatly appreciated. I included my e-mail address for you as well. I would like to her from you.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Julie, I have never been able to find anything about this company. I have had a number of people write to me with a message similar to yours… that they have a bowl with the name, but the “N” in “Sanitary” is not backwards like it is on the bowl I have. I would love to have some information too… if you ever find out more about this I wish you would share it with me.


Shirley, I have the same bowl with the N backwards as yours is. Same pattern except no dark glaze around the outer rim. I picked it up at some little shop. Almost got rid of it today but thought I would look it up on the net. which led me to you. If you have any info please forward. Thanks

Jeanne from Iowa

I have had this bowl for a long time. I was told it was my greatgrandmother’s. She was born in the mid 1800’s. All the lettering is correct on the bottom of my bowl, and it has a wire handle.I am not interested in selling it but am curious to the company origin and value. Keep looking!! Thanks


I just bought this bowl for $1 at an estate sale – same lettering (backwards N in Sanitary) and very old but no brown glaze.

I know that I have not seen this anywhere else. I wonder where these were made?


We have a bowl with the factory handle, but the designs on
ours are a patriotic shields and Indian heads. It does not have the word SANITARY at all, just “Pure Food Cooking Ware Made in USA” along with a fantastic eagle. Wish we could all find out more about this unique maker!


Deborah – I too have a bowl like yours with the wooden factory handle and the Indian head and patriotic shields. Did you find out any more about the bowl? Would love to find out how much it is worth and how old it is?


Maybe someone at the Kovels website would know, or I’d check with a museum curator.

Usually anything that says Made in the USA dates it to the last century.


I have what looks like Deborah’s and Connie’s in that there is the patriotic shield and the word sanitary has been left out. Mine looks more like a pie plate though, unless it is the top only.


Hi, I inherited a pie plate from my Great Grandmother. My grandmother passed it to my mother who passed it to me, because I love custard pie and they always used it to make custard pie for family dinners. The N in Sanitary is not backwards but it does have the wheat or leaf pattern as shown in picture. It is glossy glaze on inside but not glazed on outside. I am 71 so I am sure it is well over 100 years old. It makes the greatest pies!

Teena C.

I have a bowl just like the picture, the n is backwards. The thing about my bowl is I found it in a dumpster at my employer when I was carrying out our trash. I fell in love with it. But I don’t know much about it until I just found this blog.


I have one of these family heirlooms.

Many hours were spent researching and hopefully what I am posting is accurate.

Research has lead me to the D.L Melick Pottery Company out of Zanesville, Ohio. Originally established in 1903 as D.L. Melicks Pottery Ware, the name changed to the D.L. Melick Pottery Company in 1905. The earliest indication of the sales of the Pure Food Cooking Ware line was between 1905 and 1909.

In 1908, they did heavy advertising for canvassers throughout the United States promoting commissions between $300 to $500 for motivated individuals.
At the time prices ranged from 10 to 25 cents per piece but most canvassers would push a 5 piece set.

By 1910, the D.L Melick company didn’t seem to exist. It is possible that it became part of the American Clay Products Company, or possibly the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company both that came into existence around 1910.

It should be noted that David Melick’s wife, Edith, was the sister of Nelson McCoy. Both the Melick and McCoy families had been involved in the pottery business for many years. At the time of Edith’s passing in 1950, her estate consisted of a lot of stock in the Nelson McCoy company.