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Care Of Frankoma Pottery


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#1 Joe Anonymous

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:16 AM

Lots of people ask if Frankoma pottery is dishwasher safe, microwave safe, etc. I'd like to try to clarify some of those terms. :_reading:

All current Frankoma pottery is microwave safe and has been since microwaves became popular. What does that mean? It means that for normal usage, there are no problems with microwaving the product. Often, the piece will become warm to the touch, but that will not harm it - just be careful in picking it up. I don't know why some pieces get hot and others don't, but it may have to do with batch to batch variations in the firing or perhaps small amounts of impurities in the clay. HOWEVER, I would not recommend regular and continued microwaving, particularly if your piece is one of those which gets hot. For example, I used one plate to make bacon - about 8 minutes per batch of bacon and I made 3 or 4 batches of bacon, so the piece was in the microwave for 25-30 minutes - and it broke. So let's say that reasonable amounts of microwaving are safe.

[addendum: I just had a Eureka moment. I was wondering why some of my bass mugs got hot in the microwave and not others. Then I realized that there is a large amount of terra cotta showing on the bass mug and this picks up moisture when you wash it or put it in the dishwasher. When you microwave a mug with lots of moisture soaked into the pottery, it's going to get hot. So if you plan to make your tea in the morning in the mug, make sure it's thoroughly dry before putting it in the microwave - unless you don't mind the mug getting hot.]

Older pieces? I would be very careful, particularly with Ada clay - since microwaves weren't around back then and it is possible that the formulations might have a problem. But you don't want to microwave your Ada pieces, anyway, do you? :rolleyes:

Oven safe. All current Frankoma pottery is oven safe. HOWEVER, remember that all pottery is sensitive to thermal shock. If you place a room temperature piece of pottery into a hot oven, there's a risk that it will break. The proper way to put Frankoma pottery into an oven is to put the item into a cold oven and then turn it on. That will be more gentle on the piece and also save you energy since you don't have to preheat. Most food products come out better with the gradual heating, anyway. As far as I know, the same thing is true of older pieces.

Dishwasher safe. Again, all current Frankoma pieces are dishwasher safe and I have no reason to believe this isn't true of older pieces, as well. But think about what that means. It means that the dishwasher won't harm the piece. But if you put the pieces into the dishwasher in such a way that they're clanking around and hitting each other, they can certainly be damaged (just as you'd never hit your Frankoma pieces against each other on your countertop). Make sure you load the dishwasher in such a way that the pieces aren't hitting each other. Personally, I never put ANY irreplaceable dishes into the dishwasher for that reason. But I have a newer set of Frankoma dishes that I use every day in the dishwasher and never had any problems (unlike cheaper pottery out there which chips at the slightest provocation).

Freezers. No. Never. Don't do it. Frankoma pottery almost always has some unglazed areas (look on the bottom). Terra Cotta will absorb water. If there's any moisture in the clay and you freeze it, the expanding water will break the piece. In theory, if you had a bone dry piece, the freezer wouldn't harm it, but it's too easy for the clay to pick up moisture, so I wouldn't take a chance. :(

Cooktops. Nope. Pottery will not withstand the temperature shock - whether you have a solid surface countertop, gas stove, or electric range.

Other than that, you can use Frankoma pieces just like you would any other dinnerware and serving ware. Just treat it with respect and it should last a lifetime (or longer, considering how many of you are using pieces you inherited from your grandparents!).

#2 plm555

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 10:15 AM

Well said! Thank you for covering this topic so thoroughly.

I'm pinning this topic to the top of the board so other Frankoma collectors can easily access this information.




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