Over the past hundred years or so, almost every object in the domestic kitchen has been adapted to changing needs and fashions of society. But there is one object that is almost unchanged since it was first made over a century ago.

The mixing bowl.

Not just any mixing bowl – but THE mixing bowl, the one that almost every house in the country has. The one that appears on every cookery programme and in every photograph of a modern kitchen.

Yes, that generic mixing bowl in a familiar cream colour with a bit of a pattern around the outside that almost everyone owns is not just some random object churned out in their millions in some dusty part of China, but is a 112 year old design classic, and is still made by the same English pottery company.

That is officially the “Cane Bowl” – named after the distinctive colour of the local yellow coloured earthenware used in its manufacture, also sometimes known as ‘yellow ware’.

Although the company itself still has factories in England, sadly production of the mixing bowls themselves moved to an unnamed Western European country recently and over the years different people have owned the company — but wonderfully, it is still the same firm, and the same unchanged mixing bowl design.

For a company that has been around for 200 years, and has managed to infiltrate practically every kitchen in the land, it has proven surprisingly difficult to find out much about.

Established in Church Gresley, Derbyshire in the 1800s, the company was run by a series of master potters until it was bought by Tom Cash in 1901, who retained the name of one of the company’s most memorable potters, “Bossy” Mason – and thus the company of Mason Cash was born.

It was also in 1901 that the cane mixing bowl was first produced.

Not much changed for another hundred years until the company was sold in 2004, and again in 2007 to its current owners, The Rayware Group.

The company has struggled at times, and the only newspaper report I could find was in The Times in October 1980, when the company was facing a sharp decline in sales and called in a marketing expert to help. His suggestion was to focus on the company’s heritage — which they accepted — and to raise their prices — which they refused.

I looked in some shops, and those that sold mixing bowls, only sold Mason Cash bowls – not just the big classic mixing bowl, but often pudding bowls — and the company is almost as famous for its pet bowls.

Have a look in your kitchen – if there is an earthenware mixing bowl in there, the chances are that on the bottom will be stamped the name of Mason Cash.

In the modern world, one of the few ways a European manufacturer can compete with cheap Chinese imports is to trade on its brand name and heritage, so that consumers look at a product and are overwhelmed by the marketing rather than the utility. But had you ever opened a cupboard and thought – ahh, the Mason Cash bowl?

So, here is a company that has somehow managed to carry on producing an overtly basic product – the earthenware bowl, with minimal branding and yet defied all the conventional thinking you would learn in a modern business school.

And yet, somehow, the branding is there, in collective memories of children licking the cake mix out of the bowl when mum was baking. In a memory that the cream-coloured bowl told you that deserts and pies and cakes were on the way. In a memory that is subtly prodded when you visit a shop to buy a mixing bowl, and sitting on the shelf a product that quietly whispers fond memories in your ear. With a smile you reach out and almost unthinkingly, buy something that should look so wrong in a modern kitchen, yet is so perfectly correct.

It’s a quite remarkable situation, and one that hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

Disclaimer – When discussing this issue, my flatmate and I were slightly surprised to realise that while we have a large glass mixing bowl, we do not own one of these earthenware classics.

How embarrassing!

That will be rectified when I move to a new home in a couple of months time.


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  1. Peter Hill says:

    They are heavy, and they chip too easily.
    They also just look so out of date.
    There are much better shaped and designed bowls available now, in better, lighter materials.

    • Melanie Ray says:

      But the fact that you can stand it on its side when mixing (I did it yesterday when making a potato salad for a large group picnic), and when transferring food from it to a container is non-existent in other bowls. And sometimes one’s community is large and you need to make a lot.

  2. Nick says:

    Peter: the heaviness is one of the selling points for me! Having a heavy bowl that you know isn’t going to go flying when you stick an electric whisk or pull together some bread dough is invaluable.

    I’ll concede that it does chip easily. I haven’t chipped mine myself, but I lost my previous one to a big long fracture down the side.

  3. L says:

    Mine says Sainsbury’s on the bottom, unfortunately…

  4. Ria says:

    Thanks for this interesting article, I wanted one for ages as my grandmother and my mother had one and apart from nostalgia I agree with Nick’s points.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I totally agree with Nick. I have been selling Mason Cash bowls for a few years now, and the weight is a huge selling point, for the reasons mentioned. It was designed this way, as were the embossed shapes on the side to provide grip and avoid slipping on the work surface. I have been selling online for three years now, and the Mason Cash mixing bowl has always been, and still is, one of my best sellers. Treated with a bit of care, this bowl will last a lifetime and can be passed on as an heirloom when you’re done with it! πŸ™‚

  6. Dennis says:

    Thanks for this interesting article, I wish one of those. This is good on baking.

  7. Lynn Miller says:

    I have inherited a very old Mason Cash pudding bowl. It has 30 S on the base in the middle, and round the edge of the base says Mason Cash England DE118E0

    Is there a market for this?
    Many thanks

    • Lynn Miller says:

      I would like to know if this is of value?

    • Melanie Ray says:

      My bowl, found in a garage sale by friends who gave it to me, has T.G. Green & Co. Ltd. Church Gresley England on the bottom. But if it was first made after the Mason Cash change in 1901, then I am confused. Can anyone enlighten me? Did they return to the old stamp for sales’ sake? It has some tiny chips but is in otherwise good working order.
      On another note, I love the idea that the company pays minimal heed to marketing advice and still thrives – or at least is still here and functioning. I live in Canada, and didn’t grow up with this bowl, but discovered it when a young “hippie” making her own bread for many years.

  8. Victoria H says:

    First let me start by thanking Ian for taking me back to such a happy time in my life. That of sitting on a stool in my grandmother’s kitchen and watching her whip up many a tasty concoction in one of those old Gresley mixing bowls. After reading some of the previous comments I can almost determine who may be fifty plus and who is not. I guess if you didn’t live through the experience of “The Bowl” it may be difficult to understand the attachment. For myself the value is not for it’s appearance and maybe not even for it’s intended purpose anymore but simply for the memories I recall whenever I see one. I bought a shiny new bowl once. Don’t know who made it and really didn’t care although I expect (as Ian pointed out above) it was pumped out en masse by some factory in China. It didn’t make my food taste any better and within five years it was garbage worthy. I’m shocked that I cannot generate even one tiny warm connection for that bowl. Hmmm…Cracks and all I’ll take the big, heavy Gresley any day.

  9. teaurn says:

    Great article, good to know the history and you’ve hit the nail on the head re people’s find memories of these mixing bowls. I used one in cookery class at school in the mid 80s. I finally got round to buying myself one a few days ago, after putting off buying one during the few dozen years since I had my own home to buy things for.

  10. Linda says:

    I recently bought a 29cm bowl, decided to use my electric hand mixer for a few mins & noticed the enamel was marked. I emailed Rayware Ltd about this & they had the chutzpah to respond in terms along the lines that I should use elbow grease or brasso !!

  11. Sharon says:

    I have two of these bowls, 13″ gripstand and 11″, but both are made by Green’s, who I associate with Cornishware, rather than Mason & Cash. The gripstand has a patent number 491517, and marked T G Green &co ltd, Church Gresley, and the smaller bowl is patent number 744299, Green & co ltd, Gresley and has a picture of a church on it. Both bowls have been in the family for around 60 years. Can you enlighten me as to when Green’s may have started to make this type of bowl? Many thanks in anticipation.

    • Wendy says:

      I understand Mason Cash bought TG Green in 2001. Check Mason Cash on Wikipedia for history.

  12. Pauline Tweddell says:

    My Grandma’s 90 year old bowl now lives with me, so you can tell I too am not young. It has survived all these years, it has made bread, cake’s puddings, Christmas Cakes, all cooked in a coal oven, later in a gas oven. Grandma was a pitman’s wife, Grandpa fought in WWI, with 5 children. I cherish it for all its memories. It is ‘crazed’ and has a chip, just like us when we reach 90!

  13. Donna J Lonas says:

    I acquired a mason cash & co Ltd. Greeley DELL 8EQ. Church England.luv it. Any information I’d appreciate.

  14. Ebony Patterson says:

    I keep seeing them on television and in film as props so wondered why everybody and their mother seemed to have the same mixing bowl lol. Spotting them is almost as fun as spotting IKEA products.

  15. Deborah Goldberg says:

    Many years ago, in a dusty old-fashioned hardware store, I found not one, but two Gripstand bowls. The bottom of the smaller one says T.G. Green Ltd, Church Gresley, made in England. I love these bowls – there is something about the shape that makes them wonderful for mixing things. Sadly, both bowls have cracked but the weird thing is that despite the cracks, they don’t leak. So I kept using them, cracks and all. Because of my reluctance to give up these bowls, I have ignored the cracks and now wonder whether that was such a good idea. Can these bowls be safely used once they have cracked?

    • Wendy says:

      yes. Mine has been that way for years. The cracks are under the surface I assume? That shows they’ve been used and loved!

  16. Graham Major says:

    I have 2 from my mother, both circa 1930’s. She used them for everything she cooked, no chips, nicks, one has a very small crack on the lip. I use them weekly and they are the best bowls I own.

  17. Tracey young says:

    I have been collecting these gripstand bowls for a little while now but I would like to know how many different size bowls there are in the plain gripstand and easmix bowls. If anyone knows please let me know, thanks.

  18. M Kennard says:

    I have just acquired a Mason Cash & Co number 9 Church Crsley mixing bowl, it is about 31-32 cm in Diammeter, can anyone put some light on this, a friend who has one says the number 9 is the size and it is dated between 1901-1941, any information would be appreciated


  19. Jane says:

    what a wonderful article. I am still the proud owner of Gresley bowls, one is medium sized the other holds over five litres of water. They belonged to my Mother and are still in use. The large one has just helped make three batches of Elderflower Cordial πŸ™‚ There is slight crazing on the inside but they are otherwise perfect. Despite all the modern gadgets one doesn’t really need many tools to be a good cook! My memories of the large bowl is of Christmas and my Mum making the mincemeat, her Mother’s Victorian recipe, and me stirring and making a wish before it was bottled. Happy days. Jane

  20. Cecilia MacLean says:

    I have my Mom’s ‘bread’ bowl – I have no idea how many loaves of bread she turned out over the years. She got hers as a wedding gift in the 40’s. Mine is unmarked despite the heavy use she gave it. It has the T.G. Gresley markings on the bottom. Also “6’s”…I have also seen 12’s. What does this mean?

  21. Cecilia MacLean says:

    Sorry, think that should be T.G. Green, Church Gresley…

  22. Christine says:

    can these be safely used in a microwave? I have two of these bowls

  23. Amanda says:

    I am now in my late 40s and can not believe I have never owned one of these lovely bowls, I have very fond memories of my cookery lessons from school years, yesterday I bought the ingredients for my Christmas cake, then decided it’s time for a mason cash bowl, I have however gone modern but still traditional, I purchased 1 ceam size 12 1 turquoise and a large jug, very happy with my choices, happy backing everyone.

  24. Amanda Thomas says:

    Happy baking that should have said sorry

  25. I’ve only just discovered this long standing thread. I’d just like to add that T.G.Green & Co Ltd were making these bowls several decades before Mason Cash Ltd, who were the pottery next door. The correct name locally here in Church Gresley was Yellow Ware bowls and were already in production in 1864 when Thomas Green took over the pottery from Henry Wileman.

  26. Teskay says:

    I had a Gripstand (stamp of a building)TG Green Ltd Church Greasley Made in England and 12’s at bottom mixing bowl that I received as a wedding gift over 30 years ago. I would like to replace it with same. I see 9’s also on the bottom where mine has a 12 so I’m not sure what that means as both seem to be 11.5” in diameter. Any ideas how to purchase one exactly like mine?

  27. Geoffrey Brock says:

    OK, so I had to look. And mine is a Mason. And I see my handy little brown casserole for one dish is also Mason. Both have done me good service for some 35 years.

  28. We were given a set for our wedding, 40 years ago. I cook a lot and one or more are out being used most days. I love the fact that you can chill or warm them for different purposes. I also have my grandma’s old seesaw scales (from 1927) and her enamel flour bin. I love using them.

  29. Alex says:

    I came to Canada (now in Vancouver) in 1956, from S. Devon. I well recall being in the kitchen of my Grandmother’s, with the sweet, funny, downtrodden “help” cooking a myriad of exciting things in one of the yellow ware bowls. My poor late mother tried as well — but sadly failed in her cooking accomplishments! Memories, as previously stated, are an integral part of these iconic bowls. In 1980, when I set up my new residence, at the top of the list was to purchase a Greasley mixing bowl, preferring that to other, more modern options. I continue to use it regularly, treating it with great and fond care. No chips,no crazing, no issues. My thanks to the author for enlightening me about this bowl and it’s history. I am, right now, waiting for bread to rise, and decided to check out the history of the bowl. Lucky find. Cheers!

  30. Erna Pratten says:

    I live in South Africa and today I baked my first bread ever. I used my mom’s Gripstand mixing bowl by T.G GREEN & CO. LTD
    Patent no 491517
    It’s probably 100 years old. No chips no cracks, still in perfect condition.

    • Estelle says:

      Hello Erna, I also bought one, super excited

    • Debbie Attwood says:

      I also have a gripstand mixing bowl i think it is 13″ from what i a reading on all the other posts. I was going to give it to Value Village but now seeing how old it is I might just keep it. Although not sure if i will use it. It is pretty heavy. lol

  31. Estelle says:

    I bought a easimix T.G. Green company today with the green line inside. Super excited.

  32. Allison Mercel says:

    Having admired my grandmother’s mixing bowls when I was a child, I’ve recently inherited some of these awesome mixing bowls . They came from her sister, my great aunt, who recently passed age 95. They probably belonged to gran at some point as well. These bowls, although old and discoloured, don’t have any chips in the rim, and are as sturdy as ever, and the pattern and writing still clear. These will stay with me, and hopefully be passed to my kids. Thank you for the history in these, it brought back a whole heap of memories..

  33. A says:

    I have had my set for 20 years and not one of them has any chips or damage to them. They look like new.

  34. brianmjohnston says:

    deep bowl with approx 1 inch lip mark on bottom is green in colour what year approx was this item made

  35. Kath says:

    I’ve just found the largest of the Gripstand mixing bowl range in a charity shop and very happily bought it in support of the charity. I can’t contain my delight!
    I have a friend who inherited her grans and it’s still her most favorite baking friend.
    I love interesting history! Thank you for the story

  36. Marianne Johnson says:

    I am a mother and grandmother along with being a fanatic when it comes to my beautiful kitchen. I, as others have stated, have numerous bowls (some plastic) that I have various uses for. But the bowls I have used for years and love the most, are my Mason bowls. I have several of them along with two bowls with handles (different sizes) and just the feel working with such classic and beautiful pottery brings joy to my heart. Yes, I’m a BIG fan.

  37. Lynne Jeffreys says:

    I was just deciding what bowls to keep and what to pass on to my nieces and sisters (who may have their own already) and looked at the bottom of the big mixing bowl and came to this site. Very informative. You mentioned 1901 the company was sold to Mason Cash. So did they keep using the same stamp showing the β€œThe Gridstand mixing bowl T.G. Green &Co. Ltd, Church Greeley. Patent no. 491517 after the sale? This bowl may have been my Grandmother before my Mom and I’m trying to figure out how old this bowl is? Any help with the age department?? thank you

  38. Gail Burke says:

    I just took my bowl out to start the Xmas cake. Great big crack in it. Devastated. Was given to me by a friend of my mom’s, then in her 90s. It was her mom’s bought new when they first came out. Can’t bring myself to get rid.

  39. Nik Oakley says:

    I’m so used to reading Ian’s London – and more importantly railway blogs – that I had no idea he had written on mixing bowls.

    I work for a company (The Vintage Kitchen Store) that sells vintage examples of these and they are hugely popular. So popular that we’ve sold out of the Gripstand version this Christmas.

    Many people buy the bowls for older relatives to bring back fond memories, others just appreciate the quality or the heritage it brings.

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