Japanese Era

Some of the designs and colors from the period when DescoWare was made in Japan. When the Desco guys in Los Angeles were facing increased competition, they briefly manufactured in Japan instead of Belgium. The Japanese colors were a little different. The yellows were less pale…more of an autumn.  The Flame turned into Just Plain Orange. The designs from Japan got wild and there were a lot of accessories… the fondue set, the chafing dish–I have a set of canisters in orange and some plates in the autumn yellow color.

The pieces are much harder to identify because the Descoware Marking on the bottom was left out. Instead, they used paper labels only so unless the piece has been found with the paper label still attached, it’s largely impossible to identify.

They were also made from a much lighter gauge metal compared to the Belgian manufacture. The series included pots with little knobby handles on the lids. Anyone know what those knobs were made with?

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9 Responses to Japanese Era

  1. Candy Eve says:

    Some of the JAPANESE DESCOWARE is actually Porcelain over ALUMINUM. Similar Designs and colors, but not cast iron at all
    I accidentally bought three lids for the pots and pans in ORANGE FLAME, and when I got them they are ALUMINUM. I saw DESCOWARE and bid without knowing about the fact that not all DESCOWARE was cast iron.

    The lids I received fit all the cast Iron, but they are light weight, and will heat hotter. So oven cooking with them is out. They work on the range for fast cooking, though. What they are good for is putting the cast iron pan with food in the fridge, since the lids are lighter on the glass shelves in the newer refrigerators. I still love my cast iron more!

    I will send a photo of them separately.


  2. megan says:

    I am confused–I just purchased a little 2 1/4 quart pot with lid. It looks like the same style as the one pictured here in yellow. I says “Belguim” on the bottom and is the grid pattern. It is the classic flame not one tone orange. Was my piece made in Japan?

  3. Actually, Megan, that part of the history is a still a little cloudy but I believe the griddle bottom pieces were made when the Descoware name was brought back to Europe by Le Creuset after it had been made in Japan for a few years. LC promptly shut it down shortly after acquiring it.

  4. bruce young says:

    This comment is not about aluminum versus cast iron although I prefer cast iron and have several old cast iron pans that belonged to my grandmother.AlThough you can’t tell from my name, I am and was raised French. My comment is more for educational purposes.Bruxelles which was part of the original name of the descoware cookware is the name that Belgians call their capital city of Brussels and is pronounced like bruke (as in duke) zell (the x is pronounced like z). So that comes out brukezell. Hope you enjoyed my French language lesson. On honor of Julia Child “Bon APETIT” (the last T is silent)

  5. Agnes says:

    If I am understanding correctly, the ‘sunny yellow’ color with the grid bottom that says ‘Belgium’ on the bottom is actually made in Belgium? How can one tell which are the Japanese pieces? Are the pieces made by La Crueset before they shut it down as good as earlier pieces, or no?
    Thanks for any information you could supply!

  6. ellabee says:

    Items marked ‘Belgium’ on the base were manufactured in Belgium, unless the Descoware company was breaking U.S. import laws (which I very much doubt).

    I can shed a bit of light on dating the waffle-based items, as I bought one in the DC area in late 1974 or early 1975. It’s a 2-qt casserole in the deeper yellow, just like the saucepan shown in image #2. The knob is made of porcelain. Mine’s been in continuous use since purchase, and the inside is still remarkably white. The bare-iron base makes this line even more useful on the stovetop than original Descoware, IMO.

    The color exactly matches Le Creuset ‘Dijon’ yellow of that era, for what it’s worth, but was produced, in Belgium, before the LC takeover.

  7. Sugarx2 says:

    I believe the WOK may possibly porcelainized, over galvanized steel. It seems heavier than the aluminum pieces, and lighter than the cast iron ones. It is supposed to be as sturdy as any WOK out there, and easy to clean. I have only used mine decoratively, as it is a beautiful piece. It was put out by GENERAL HOUSEWARES CORPORATION, who bought out DESCOWARE, and later sold it to LE CREUSET. I will try to upload a photo of the WOK N DOK LABEL I found.

  8. catherine hannon says:

    Hi I bought 2 saucepans with tops with made in belguim on underside , little handles no knobs on tops, little stubby handles. And small fry pan all have ceramic on bottom of each item .I have no idea what I have but they are great for cooking

  9. tom says:

    I just purchased a sauce pan with that is green on the outside & whit enamel interior & a wooden handle.on the bottom it reads: FE Belgium. P is written a little lower.
    Does anyone know what type of pan this is?

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