What is Magnalite Cookware?

Magnalite cookware (or WagnerWare) is a kind of sturdy kitchen tool made up of magnesium and aluminum alloy. It was introduced to the market in 1934 by Wagner Wares as the company’s clever attempt to stay afloat amidst the Great Depression. The company highlighted the shiny appearance and efficient heat conductivity of magnalite cookware to raise its sales. Today, magnalite cookware remains an important part of American tradition and is one of the most trusted products in the world.

How it’s Made

Magnalite cookware is created through a process called casting. In this process, an alloy made up of magnesium and aluminum is melted and poured over a mold that gives the shape of the finished product. The magnesium and aluminum alloy gives magnalite cookware its durability and long life.

You might think that creating a magnalite cookware is as easy as that, but there is more to the production process than just casting. Magnalite cookware is designed by professionals to maximize its heat conducting ability. Specifically, magnalite pots and pans have dense bases that quickly absorb heat and thin sides that allow faster heat distribution when used in cooking. Moreover, they are tightly sealed by magnalite lids to retain a high amount of moisture. 

Types of Magnalite Cookware

The Magnalite cookware set includes a frying pan, oven, saucepan, oval roaster, stockpot, and casserole. Each piece could cost $65 to $140, but buying them in sets could give you a better deal. 

Cleaning Magnalite Cookware

Just like any kitchen tool, magnalite cookware is also subject to wear and tear. Therefore, you must know how to properly clean it to extend its life span. Always remember that the best way to clean magnalite cookware is by hand. Below are some of the ways to keep your magnalite cookware clean and shiny. 

  1. Clean the magnalite pots and pans as usual and rinse them with Coca-Cola. Then, use lemons to scrub the cookware.
  2. Aside from using coke and lemon to clean magnalite pots and pans, you can also soak them in water overnight to make them look new.
  3. Sometimes, your cookware needs to be seasoned or conditioned after long use and frequent cleaning. To do this, preheat the oven to about 250° F. Wipe your cookware with a cloth that has some vegetable oil and let the cookware bake for one to two hours.

Restoring Magnalite Cookware

You may have received a magnalite cookware as a family heirloom and are wondering how to restore its brand new look. The following tips can help you achieve this and even improve the lifespan of your cookware. 

  1. Use warm water and a wool pad to gently (but firmly) scrub off stains on pots and pans.
  2. Use the cream of tartar in scrubbing off stubborn stains and rinse the cookware with warm water.
  3. If the cream of tartar still does not work, use white vinegar to remove discoloration. To do this, pour some teaspoons of vinegar and warm water into the pot and let the mixture boil. Then, let the cookware cool off once the mixture boils. Discard the water after it cools down and pat dry the cookware using a clean towel.

Tips and Warnings

While the magnalite cookware saved the Wagner Wares company during the Great Depression, it also caused the company’s downfall in the decades that follow. This was due to the misconception of many that the use of magnalite cookware was not safe. Research has finally figured out the reason why magnalite cookware was considered a no-no in the kitchen.

As you know, magnalite cookware is made up of magnesium and aluminum alloy. The aluminum in your cookware can be absorbed by acidic fruits and tomatoes which, when consumed, will let you ingest an amount of aluminum higher than the allowed 50 milligrams per day. This causes damaged liver and kidneys as well as respiratory problems. 

To avoid this, make sure that the magnalite cookware you will buy is made up of anodized aluminum. The process of anodizing prevents aluminum from getting absorbed by foods, thus protecting you from over-ingestion. 

If you happened to buy a magnalite cookware that has non-anodized aluminum, you can still use the cookware for preparing foods that have low acidity such as potatoes.  They can also make great gifts as well. 

Facts about Magnalite Cookware

  1. Magnalite cookware is made up of magnesium and aluminum alloy.
  2. Wagner Wares introduced the magnalite cookware during the Great Depression.
  3. Magnalite pots and pans must be made up of anodized aluminum to prevent ingestion of a high amount of aluminum through the foods cooked in this cookware.
  4. Today, magnalite cookware is no longer produced by Wagner Wares. Also, it is not manufactured anymore in the United States.
  5. In some U.S. states, magnalite cookware is treasured as a family heirloom.   

Conclusion

Magnalite cookware is an excellent kitchen product known for its durability and heat transfer efficiency. It is very sturdy and long-lasting that many families treat it as a traditional heirloom passed from generation to generation. Magnalite cookware also wears down when used and cleaned frequently. That is why proper care must be practiced when using this cookware.