Crockpot – a fireless cooker

Q: I don’t know what I have. It’s made of wood, has a hinged lid and a large metal stockpot inside. The bottom has some type of stone in it. I have enclosed a photo of the label on the front. It measures 15”x15”x15”. Can you tell me what I have?

A:  toledo cooker2 In 1900, the Toledo Cooker Co. made the first electrically heated fireless cooker in the United States.

Before most homes had electricity, food would be cooked to nearly done in a metal pot and then placed in a hole in the ground to finish cooking in a slow manner. The hole would be lined with hay and hot stones were placed on top of the pot then the entire thing was covered with dirt and left to simmer for hours. To this day some foods are still cooked this way, not out of necessity but simply because it is an excellent way to slow cook certain meats.

The fireless cooker introduced an efficient and time-saving way to get the slow cooked flavor. It was especially useful during the summer as the fireless cooking method would not heat-up the kitchen. The Toledo Cooker Co. first made the “Ideal” fireless cooker in which the pot was placed in an asbestos lined box. In 1916 they introduced the “Domestic Science” cooker and by 1918 the company brought to the market a fireless cooker that utilized heated burners in the bottom to slow cook foods.

You could also purchase a double cooker that utilized the same technology.

The Toledo Cooker Co. Ideal with one pot, which you have, sells for $75 – $125 and the double cooker sells for $150-$175.

** All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about ½ or less of resale value.

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Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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  1. Recently my husband and I found a Domestic Science 3 pot cooker, it is on a metal stand and has the stones in the bottom of each pot. Could you tell me what year it is from? And what it is worth?

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