This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Steelco Stainless Cookware

Remember the kettle mom used to make Bohnensuppe (bona zup)?  It was a tall steel pot with a bakelite handle; it probably held 6 quarts.  It doubled, in tomato season, as the mashing pot, because it had that cone shaped colander sitting on a separate high collar over the pot.  There was a  wooden pestle/masher, remember?  
And remember the pot mom made boiled dinner in...also stainless, with a lid that fit the fry pan/popcorn pan, too.  It had two handles made of shaped steel.  I can still hear the sound of placing that lid on the pot.  Mog owns it now, and says everything she makes in it turns out well ☺. She often thinks of mom.
Shirley sent this photo last year.  I recognized mom and dad and Uncle Tader (or Math)* but the room and the other couples aren't familiar, and--what was Steelco? (*Three years later:  Talked with Aunt Eileen and she said 
yes, this was her party ☺)

  Larry went looking this week, and last night showed me some ads for the company:

Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1946

We have been ordered to expand our Cleveland district.  Two weeks ago, we advertised for 4 men and today, these men who were hired are on their way to financial independence.  The Chicago office says, by wire today, to open much more territory and put on 6 more men at once. Car necessary. Must be aggressive and not afraid to work.  Compensation discussed at interview.

We will prove to you, in the field, that your earnings will far surpass $500 per month.  If we do not prove these earnings to you within a 14 day period then we suggest you find some other position.  Never say these earnings are impossible because many of our men are earning much more. Excellent opportunity for those who will honestly work and like organization work.
Get going now.  Own your own home and the nicer things in life. Act now.You may be one of the six (6) accepted...."
(Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1949)

 From the Oregonian, September, 1948.  The Steelco factory was in Portland, so it's logical they started selling mostly in Oregon and Washington.  It was a home party sale, like Tupperware. I recall mom telling about a party she went to where the host/hostess cooked a whole meal in stacked pots on the stove, thereby saving fuel and conserving heat energy.  Was she talking about THIS party above, or some other party?  Would dad have encouraged buying Lifetime Quality Pots and Pans, especially when he was stuck in a shirt and tie?  Were they married at the time?

We don't know that the cookware mom had was Steelco, but I intend to check with Mog and see if her pot is marked.  I kinda hope so.


  1. I think A. Eileen is to the left of Mom, and Aunt Katy to the right of Matt. Blaise then is likely somewhere, no?

  2. Sure, A Eileen is logical, huh? But I doubt A Katie was there. They look so crowded around the table. I think mom talked about how awful the dinner was, too--that some was overcooked and some cold, that the method was foolish and un-necessary. She said they felt railroaded into being there. So DID they end up buying cookware that night?

  3. I don't think that's A Katie either.

    I do remember Mom loving and often speaking about her Revere Ware. She often tried to persuade me to buy it. So maybe those pots were Revere Ware. I doubt that the handle was bakelite. It went out of use pretty quickly because it was so brittle and so heat sensitive. Radios made of it often cracked quite a lot from the heat of the tubes, I know.

  4. I remember the soup pot having a plastic-y handle and the texture and feel of it reminded me of the radio cabinet. (Mom said that radio was a wedding gift, BTW). Larry went looking some more last night and found the co. later advertised for couples to sell Steelco Cookware, probably a much better arrangement.
    Funny about mom and Revere ware--did she get a kick-back or something? She never had a whole set of any cookware, that I recall. Seems like pots came and went. Remember the coffee pot, with the vacuum-action and the eventual bobby pin hook? Maybe that was Steelco?

  5. I have Mom's set, as I remember it is the hole set. I loaned the calander set and the pot did not come back. I was told the goat was watered in it and it was hit by a tractor.
    Any one know where I can get a replacement? Ifso e-mail Terry at ww1047@frontier. com

  6. Hi, I am not part of your family.. But I do remember when I was about 8 years old a man came to our house and did cook a whole meal with the Steelco Pots and Pans. He also demonstrated on how to use the larger lid as a serving dish for the roast he had prepared. He made the mashed potates in the press... called rice potates with the skins on and made a wonderful dessert that I still make. I have only the steamer but not the whole set. When mom died I don't know what my dad had done with the set... I always wanted it...My grandparents and great grandparents all ate the marvelous dinner he had prepared. Of course dad bought a set for mom. Thanks for letting me reminese
    VIckie Balliett

  7. Oh I forgot to mention I am 62 years old and this took place in Bellville, Ohio 1960 or earlier...

  8. I am using a set of Steelco pots with black handles and black knobs on the lids. I have a set of four. These were the only pots my mother ever used. My guess is the pots are probably 70 years old and accept for some black marks on the bottom are in great shape. I just wanted to share my story and memories of my mother telling me she bought those pots before she was married and kept them in her hope chest. Great quality made in USA product. Thank you

  9. Wow, Unknown, Vicki b, and Anonymous--how cool to hear from you! What great memories--thank you! ☺

  10. My dad gave me a roaster pan that had been his mother's. I use it for prime rib at Christmas, as well as some other times. Recently I made a roast chicken and told my dad, now 93, that I loved it.
    He asked if I knew the history, which I didn't really. Here's what he It was part of a set of pans. In the mid thirties when money was scarce a guy came around selling the sets. He arranged to come and cook a dinner for the family and furnished everything. Excellent meal but I don't remember what. Dad was impressed and bought a set. Mom was horrified at the cost. But they lasted."
    I love that pan even more now!

  11. Is the steelco company still in existence ? My Mom is still using them at age 87 and she has a handle that needs replacing ...does anyone have any idea where or how you would order one?
    Paul Windschill

  12. Google it, Paul ☺ Even if the company's gone, someone has it to sell! Good luck