Antique Egg Coddlers
Antique Egg Coddlers are items of antique kitchenware used for cooking eggs.
History and Description
Egg coddlers are small dishes or cups, not unlike ramekins, but usually lidded. They are used to gently cook whole eggs which are broken into the buttered "coddler" along with other seasonings, and then the "coddler" is stood in boiling or near-boiling water, often in an oven at low temperature. (The method is similar to cooking with a bain-marie.)
The purpose-made egg coddler originated in England. The first company to make them on a large scale was Royal Worcester.
Guide For Collectors
Egg coddlers made in the 19th century are primarily made from porcelain. These are often hand-painted with delicate floral motifs. When looking for antique egg coddlers, it is very important to ensure that the object purchased is not in fact a Japanese lidded tea-cup. These can often look indistinguishable from porcelain egg coddlers.
A large number of antique egg coddlers made in Europe were made of silver (often with a means of heating incorporated into the design.) It is easier to find silver egg coddlers, because porcelain was less likely to survive being heated.
Egg coddlers are a popular collector's item, as they are relatively small and attractive. Like all antique or vintage kitchen utensils, part of their charm is that they can be incorporated into daily life. However, this may lead to breakages, and the use of excessive heat (such as a microwave or modern oven) may crackle the porcelain glaze.
The website egg-coddlers.com carries a wealth of information on the subject of care and cleaning.
A Victorian silver egg coddler, (egg shaped with a removable frame for four eggs, with a spirit lamp) marked Benetfink, Cheapside, 1860, was sold at auction by Case Antiques Inc., in January 2012, for $325.
In May 2011, a combined lot of mixed kitchen utensils including four Royal Worcester egg coddlers was sold by Central Street Antiques and Auction for $80.