Island Vintage: Fire King Tulip Mixing Bowls

As a small child, I can remember well the many visits to my grandfather's modest little home. It had only three rooms with the main area being a combination kitchen, dining and TV room. Off to the left were two doors, one to a small bedroom, the other to a small bathroom. Along the back wall was a row of built-in cupboards with an old square porcelain sink on one end and a refrigerator on the other. The refrigerater was the old rounded door style with a large chrome handle and small freezer compartment inside. I can still remember the motor clanging whenever it would start up. The floor was a checker-board pattern of black and white tiles, such classic 50's style everywhere.

As uninteresting and plain as his home may have seemed at the time, what always caught my eye was a set of colorful, splash-proof mixing bowls neatly stacked behind one of the clear glass upper kitchen cupboards. They featured bright tulips with deep green leaves and stems neatly planted in dark blue pots. The center tulip had a bright red flower while the two outside tulips had yellow petals with orange tips. The bowls were made of glossy white milk glass and they were perfectly displayed on the rubber shelf liner with the open lace detail that draped over the front.

Years later, when my grandfather passed away, the one thing I knew I wanted from his home were these bright mixing bowls. As it turned out, one of my uncles beat me to them but after all, it had been he who won them at bingo as a little boy so they had special meaning for him as well. I was happy to let them go knowing they were in good hands but I knew I just had to hunt down a matching set for myself.

This turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined. I checked every antique store and flea market, scoured yard sales and told anyone who would listen that I was looking for this particular pattern of Fire King Mixing bowls. It wasn't until I discovered online shopping that I was able to finally purchase an identical set for my own kitchen. Since that time, I have collected the matching grease jar with salt and pepper shakers. These are all displayed exactly as at my grandfather's house, front and center in my glass front kitchen cupboard. To this day, I smile when I see them fondly remembering the grandfather who introduced me to yard sales, flea markets and beautiful Fire King Tulip Mixing bowls.

Debbie Gallagher of Island Vintage Jewelry on Ruby Lane


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