About a year ago, I came across a wooden bowl in a local antique mall. I have always been intrigued about traditional woodworks as early as I can remember. Since the tag on the wooden bowl said “old dough bowl”, I ended up buying it on impulse. However, once I got home, I began thinking that the wooden bowl might be a reproduction. After conducting a thorough search on the internet and asking various local antique shops, I found multiple ways of determining whether a wooden bowl is antique or a reproduction.
The best way to tell if a wooden bowl is antique is to inspect it and look for patterns of authenticity. These could be certain marks, designs, or colors that are consistent with the original maker. Another way is to research it online or take it to a local antique shop for inspection.
How to Tell If a Wooden Bowl is a Reproduction
Indicators that a wooden bowl is a reproduction include factory-rounded corners, consistent color, and a new odor. In addition, look at the sides and bottom of the bowl for cuts or nicks, which could come from a spokeshave, plane, or drawknife.
Evidence of such nicks or cuts shows that it is a reproduction. Old wooden bowls consist of straight saw marks or visible signs of arc-shaped or circular patterns. So, without further ado, let us discuss some indicators of an official antique wooden bowl.
What is a Wooden Bowl?
A wooden bowl, commonly referred to as a dough bowl or trencher, is a wooden container that was found in every home during colonial times. No American home was complete without such wooden bowls. The first settlers in the early 1900s used them to throw, mix, and knead biscuits or bread. They made bread up to three times a day during those days.
Husbands hand-carved these bowls and gave them to their new brides as a wedding present. These art pieces formed a vital and treasured kitchen tool, as it was perfect for allowing the bread dough to rise. In addition, the wood served as natural insulation as it kept the yeast warm. Besides making bread, these wooden bowls also served as salad bowls, chopping bowls, or tools for molding butter.
As the years passed, the women would pass the wooden bowl to their daughters as valuable heirlooms. Additionally, these wooden bowls signified two essential aspects in any American home at the time: farm and family. They possess a vintage charm suitable for décor that features natural elements and seasonal decorating. Today, these authentic pieces of history are a highly sought-after accessory for lovers of French décor and farmhouses.
How to Identify an Antique Wooden Bowl
An antique refers to a piece of art that is over 100 years old. Such items are classified as antiques regardless of their construction material. Due to their age and quality, antiques are hot-selling items and highly valued, meaning there is a high chance of reproduction.
Reproductions refer to copies of antiques that are less valuable than the original. They are more affordable and readily accessible versions of the antiques. Furthermore, some reproductions, like old cast iron trays and copies of old Coca-Cola trays, have real value. So, how can you tell if a wooden bowl is antique and not a reproduction?
1. Inspect the item
When purchasing an antique wooden bowl, you have to check the quality of the craftsmanship. Look for marks or signatures that could help you determine the maker and timeline of the item. Examine the sides and bottom of the wooden bowl closely to find any visible signs of saw marks and old age.
Being that the items contain wood construction materials, such marks are relatively easy to identify. Upon finding these markings, visit a local antique shop that can aid in identifying them. You can also search them online and find out if they are legit or if the item is a replica.
2. Do an online search
Other than local brick-and-mortar antique shops, you can get antique wooden bowls from online antique collectors. However, you have to do your research before making any purchase. Look up your antique product online on either Google or eBay to find the price of other similar items. You could also upload a photo of the antique to any antique forum or a valuation website to find the item’s worth.
Furthermore, you could also purchase an antique guide that focuses on wooden bowls. Having a good library that you can use to research your antique wooden bowls before making a purchase could definitely come in handy. In addition, an antique guide will provide a good foundation as you expand your knowledge on your favorite types of antiques.
3. Test the authenticity
Generally, there are several ways that you can test the authenticity of your antique wooden bowl. For instance, you could use a black light, also known as UV, often used to discover the mysterious world of antiques. The black light aids in illuminating materials and other aspects of the item that are invisible to the human eye. By running the light across the item, you can tell its authenticity and identify possible repair jobs or cover-ups. If you don’t already own one, you can grab one here on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are wooden bowls safe to eat out of?
Generally, wood is a natural insulator that keeps your food warm while preventing your hands from getting burned by excess heat. Therefore, it is safe to eat hot foods, like porridge, curries, stews, and soups, from these bowls. Make sure you clean it thoroughly before and after use.
Can you store bread in a wooden bowl?
Yes, you can use your wooden bowls to store bread. Initially, people used them for mixing and kneading dough . Not only did it provide sufficient heat for the fermentation of the yeast used to make the bread, but it also absorbed excess moisture. Thus, your bread will not become soggy after storing it in these bowls for a long duration.
How were wooden bowls made originally?
Generally, wooden bowls were crafted by hand using one large piece of wood. Often, it would have a rectangular, oval, or round shape and could vary in size. On average, these bowls would measure 10″ to 18″ wide, 24″ to 36″ long, and 3″ to 8″ deep. There were also small handles or grips on either side.