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Vintage cookware okay to use?

I happened upon a beautiful set of 3x stainless steel vintage Ekco pots and pans today for only &10! It's in good condition with only a little wear showing on the large fry pan. Is it okay to use this cookware? I assume since it's stainless and 3 ply that it is but I worry about anything in it that could be harmful? Any input would be helpful, thank you!

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  1. If copper pots and cast iron can be passed down for generations, why not stainless steel? There are plenty of people cooking with 50-60yr old tri-ply pans.

    Enjoy. :)

    1. they're not lead and the handles aren't asbestos right? did anybody ever coat them in cadmium or radium paint? (I'm being a jerk)

      they may very well be FAR better than what's on the new shelves these days.

      1. Unless the prior owner had Creuzfeld-Jakob disease and left behind heat-resistant prions, you are fine. Probably about the same chance as being killed by a meteorite.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Some of the stuff coming from China would be more suspect than the old stuff

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Hey Kaleo,

            Points to you for leading me to look up CJD and prions. I like learning something new. But then, I'm old and I'll forget it tomorrow. You'll have to remind me. ;)

            Side note - Saw a report today that our chances of winning a lottery are less than those of being hit by a meteor. I'm calling them on that one.

            How many people get hit by meteors every year? How many win lotteries? Seems the odds are with the lotto winners.

            1. re: DuffyH

              Hi, Duffy:

              I have this cool big knife that my histologist BIL gave me--a brain sectioning knife. Even in my Magic Kitchen, I can't bring myself to use it, exactly because of the chance of CJD. Totally 'clavable, but that's no help with prions.


              1. re: kaleokahu

                I heard through the grapevine so unconfirmed about a surgical suite that had to be torn out due to contamination. It was from fairly high up the chain but never was heard from any other source.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  It's been years since I read Richard Rhodes' "Deadly Feasts". If memory serves, bleach kills prions.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Hi, greygarious:

                    What it takes is the denaturation of the protein to a state where the molecule is no longer able to induce the abnormal folding of normal proteins, and radiation, heat and formalin alone are not very effective. Bleach, caustic soda and strongly acidic detergents alone *may* do the trick, but with 100% fatality of CJD, I'm not sure...

                    WHO recommends one of three methods of sterilizing surgical insturuments against prions:

                    (1) Immerse in a pan containing 1N NaOH and heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 30 minutes; clean; rinse in water; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    (2) Immerse in 1N NaClO or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; transfer instruments to water; heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    (3) Immerse in 1N NaOH or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; remove and rinse in water, then transfer to an open pan and heat in a gravity-displacement (121 °C) or in a porous-load (134 °C) autoclave for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    If my knife was merely a random surgical instrument, I'd be more cavalier about this. But this particular blade was used in a pathology lab for the specific and exclusive purpose of sectioning human brains...

                    Paging Dr. Ala! Paging Dr. Ala! Does Kaleo worry too much?


                    1. re: greygarious

                      There may have been too much uncertainty about trying to kill it off that way with a known contamination.

              2. I would just clean it. Assuming the previous owner only used the cookware to cook, then you are fine. If he/she used it to collect motor oil or whatever crazy thing, then I don't know.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  although, if the used kitchenware were to be a crockpot I would scour it carefully with diluted bleach and let it cook a cycle with that and wash again, as junkies have been known to use them to sterilize their rigs (needles) - I got that advice in the early 90's after finding one in an alley, so the info may be out of date re: how scrupulous one needs to be about blood-borne pathogens.

                  1. re: hill food

                    I was going to ask why crockpot. Ok, got it.

                2. Thank you everyone!! Just wanted to make sure ;)

                  1. No, no, you shouldn't use it. Please send it to me immediately for disposal ;) I welcome that terrible silver-lined copper as well ... I know just what to do with all of it.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: foiegras

                      wow foiegras you just give and give and give (and take)

                      you are truly consumed by the holiday spirit and an example to us all.

                      1. re: hill food

                        LOL, thank you, it's nice to be recognized for all I do. I go by Ebenezer on the holiday board, btw ;)

                        1. re: foiegras

                          Don't listen to foiegras. After Dugway Proving Grounds, the Space Coast of Florida is used to dealing with some of the worst chemical and nuclear products in the USA. If we weren't grandfathered in, the EPA would never allow another launch from here. As a school trained NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) officer, I have the skills and access to the protective clothing to deal with it in the appropriate manner.

                          Naturally, shipping at your expense.

                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            Really, people. The best place to dispose of this toxic substance is in the deep. I know, I know. And in the hands of a less-skilled disposal agent, we could be staring down an environmental nightmare.

                            Fortunately for us all, I have a boat in the Gulf, conveniently sitting at anchor right now, and have the requisite knowledge of tides, currents and local fauna to safely handle this project. All backed up by my 20 year old degree in Zoology, with a Marine Ecology emphasis.

                            I'm your girl.

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Aber Nein, Fraulein:

                              In order to responsibly entomb this dangerous cache, it should be committed to the deeps of the Kaua'i Channel. If the OP doesn't want some snorkeling snowbird to put it back in murderous circulation, then Kim should send it to me for eventual disposal in the truly deep blue.


                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Aha! Just as I've always suspected. You couldn't resist, could you? You had to play the deep card.

                                Shallow water bigot! ;p

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Yeah, i used to be one of those, too. Then I discovered what warm water feels like.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      What on earth are you talking about? Hawai'ian waters aren't exactly the cause of much hypothermia. I've been colder diving in the Caymans than in Hawai'i. Of course I haven't gone to 6,900 feet.

                    2. I have several Revere Ware SS pieces of cookware that are well over 40 YO and still going strong.

                      Just watch out for teflon lined skillets. If you get them very hot, the teflon will release noxious fumes which will kill any birds you have in the house nearby your kitchen. We are much too large to be harmed by this amount of fumes.

                      Unlined copper bowls which are used to bear eggs into a meringue are also harmless but do not put things like tomatoes in them - makes a ugly mess but not dangerous. The nuts used to say copper copper cookware is dangerous - an old husband's tale - old wives tales are generally true.


                      1. I have a serious question for the OP: What, in a stainless steel pan, do you think could *possibly* be dangerous?

                        1. well Kimphooey, after all these facts and fun I think you have your answer.