Last Updated on September 30, 2022 by Cookware Guides
If you are looking for a durable, affordable cookware brand, then it’s hard not to think of Wearever. The company has been around since 1937 and was one of the first brands to pioneer aluminum cookware in North America. The company even had its own factory in Cleveland, Ohio until the 1950s, where they manufactured their wares. Today, however, Wearever Cookware no longer exists as its parent company filed for bankruptcy last year.
So what happened? Was Wearever just another fad like Pyrex glassware or Zwilling knives? Or was there something deeper at work here? I decided to look into the history of the brand to find out. So let’s take a look back at this iconic American brand and how they came to be.
Wearever brand overview
While the Wearever name may have disappeared, the Wearever brand itself hasn’t gone anywhere yet. In fact, it has recently started making a comeback with new products and a revamped website. But why did Wearever go away in the first place?
When Wearever first appeared on the scene, aluminum cookware wasn’t exactly the best choice if you were trying to minimize food contact with your metal utensils. While aluminum is lighter than most other metals, it is also far more prone to corrosion. And when it corrodes, the result can be ugly. Plus, the aluminum cookware didn’t fit into modern kitchens as well as stainless steel or cast iron. But in 1937, Wearever introduced the world to the aluminum pan that wouldn’t rust.
Their “non-sticking” coating meant that food could be cooked without sticking to the aluminum surface. This innovation helped Wearever become extremely popular. In fact, by the 1940s Wearever was selling over half a million nonstick aluminum skillets each year. It seemed like everyone wanted a Wearever skillet, so Wearever was able to grow quite quickly.
But as time went on, aluminum cookware became less necessary. Aluminum pans weren’t just easier to clean – they were also much safer than their predecessors. And by the 1960s, stainless steel cookware was becoming increasingly popular. By the 1970s, Wearever had begun to lose ground to other manufacturers, who were offering superior quality at lower prices.
And while Wearever continued to make aluminum pans, their reputation had taken a hit. Many customers were frustrated with the “sticky” nature of Wearever’s product, which meant that food would stick to the pan while cooking. Worse still, many people reported that Wearever’s coating wore off over time, exposing bare aluminum underneath. This caused further frustration among customers, but it wasn’t enough to save Wearever.
What happened to wearever cookware?
By the early 2000s, Wearever found themselves in dire financial straits. The company was struggling to compete against cheaper Chinese imports and other companies that offered better quality products. While Wearever tried to adapt, they eventually went bankrupt in 2003 despite having several hundred employees.
It turns out that Wearever Cookware Company Inc. was only worth about $4 million when they went under, and this wasn’t nearly enough to pay off their debts. So the company’s assets were sold off at auction and the majority of its equipment was sold to a scrap yard. After all, Wearever had never been profitable, and their products were too outdated to appeal to modern consumers. Even worse, Wearever’s nonstick coating would soon be banned due to safety concerns.
So what now? Well, some Wearever cookware remains available through online retailers such as Amazon, but the majority of Wearever products have been scrapped. Even Wearever’s trademarked logo has vanished from the market. While some Wearever products may appear on eBay, these rare finds are typically sold for hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands. As you might imagine, Wearever is a very expensive brand to resurrect.
Is WearEver cookware made in the USA?
Now that you know what happened to Wearever Cookware, you might wonder whether any Wearever products are being produced today. The answer is yes! In fact, Wearever is still making aluminum cookware in Cleveland, Ohio, where they originally opened their doors in 1937. However, the company isn’t manufacturing their pans directly anymore. Instead, they have partnered with a Chinese manufacturer called Yutong Metal Products.
Yutong is an established manufacturer of aluminum cookware, and they handle production of the Wearever brand. They manufacture their pans using traditional methods, including pouring molten aluminum onto a ceramic mold. Once the molten aluminum cools, the resulting pan is sand blasted before the nonstick coating is applied. And because they don’t use a special tool to apply the coating, the wear on the coating will be consistent instead of uneven.
Are WearEver pans safe?
With the return of Wearever to the kitchen, it’s important to consider their safety. If you’re wondering whether Wearever pans are as safe as traditional metal cookware, then you’ve come to the right place. As mentioned above, Wearever uses a traditional method for applying the nonstick coating. This means that you won’t need a special tool to get the coating to adhere properly. That said, Wearever does use a proprietary process to ensure that their nonstick coating lasts throughout multiple uses.
According to the Wearever website, the coating will stay intact after 30 minutes of boiling water. And they claim that their pans are safer than regular aluminum cookware because you won’t get stuck when washing them. In addition, Wearever pans are resistant to stains, unlike normal aluminum cookware. Finally, Wearever pans do not contain BPA, PFOA, PFAS, or phthalates, chemicals that have been linked to health issues.
Can you put Wearever pans in the oven?
Since Wearever makes aluminum cookware, you might wonder whether you can use Wearever pans in the oven. The short answer is yes! You can heat Wearever pans up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) without damaging the coating. In fact, you can even bake a cake in a Wearever pan. All you need to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius). Then line your baking tray with parchment paper and add the batter. Next, carefully place the pan on top of the parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Overall, Wearever is a classic brand that deserves recognition for pioneering aluminum cookware in the United States. Unfortunately, Wearever Cookware was unable to overcome the challenges posed by our fast-paced society. But with renewed interest in this historic American brand, maybe one day we will see the return of Wearever Cookware as a leading aluminum pan manufacturer again.