Vintage Gear: Dansk Kobenstyle

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A striking kitchen shot from one of Friday's Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest entries at Apartment Therapy sparked a lot of discussion about a little yellow pot.

Guido was quick to ID it as Dansk, cooking show appearances made Laura a longtime admirer, Tat recommended one to a friend, Jean generously shared her secret DC source, and Melinda recalled getting one as a wedding present.

We grew up with Dansk Kobenstyle, and love the graceful silhouette, distinctive pronged handles, and glossy enamel colors of this Modernist classic. Inspired to learn more, we scoured the Internet until the story came up clean:

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The Company
Although its name might suggest otherwise, Dansk International Designs Ltd. is and always has been an American company. It was founded in 1954 by American entrepreneur Ted Nierenberg, in partnership with Danish designer Jens Quistgaard. Quistgaard designed the majority of the company's products for 30 years, winning many awards.

Materially Speaking
Made of enameled formed sheet steel, Dansk Kobenstyle is lighter weight than enameled cast iron cookware such as Le Creuset. On the upside, it's easier to heft, but on the downside, it doesn't cook as evenly or retain heat as well.

The Kobenstyle line was originally manufactured by Danish supplier Glud & Marstrand, but, in 1966, Dansk switched to a French supplier. The earlier Danish-made pieces are marked with Dansk's "four ducks" logo, and are generally more sought-after by collectors than the later French ones. The initials "IHQ" are Jens Quistgaard's mark.

Colors and Configurations
Rachael Ray regularly shows off her collection of yellow, red, and blue pots, but they also come in turquoise, chocolate brown, almond, white, orange, black, and kelly and hunter green. The interiors are usually white enamel.

In addition to the ubiquitous lidded casserole in its two sizes, the series also includes a paella pan, pitcher, butter warmer, stockpot, frying pan, fondue pot, rectangular baking pan, and a coffee pot.

Where Do I Get One?
Although no longer in production, Dansk Kobenstyle cookware can still be found widely at flea markets, garage sales, and all over eBay. Affordable and practical, it gives any modern kitchen a little retro verve.

- Nora

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

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