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Miscellaneous Housewares

STORAGE UNITS

Turntables, racks, shelves, bins and drawers are particularly efficient for storing smaller items. Also useful are the door and wall units that organize larger items.

Turntables are 10-1/2" to 21" in diameter, single or double tier, some with lidded plastic containers or bin-like sides and partitions up to 7" deep.

They are useful in cabinets and cupboards to hold containers of food or cleaning agents-almost any hard-to-store item. Because they rotate on steel ball bearings at the touch of a finger, it is easy to pick out whatever is needed without reaching around or moving jars that might be in the way.

Caddies may be one, two or three tiers, but each tier is compartmentalized or slotted to hold various sized and shaped objects.

Caddies not only hold small, easily misplaced items for storage, but can be carried around so contents are at hand when needed.

Storage drawers can be hung over a work counter or fastened under overhead cabinets where they slide out and tilt down. Some drawers are designed to hold just about anything while others are especially for baked goods.

CLOSET STORAGE

Closet storage systems are the newest additions to the closet storage hardware group. Systems can be sold as a package, for definite types of storage and space requirements, or by the piece to let consumers build their own storage units.

Most storage systems are made up of different racks, poles and shelves, to help make use of "dead" closet space-above and below shelves, the backs of doors, etc. Racks and shelves are usually vinyl-coated wire, with protected tips for no-snag use. Quality features include heavy-gauge wire for holding heavy loads without bending, and expandability. Look for units that allow you to add on to the system as needs grow. Part of the advantage of carrying organizing items individually as well as in systems, is allowing the customer more flexibility in using the items, and offering add-ons to the systems in the future.

Storage products offer another advantage-they are useful in all rooms of the house. Both the individual pieces and the system can be used in laundry rooms, garages, basements, kitchens and offices. Some items are designed to serve specific purposes, such as belt and tie racks, while others, such as under-shelf bins, shelving systems and hooks, can be put to use anywhere.

Another traditional storage idea, taken one step further, is growing in popularity-corrugated cardboard and plastic storage units. While cardboard and plastic are not recommended for rugged use, the different boxes and furniture designed from them serve well for light use. Traditional furniture such as dressers and chests of drawers, are now made of cardboard, and plastic has entered the sweater box, hat box and organizer category as well. These materials are also popular for under-bed storage units.

WOODENWARE

If you're looking for a specialty line, look at woodenware.

Most likely candidates for starting inventory include salt and pepper grinders, spice racks, salad sets, planters, ash trays, magazine racks, towel racks, shadow boxes, cup-and-saucer racks, wall shelves and wall-cabinet bars.

Woodenware takes special handling and here's where product knowledge comes in handy. A few tips on proper care will save a ruined piece of woodenware:

  1. Store in a dry place.
  2. Don't soak in water.
  3. Wash in warm suds after use, rinse and thoroughly dry immediately.
  4. Discard cracked woodenware; it can become a breeding place for bacteria.
  5. Remove surface stains by light rubbing (with the grain) with soapy steel-wool pad and rinse.
  6. Scratched surface can be restored by removing old finish with sandpaper and rubbing with mixture of mineral oil and powdered pumice.

COOKING THERMOMETERS

MEAT THERMOMETERS

Meat thermometers are useful for cooking on an outdoor grill or rotisserie where heat is not regulated, although they are more generally used for roasting.

Cooking times in cookbooks are only approximations; the size and cut of meat or temperature when put in the oven greatly affect cooking time. A meat thermometer accurately measures when the meat is done.

Point of thermometer shaft must be inserted in the center of the thickest part of the meat, away from fat and bone. Thermometer usually registers room temperature when inserted; if temperature drops when inserted, meat is not completely thawed and may required additional cooking time. When thermometer registers temperature called for in the recipe, meat is done.

Some meat thermometers have two pointers-one to be preset for desired temperature, the other to register actual temperature. When both pointers are together, meat is done.

Temperature range: 130 degrees F to 190 degrees F.

CANDY/DEEP-FRY THERMOMETERS

Although designed to gauge temperature of candy and cake icings, candy thermometers can be used for many stovetop cooking jobs including deep frying and cooking jellies. This thermometer must be clamped on the side of a pan so that stem almost touches bottom of pan or at least 2" of stem are submerged in contents. It will register exact cooking temperature.

Oil that is too hot will burn the outside of food while the inside isn't cooked, and oil not hot enough will be absorbed by food. A candy/deep-fry thermometer will ensure proper oil temperature.

Temperature range: 50 degrees F to 400 degrees F.

OVEN THERMOMETERS

Oven temperature varies from front to back, side to side and shelf to shelf depending on distance from heating element. Movable oven thermometers give exact temperature at a specific spot in the oven.

Oven thermometers are column or dial models. Column thermometers are likely to register a more accurate temperature, but dial models are easier to read. Column variety can be washed in soapy water, but moisture may leak into and damage a dial thermometer.

Temperature range: 100 degrees F to 600 degrees F.

REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER THERMOMETERS

Refrigerator-freezer thermometers give accurate reading of temperature inside refrigerator or freezer-a particularly important piece of information in knowing whether freezer is cold enough (0 degrees F to -20 degrees F) to keep food frozen. If used in refrigerator, there should be one thermometer in the shelf section and one in the freezer compartment.

HOUSEHOLD SCALES

Kitchen scales are accurate enough to give rough weights in preparation of food or to show grossly short-weighted food purchases. Better scales are accurate to within one ounce, and have weighing capacity high enough for large roasts and fowl. Markings are graduated by ounces and pounds. For most accurate readings, food should be placed in the center of the scale platform so it is properly balanced.

To see if pointer is registering correctly, press empty scale platform lightly with fingers, lift hand and see where pointer settles. If it stops somewhere other than on zero, it is out of adjustment. Most scales have a zero-adjustment lever or knob to bring pointer back to zero when it gets off register.

Dietetic scales are smaller, more accurate versions of kitchen scales. They usually measure in both ounces and grams and weigh up to 16 oz., with 1/2-oz. graduations. Accuracy is of utmost importance.

NON-ELECTRIC CAN OPENERS

HAND CAN OPENERS

A clamp-on can opener clamps on the edge of the can so a cutting wheel pierces the lid. A gear, attached to a butterfly handle, rotates the can, shearing off the lid.

The main disadvantage is that the rotating gear may slip. Re-clamping may cause jamming, which makes turning butterfly handle difficult. This, in turn, frequently leads to spilling contents of the can.

Clamp-on openers will open all sizes and shapes of cans, but are difficult to clean properly.

Deluxe hand can openers are chrome-plated, die-cast aluminum. Some have magnetic lid catchers and coated or wooden handles for hand comfort.

WALL CAN OPENERS

Lever can opener has a lever on top that raises steel cutter wheel (sometimes nylon lined) for the can to be inserted. Lowering the lever pierces can lid, and turning a handle rotates can and cuts off lid.

Single-action opener has no lever, but a rotating handle operates cutter wheel for piercing and cutting the lid.

Deluxe models have a magnetic lid lifter which holds the severed lid and keeps it from falling back into the can, a bottle opener or bottle opener/knife sharpener attachment. Some cutting wheels can be removed for thorough cleaning.

Wall can openers usually leave a smoother can edge than hand openers.

TIMERS

Some cooking timers are dial-setting devices that will measure any amount of time up to one hour. They tick off seconds and a bell rings when time is up. They have metal or plastic housings. Some are digital and work off batteries; they can be set to run as long as 24 hours.

Other household timers can be attached to appliances to turn them on and off. Some only start appliance or turn if off after it has been running an hour or so; others can be set to turn appliance on, let it run for a preset period and turn it off.

Another type of household timer governs lights. Once set, it will turn the lights on and off each day at the same time until reset or unplugged. Some of these will operate appliances as well. Some can be set for multiple on-off cycles or variable timer periods.

FOOD PREPARATION

Utensils necessary for food preparation, such as gelatin molds, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, colanders, juicers, beverage servers and refrigerator dishes, are made of aluminum, stainless steel, glass or plastic.

Metal mixing bowls and measuring cups and spoons are lightweight, non-breakable and non-rusting. Finishes are stain resistant, non-smudging and do not impart metallic taste to food.

Glass mixing bowls and measuring cups are made from heavy, break-resistant or tempered heat-resistant glass. Although most items can be used for storing food in a refrigerator or for baking, they should not be taken directly from refrigerator and put in a hot oven-and they should never be used on top of the stove.

Measuring graduations are visible both inside and outside a cup or bowl. Metal containers have measure marks stamped into walls while marks are molded into glass. Unbreakable plastic mixing bowls may come with a large handle for easy gripping and a rubber ring around the base to anchor the bowl in place. Some beverage pitchers offer three-position lids-pouring, screening ice and closed. Some measuring cups and food-keeper containers are transparent and tinted for quick content identification.

Following recent food trends, manufacturers have come out with small, manual gadgets to fix specialty foods.

Pasta makers are a good example. Most consist of rollers and several cutting edges, adjustable to make different types of pasta. Some include drying racks and other accessories, and some are even decorated to complement certain table serving sets.

Hand-cranked ice cream makers are back in style, with a few changes. Most manual ice cream makers make only a pint or a quart. They are made of plastic, and other types of frozen desserts can also be made in them.

PANTRYWARE

Pantryware includes modern counterparts of the storage containers found in an old-fashioned pantry-canisters, breadboxes, cake-cover sets, almost any kind of small, portable storage item.

Materials are plastic, ceramic, stoneware, metal-plated steel or vinyl-clad steel.

Canister sets (usually four containers in graduated sizes for flour, sugar, coffee and tea) come in a variety of styles; containers can be freestanding, stacked, grouped in a rack, housed in a cabinet, stacked on a turntable or combined with a breadbox.

Some paper dispensers hold one roll of paper, while others hold three-paper toweling, waxed paper and aluminum foil.

The simplest kind consists of a roller to hold the paper and let it pull off easily, perhaps with a serrated cutting edge. Deluxe models dispense as much paper as desired, cut it off on a concealed cutter and retract the excess.

All can be wall mounted, but some are designed to be fastened under an overhead kitchen cabinet.

SELF-ADHESIVE COVERINGS

Decorative vinyl coverings are no longer limited to use as shelf-linings or as color spots around kitchen or bath. Wider rolls and heavier weights, plus an almost unlimited range of colors, patterns, woodgrains, metal tones and textures, suit them for many home decorating uses including wall covering.

The narrower (18") lighter-weight vinyls are most often stocked in housewares departments. The wider, heavy-gauge (6, 7 and 8 mil.) vinyls are usually considered decorating products.

Most vinyl coverings adhere instantly when a protective backing is stripped off; however, one type can be removed and repositioned and becomes permanent after several minutes in one position. They should not shrink after application so the seam where the two pieces meet should not spread.

The 18" wide rolls usually hold 25 yds. of vinyl which is sold in 6' and 12' packages.

If you are purchasing roll vinyl by the yard, you'll need to know how to estimate proper amount. One running yard equals 4-1/2 sq. ft. of covering. Take the square footage of the area to be covered and divide that by 4-1/2 for the number of yards needed.

Other shelf liners include paper, vinyl and plastic roll goods. They are either non-adhesive, or have a very light adhesive so they lie flat on the shelf, forming a protective lining for the shelf.

WEATHER INSTRUMENTS

Indoor or outdoor thermometers register only temperature where they are located. Most outdoor thermometers come with suction cups or mounting brackets to hold them to window or window frame where they can be seen through the window.

Indoor-outdoor thermometers register both temperatures. They mount inside the house with a capillary tube that extends outside.

Minimum-maximum thermometers register low and high temperatures. Indicators inside the thermometer tube are positioned by movement of mercury to show minimum and maximum temperatures since previous setting. Homeowner can move temperature indicators with reset magnet on outside of thermometer whenever he wishes.

These are the three most common household weather thermometers. Special ones include those for use in autos (suction or magnet mounted, visor mounted or antenna mounted), water-temperature thermometers, swimming-pool thermometers, bath, classroom and dairy thermometers.

Barometers measure atmospheric pressure and indicate possible changes in weather. Based on the principle that a column of mercury at sea level reaches a maximum height of 30", barometers operate on a spring that registers atmospheric pressure ranging from 28" to 31" on a dial. Because the 30" figure is accurate only at sea level, a barometer may register 31" in good weather, depending on the altitude where it is located (atmospheric pressure decreases with rise in altitude). High readings mean good weather; low readings (around 28" or 29") mean changing or stormy weather. Most barometers have dual pointers-one to register atmospheric pressure, the other to be hand set to show change in pressure.

Hygrometers are also called humidity guides because, obviously, they measure humidity. They only measure it-they don't control it as do humidistats. They register from 1 to 100 representing the percentage of moisture in the air. Other weather instruments often carried in hardware stores and home centers are rain gauges and wind compasses (also called anemometers) to measure rainfall and wind velocity. Although weather instruments are primarily functional, like almost everything else in a home, they have become decorator items as well.

Simple thermometers have highly styled metal cases or brightly colored mounting boards. Thermometers, barometers, and hygrometers are combined into home or office "weather stations" set in wood mounting. Some manufacturers also make matched pairs of the three weather instruments in one case and a clock in another. Other versions also include a weatherband radio to pick up continuous weather reports.

Methods of Home Canning
Open Kettle-Food is cooked in an ordinary kettle or pot, then packed into hot sterilized jars and sealed without processing. Use only for jams and jellies. It is unsafe for canning other food.
Water Bath-Food is processed in jars at boiling temperature (212 degrees F.) in a large covered pot or kettle with a rack and deep enough for the water to cover the tops of the jars one or two inches without boiling over. Use only for acid foods: fruits, tomatoes and sauerkraut, or for processing pickles, jams and jellies. It is unsafe for canning low-acid foods.
Pressure Cooker-Food is processed in jars at 5 lbs. (228 degrees F.) or 10 lbs. (240 degrees F.) pressure in a steam-tight covered cooker with a rack, and fitted with a pressure control or gauge. Use at 10 lbs. for low-acid foods: meat, poultry, seafood and all vegetables except tomatoes and sauerkraut. Use at 5 lbs. For acid foods like fruits, tomatoes and sauerkraut.
How to Select Jars and Lids
Always use standard Mason jars made for home canning. These will have the manufacturer's name blown in the glass. Do not use "one trip" commercial jars. Choose one of the lids illustrated below. Be sure to follow manufacturer's directions for using each lid.
A. A flat metal lid with sealing compound and a metal screw band, which fits any standard Mason jar.
B. A porcelain-lined zinc cap with shoulder rubber ring, to fit a standard Mason jar.
C. A wire-bail type with glass lid and rubber ring.
Half pints are processed the same as pints. One and one-half pints are processed the same as quarts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not recommend canning fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood in half-gallon jars.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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