This web site will provide you with an informative collection of history, specifications, cleaning tips, & parts resources pertaining to GUARDIAN SERVICE COOKWARE: the vintage aluminum waterless cookware of "days gone by", the 1930s, 40s & 50s.

GUARDIAN SERVICE COOKWARE is so durable and almost "bullet-proof", that a lot of it has survived the ages.  All except for the glass lids, that is.  But, many of the early metal lids are still around.

This web site is dedicated to the Guardian Service cookware collector, user & fan.  Many of us still use our Guardian Service vintage cookware, primarily because it cooks so great!  But, nostalgia plays a big part for many of us also.  We can remember Grandma preparing the Thanksgiving turkey in the huge roaster.  Also, we may remember Mom fixing pancakes on the griddle on Sunday mornings.  The triangle pots were a real novelty, but very versatile and efficient cookers.  


Guardian Service cookware (GS), aka Guardian Ware, is a highly sought after collectible these days.  There are a variety of reasons: the heavy-duty construction of this hammered aluminum waterless cookware makes it almost "bullet-proof; the excellent way that the cookware prepares the food; and the nostalgia of cooking with the same type of cookware that your parents or grandparents did.  The fact is, many of the pieces from the 1940s and 50s are still around, and people love it!

Century Metalcraft Corporation of Los Angeles, California manufactured Guardian Service cookware from the mid 1930s until 1956, when the plant burned down.  Independent salesman sold GS cookware similar to the way that Tupperware was sold during the 1960s.  A hostess would host a party at their house, and invite several of their friends over.  At these dinner parties, the GS salesman would prepare a delicious meal for the guests, all in hopes of selling them some of the GS cookware.

GS cookware was considered to be an expensive set of cookware during the 1940s and 50s.  It would cost about a month's pay to buy the full set.  In today's dollars, that would be about $2,500!  In many cases, the dinner party guests would only buy one or two pieces.

GS cookware is constructed out of hammered aluminum, and is considered to be heavy-duty in contrast to today's cookware.  During the pre-WWII years, this cookware had metal lids.  But, because of the rationing during the War, the lids were then made from oven-proof glass.  GS cookware has the trademark Knight's helmet (looking left) logo stamped on the bottom of the cookware. There were 3 different designs of the logo: One had the Knight's helmet and crossed swords, the next had the helmet and 2 stars on either side, and the last version had the helmet and 3 stars on either side.  The glass lids also were etched with the Knight's helmet, but they also had crossed battle axes.

As you can imagine, glass cookware lids (over 50 years old) in good condition, are not the easiest thing to find these days.  Ones that are in excellent condition will bring $20 to $40 each on the online auctions.  The early metal lids are getting harder to find, and bring high prices as well.  One good thing to know, is that some of the lids are interchangeable with other GS cookware pieces; ingenuity and efficency during a time when every penny mattered.

The key to the excellent cooking qualities of GS cookware, is traced to its domed-lid construction.  This waterless cookware utilized the high domed glass lids which are designed so that the food's moisture would condense while cooking, and then drip back down on the food.  Plus, the patented bases of the GS cookware insured uniform heating of the food.  There are a variety of sizes of GS cookware pots and pans, ranging from 1 quart to 4 quarts.  Roasters, griddles, kettle ovens, beverage urns, and double boilers were also part of the collection.  And, an unusual set of triangle-shaped pots known as the "Economy Trio" would cook vegetables in three pots on one burner!  This was done by setting the three pots on a large trivet.

One of the main selling points about GS cookware, was that it was "Dual-purpose cooking and table service equipment".  You would cook your food in it, and then set it right on your table to serve from, on insulated trivets of course.

Anyone who is collecting GS cookware, will want to have a copy of their "Tested Recipes" cookbook.  Actually it is a 72-page booklet.  But, even those are demanding high prices these days.  To purchase one, you can count on paying $15 to $45, depending on the condition.  But, the excellent color drawings and the nostalgia involved, makes them a highly sought after collectible as well.

Among some of the other collectible items pertaining to GS cookware, are the large array of Hostess Gifts that were given out during the dinner parties. These ranged from drinking glasses to ice buckets, and ash trays to salt and pepper shakers.  One of the most valuable GS cookware items is the "Ball Pitcher or jug".  Expect to pay around $300 for one today.

As you can imagine, keeping aluminum cookware clean can be a problem, especially if the food boils over the top a few times.  There are a variety of ways to clean this cookware, but many folks just pop it into their self-cleaning oven for a few hours, let it cool, then shine it up with steel wool soap pads.  If the metal tarnishes on the insides of the pots, a solution of either cream of tartar and water or vinegar and water will make things shine like new again!


The following Guardian Service cookware specifications are provided primarily for those who are new to collecting Guardian Service cookware.  As you may well know, whenever a particular GS cookware piece is listed on one of the online auctions, it could have a variety of names.  The following names of the GS cookware pieces are just as they are listed in the "Tested Recipes" cookbook, and also known as "Kitchen Jewels".

One of the first items to need replacing, is the glass lids.  Prior to WWII, the lids were metal.  Today, there are still ways to find a replacement lid for your GS cookware pieces.  There are many USED ones available, whether at yard sales, flea markets or on the online auctions.  Guardian Service Cookware in Stanton, CA also sells NEW glass lids.  And last, but not least, there are several glass lids that "sort of" fit, which are made for OTHER BRANDS of cookware.

There are many cookware outlet centers throughout the U.S. which have stacks of glass lids for various cookware.  Just take your tape measure and your GS cookware measurements along .... and see what you can find.

When looking for non-GS glass lids to fit your GS cookware pieces, you will want to refer to the Inside Diameter measurements in the following list.  Also, please keep in mind that when you find the glass lids for OTHER BRANDS, you can often use ones which are 1/8" to 1/4" smaller than the measurements listed below.  This will all depend on how wide the lip on that glass lid is.

One major point to keep in mind: The tall glass lids which came with the GS cookware, were designed specifically for efficient waterless cooking.  When using the non-GS glass lids, you will probably have to use some water, depending on what you are cooking.

Bottom half
Outside Diameter: 9 3/4"
Inside Diameter: 9 1/8"
Height: 4 1/2"

Top half
Outside Diameter: 9 3/4"
Inside Diameter: 9 1/8"
Height: 3 5/8"

Outside Diameter: 11 7/8"
Inside Diameter: 11 1/4"
Height: 2 1/2"

Outside Diameter: 12 5/8"
Inside Diameter: 12"

Outside Diameter: 10"
Inside Diameter: 9 3/8"
Height: 4"

Outside Diameter: 9 3/4"
Inside Diameter: 9 1/8"
Height: 2 1/4"

Outside Diameter: 11 7/8"
Inside Diameter: 11 1/4"
Height: 8"

Outside Diameter: 6 7/8"
Inside Diameter: 6 1/4"
Height: 2 1/2"

Outside Diameter: 7 7/8"
Inside Diameter: 7 1/4"
Height: 3 3/8"

Outside Diameter: 8 7/8"
Inside Diameter: 8 1/4"
Height: 4 1/2"

Inside Diameter: 3 7/8"
Height: 8 1/8"

Inside Diameter: 3 7/8"

Outside Diameter: 13"
Inside Diameter: 12 1/8"

Outside Diameter: 10 3/8"
Inside Diameter: 9 1/2"
Height: 1 3/4"

Outside Diameter: 8 3/4"

Outside Diameter: 6 7/8"
Height: 4 1/4"

Outside Diameter: 15 1/2"
Height: 7/8"

Outside Diameter: 12 7/8"
Height: 7/8"

Aluminum cookware, and specifically Guardian Service, can be cleaned in a variety of ways.  Below, are variations of ways to clean aluminum cookware.  It may require experimenting, for you to decide which way is easiest for you.

Aluminum is the most abundant metal found in the earth's crust. This makes it an economical metal for making heavy-gauge cookware. It also has low density, making it much lighter than other metals manufactured to the same thickness. The heat flow efficiency of a thick-gauge aluminum pan is almost the same as that of a copper pan of the same gauge. Non-coated aluminum, however, has a bad habit of reacting to certain foods.

For instance, the hydrogen sulfide developed while cooking eggs will cause an unprotected aluminum surface to develop a variety of aluminum oxide and hydroxide complexes. These complexes show themselves as grey or black stains on the surface of the pan and will often cause light colored foods to become noticeably stained. The same staining will also develop when cooking with hard water or high-alkali foods such as potatoes. High acid foods, like tomato sauce, will remove some of this stain and change the color of the sauce.

The surface atoms of all these common metals, with the exception of iron, undergo a spontaneous reaction when exposed to atmospheric oxygen. They form a very stable protective oxide film. This oxide film is both tough and nonreactive. Unfortunately, as aluminum demonstrates, this film is extremely thin (only a few molecules thick) and can be easily scratched or worn away during the cooking process.


Aluminum cookware is darkened by prolonged exposure to water, alkaline foods or alkaline cleaning products. This darkening is NOT harmful. For pans, you scour with soapy steel wool pads. For severe darkening, you simmer an acid food or two teaspoons cream of tartar per quart of water in a pan for about 1/2 hour; rinse; polish with soapy steel wool pad; wash; rinse; dry. Perhaps using an acid such as lemon juice, pineapple juice, white vinegar, etc. may help lighten the discoloration. Yet, it does say prolonged exposure to water discolors aluminum, so it would be a never ending process.


In some localities, water contains minerals and alkalis that may be deposited on the inside surface of aluminum pans, causing some discoloration. This does not affect the use of the utensil nor the food prepared in it. Stains or discolorations that may appear on aluminum utensils can be removed by boiling a solution of two to three tablespoons of cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar to each quart of water in the utensil for five to ten minutes. Then scour lightly with a soap-filled scouring pad. Cooking acid foods also will help remove discoloration without affecting the food.


Aluminum Cleaner:

2 tablespoons cream of tartar.
1 quart water.

To clean aluminum cookware, combine ingredients in cookware. Bring solution to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Wash and dry as usual.


Those aluminum pots and pans don't have to have that cloudy look. Here's how to get them to shine.

1. Remove stains inside the cookware by boiling a solution of 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar and 1 quart water in the cookware for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Rinse with warm water.

3. Rub the stained surface gently using a soapy scouring pad; rinse.

4. Polish aluminum by rubbing soapy steel wool very gently along the surface of the cookware. Be sure to move the steel wool in a back-and-forth motion, rather than circular motion, to give the aluminum a uniform appearance.

Copyright 2000-2008 William Mills