Saturday, June 2, 2012

I HEART Hanova

About a year ago I stumbled across a gorgeous line of vintage enamelware by a company called Hanova (Hanova of Pasadena) and it was truly love at first sight.  My addiction …I mean collection started with this covered dish…isn’t it lovely in all it’s teal glory!

Well once I had one piece I needed a few more...

and a few more....

Then...well...a few more...

 Now of course I need to know all about the company so I searched all over the internet and found…..NOTHING.  Darn it.  No info to be had…..that was until last month when I contacted the stepson of one of the original owners, through an eBay auction of all things!  This gentleman is awesome.  He gave me a nice history of the company and mailed me some color copies of original brochures, all of which I get to share with you.  I hope you enjoy it!(I stalked my mailman for a week looking for these brochures, he has to think I’m nuts)
A Little about Hanova...
Hanova was started in 1962 in Hollywood, CA by Erwin Prust and Bob Hill.  At the start, both gentlemen were working regular jobs and experimenting on the side using a small furnace to perfect the enamel texturing technique on steel.  While this technique was commonly used on copper, they were the first to create this same effect on steel.   
 After the company moved to Pasadena, CA in late 1962, both Erwin and Bob started working full time at Hanova;  Bob would design pieces while Erwin dealt with the porcelain enamel end of the business as that was his background.  It was then that Erwin finally perfected the textured enamel on steel aesthetic which became one of their most prolific product lines. 
 It was a lengthily process to achieve this textured finish which required three coats of enamel, each fired independently at around 1400 degrees.  The first coat was a base coat given to the steel after it was cleaned and etched.  The next coat was a coat of olive colored enamel, which had an ingredient that would cause the final coat to texture and show the olive color.  The final coat would be the primary color of the piece. In the mid 60’s there were 10 colors; rust, mustard and green were the most popular with yellow and black the least popular.  What made the textured line of products so interesting was that each piece was different as the texturing was random and appeared in the oven. 
In the beginning the first items manufactured were non textured desk items, such as pen holders in plain black enamel but soon the company started making cookware, ashtrays and other decorative household items.  All items were made using porcelain enamel which is very versatile because it is easily cleaned and can take extreme temperatures.  You can take a casserole out of the freezer and put it in the oven without damage. 
I will take one of these starter kits!
While Hanova did distribute all throughout the country, they did tend to sell more on the west coast; a good bit was even sold right out the factory’s front garage door.  This was never a large operation, they usually only had about 2-3 employees in manufacturing and a handful of sales reps that would go to design shows/showrooms and rep the items.
 Around 1967, the company moved again to Fair Oaks also in Pasadena.  It was about this time that Bob Hill lost interest and sold his share of the company to Erwin. When Bob left, Erwin brought in Charles Chaney to help design a new line of casseroles and other items.  A new line of products without texturing was developed and called Avonah (Hanova spelled backward) which did not sell very well. 
Charles then developed a line with stylized birds which were quite popular. 
The bird casseroles

Another item designed at this time was their sculpture-like candle holders, which were made from the steel left over from other products.  You can see in some designs that a casserole knob or a drink coaster would be used for a base. They would be bent and spot welded in various configurations.
In the early 70's Erwin developed an animal sculpture line with owls, snails and hippos.  Later he made a line of imaginary animals from outer space, these did not sell well
 In 1975, Erwin retired and sold the company to a man who moved it to Ashland, OR and never really got it off the ground.  To this day a lot of pieces are unattributed as Hanova since paper tags were used in the early years. 


  1. What timing! I just found a piece of this yesterday. Mine is a sculptured bird, similar in construction to the candle holders. I found your post while trying to research it. The piece I found is not shown in the catalog.

    1. Hi! That is great timing. Erwin Prust did design a line of animals in the 70's. I just added that to the history along with an brochure image of them. Maybe your bird is among them.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope it helps someone :)

    2. It has! I just picked up a mysterious covered dish that is the exact same shape as your blue and green cassarole. Mine is a metallic brown on the outside and a pretty robin's egg blue on the interior. Do you have any more pictures from the catalog? Mine's untextured--it's very pretty but it's not as pretty as yours!

    3. Sorry all the pictures I have are posted above. Your casserole dish sound beautiful :)

  3. Lovely pieces and great info...glad to see you back!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks so much for posting this great info. I found 2 pieces at a flea market in san diego this morning and I fell in love with them. One of them is not in your catalog, a big bowl with a white exterior, bright orange interior and orange flowers on the outside. Designed by Charles Chaney 1968. :)

    Here is a pic of the 2 bowls

  6. Thank you!! I found the covered pan with stand #26 TF and could not find another anywhere else. Linking this to my blog post.


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