What Happened to Command Performance Cookware

What Happened to Command Performance Cookware

Command Performance cookware was once the darling of American kitchens. During its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, this innovative brand pioneered high-quality stainless steel cookware for home cooks. With its sleek, polished exterior and satin cooking surface, Command Performance became a must-have product for its performance, durability, and style. It was a fixture in upscale department stores and households across America for decades.

But today, Command Performance cookware is a rare find, coveted by vintage cookware collectors. Production ceased by the 1970s as consumer preferences changed and foreign imports flooded the market. Although it vanished from stores and catalogs, Command Performance did not fade from memory. Thanks to its reputation for quality and innovation, this iconic American brand has experienced a resurgence among vintage enthusiasts. So what happened to Command Performance? How did this darling cookware brand transition from beloved to obsolete and back again to highly sought-after? Let’s trace the history and revival of Command Performance cookware.

A Stainless Steel Innovator

In the 1950s and 60s, Command Performance made a name for itself as a top-of-the-line stainless steel cookware manufacturer. Based in Wisconsin, the company crafted elegant and durable pots and pans with innovative ‘clad’ construction. This design sandwiched an aluminum core between stainless steel layers for optimal heating.

For home cooks then, Command Performance represented a modern upgrade from typical enameled or aluminum cookware. With its polished steel finish and riveted handles, Command Performance looked like it came straight from the space age.

But it wasn’t all about looks. Command Performance also performed beautifully on the stove and oven. Home cooks raved about its even and efficient heating, tight-fitting lids, and ability to sear and brown foods perfectly. The quality of stainless steel provided durability while the aluminum core ensured responsiveness. For decades, Command Performance was a kitchen must-have.

Changing Times

By the 1970s, though, Command Performance started to struggle. New technologies and materials shook up the cookware industry. Teflon non-stick coatings became all the rage, pushing stainless steel to the back burner. Aluminum fell out of favor as well, due to concerns about leaching.

Imports also flooded the market with budget stainless steel cookware that couldn’t match Command Performance’s quality but undercut the pricing. Other brands focused on the booming non-stick and emerging anodized aluminum markets.

With rising manufacturing costs in the US, Command Performance took a hit. They could no longer compete on price without sacrificing the premium quality they were known for. Eventually, Command Performance cookware disappeared from stores and catalogs. A once-popular brand became a vintage relic.

Collectors Take Note

For years, Command Performance sank into obscurity. But the internet changed everything. As vintage lovers flocked to forums, eBay, and Etsy, Command Performance started gaining renewed attention. Enthusiasts shared fond memories of the cookware online. Positive reviews praised vintage pieces for their durability and cooking prowess.

Today, Command Performance has a devoted fanbase of collectors seeking this iconic brand. Complete sets in pristine condition are the holy grail. Individual pieces like lids, roasters, and griddles are coveted too. Collectors scour thrift shops and online auctions trying to score deals on this increasingly rare vintage cookware. Of course, the rarity has driven up prices, making genuine bargains uncommon.

For collectors, Command Performance represents an innovative high point in American cookware manufacturing. It reminds us that even the most beloved brands can’t stay on top forever. But decades later, vintage Command Performance still has a sterling reputation for quality and performance. For cookware enthusiasts, it’s an iconic piece of kitchen history worth seeking out.

Built to Last

So what makes Command Performance so unique? For starters, the versatile clad construction evenly distributes heat across the cooking surface. This allows for precise temperature control whether simmering sauces or searing steaks. The satin stainless steel interior provides a natural non-stick surface that’s easy to clean.

The cookware feels substantial in the hand thanks to durable, high-grade stainless steel. But the aluminum core prevents hot spots and ensures responsiveness. Each piece features a polished exterior and securely riveted handles. The tight-fitting lids seal in moisture and flavor.

From the quality materials to precise craftsmanship, Command Performance lives up to its name. Many owners report decades of daily use with their vintage pieces still going strong. There’s no doubt Command Performance was built to last.

Vintage Cookware Community

The internet has fueled a whole community around vintage and collectible cookware. Pinterest boards and sub-Reddits showcase jaw-dropping collections and rare finds. Brand histories and collector tips get shared on blogs and YouTube channels.

On sites like Etsy and eBay, COMMAND PERFORMANCE searches yield hundreds of results. Sellers promote vintage cookware with EXCELLENT CONDITION or ONLY USED ONCE tags. Prices range wildly depending on piece, size, and rarity. Griddles, stockpots, and complete starter sets fetch the highest bids.

Social media satisfies the thrill of the hunt. Hashtagged posts showcase scoured estate sales and thrift store victories. Users proudly show off COMMAND PERFORMANCE logos and vintage stylings. For collectors, bringing these pieces back into kitchen rotation is part of the fun.

Recognizing an Icon

So how do you identify authentic vintage Command Performance cookware? Here are some tips:

  • Look for COMMAND PERFORMANCE engraved on the bottom of pots and pans. authenticate
  • Check for the Regal Ware logo or markings. Regal Ware manufactured Command Performance.
  • Look for riveted handles and a polished stainless exterior with a satin cooking surface. This was iconic for Command Performance.
  • Seek out vintage stylings like teardrop-shaped roasting pans and decorative logos.
  • Be wary of unusual sizes, co-colors, or materials. Command Performance stuck to classic styles.
  • Research any markings like patent numbers, model names, or size details to help date pieces.

With its legacy of quality and innovation, Command Performance cookware deserves a place in America’s kitchen history. This iconic brand will live on thanks to dedicated collectors preserving its vintage designs.

Caring for Vintage Cookware

For those lucky enough to own original Command Performance pieces, proper care is essential. Here are some tips:

  • Handwash only to preserve the cooking surface. Vintage finishes can degrade in the dishwasher.
  • Use non-abrasive sponges and scrubbers. Avoid anything that could scratch or scour surfaces.
  • Skip harsh detergents or metal utensils that could damage vintage surfaces.
  • Apply mineral oil occasionally to condition and protect stainless steel.
  • Display prized pieces when not in use to prevent dents, dings or degradation.
  • Pass down cookware gently used rather than requiring heavy restoration.
  • Repair minor damage like loose handles with services from vintage specialists.
  • Re-season worn cooking surfaces to revive non-stick performance.

With some TLC, vintage Command Performance can serve another generation of home cooks.

A Comeback Unlikely, But Not Impossible

Could Command Performance ever make a comeback? Probably not. Vintage brands seldom relaunch after being out of production for decades. And the cookware landscape looks vastly different today compared to Command Performance’s heyday.

Yet vintage styles do come back around. Other iconic brands have found renewed success with nostalgia marketing. Companies like Le Creuset and Staub still bank on vintage styling and enameled cast iron.

A Command Performance revival seems unlikely but not totally impossible. After all, today’s cooks remain drawn to quality, performance and durability. For now, collectors will have to keep scouring antique malls and estate sales to score this sought-after retro cookware. But the enduring legacy of Command Performance is clear. Once America’s darling, this innovative brand remains synonymous with iconic style and excellence.

User Experiences Keep Legacy Alive

One of the main reasons vintage Command Performance cookware remains so popular is thanks to passionate users sharing their first-hand experiences. These anecdotal accounts help keep the legacy and reputation of the brand alive.

On cooking forums and YouTube videos, owners gush about Command Performance being the best cookware they’ve ever used. One user said her Command Performance skillet rivaled ones selling for over $300 today. Others say their vintage pieces still perform flawlessly decades later.

Positive testimonials focus on how Command Performance cookware excelled at browning, searing, frying, and sauce making. Enthusiasts say the even heat distribution and responsiveness allowed precise control for techniques like sautéing. Just as in its 1950s prime, Command Performance is still impressing owners today.

These glowing user experiences generate interest and demand among both vintage collectors and home cooks looking for quality. They help explain why Command Performance remains so coveted and commands such high prices. Nothing speaks to a product’s quality like decades of satisfied customers.

From Department Stores to Online Auctions

In its prime, Command Performance cookware graced department store displays and catalogs. It was a luxury brand that retailed at higher-end shops. Today, the hunt has shifted online.

Etsy and eBay have become hotspots for finding vintage Command Performance pieces. Sellers promote their wares with condition details, brand history, and glowing testimonials. Prices range from $20 for a single skillet up to $400+ for complete starter sets.

Facebook groups connect collectors looking to buy, sell or swap vintage cookware. Members share tips on rehabbing old pieces along with warnings about potential knock-offs. For serious collectors, conferences like the National Association of Vintage Cookware Collectors Expo facilitate in-person buying.

Of course, estate sales and antique malls still attract those searching for vintage cookware. But the ability to instantly connect with other collectors and buy vintage worldwide has been a game-changer. Online auctions and forums let this niche vintage community thrive.

Brand Mystique Contributes to Appeal

Part of what makes Command Performance so alluring to collectors is an air of mystery about the brand’s demise. There is no definitive answer for why this once-popular cookware vanished so abruptly.

Some posit that the rise of cheap imports led to lower sales. Others say manufacturing costs made it impossible to compete on price. Lawsuits, poor leadership, or lack of innovation may have also played a role.

But many details remain hazy, which lends itself to speculation. For collectors, brands with an intriguing backstory or mystique hold extra appeal. The sudden downfall of Command Performance despite its reputation for quality creates a compelling narrative.

This allure of the unknown helps generate buzz and interest in the vintage cookware community. It transforms Command Performance from an obsolete brand into a point of fascination. The lack of a clear explanation into why Command Performance disappeared feeds collector intrigue and heightens the brand’s mystique.

A Symbol of Made-In-America Excellence

Command Performance represented the pinnacle of American cookware manufacturing. Its demise also symbolizes the decline in US manufacturing prowess.

In its mid-century prime, Command Performance exemplified American innovation and industry. The pride was evident in advertising of the era highlighting Command Performance’s domestic origins and skilled engineering.

Today, Command Performance’s all-American roots make it even more collectible. Vintage pieces allow owners to recapture a feeling of nostalgia for when US manufacturing was revered worldwide.

For collectors, Command Performance stands as a patriotic icon of American craftmanship and a bygone era when domestic brands led worldwide. Owning a piece allows vintage fanatics to literally hold onto a product from America’s manufacturing glory days.

Final Thoughts

Command Performance may never reclaim its status as America’s most popular cookware. But for vintage enthusiasts, this innovative brand remains iconic and coveted. Its demise serves as a lesson that even the mightiest brands must evolve and innovate.

Thanks to passionate collectors and users, Command Performance’s legacy of quality and performance lives on. For cookware aficionados, Command Performance remains a pinnacle product representing mid-century style, engineering, and manufacturing excellence. Its reputation and mystique seem only to grow with each passing decade thanks to lovers of vintage keeping its memory alive.

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