Introduction ... What is an Egg Coddler?

An egg coddler is a porcelain or pottery cup with a lid that is used to prepare a dish called, appropriately enough, coddled eggs. Coddled eggs are very much like poached eggs, except that the egg is cooked inside the coddler. The egg(s) are broken into the buttered coddler, and seasonings are added, if desired. The coddler is then closed with the lid and partially immersed in boiling water for a few minutes. When the eggs are cooked to the desired firmness, the coddler is lifted from the boiling water, the lid removed, and breakfast is served, in a lovely decorated dish. We've provided some egg coddler recipes here.

Egg coddlers are often painted or glazed with a design. There are many different patterns and designs, which makes them highly suitable as practical gifts for the kitchen, or for addition to the china collection. Egg coddlers are also very desirable as collectibles. The example to the left here was manufactured and sold by Royal Worcester (RW). The pattern of this particular coddler is called June Garland. RW claims to have invented the egg coddler in the late Nineteenth Century and continues to manufacture them to this day.

Egg coddlers have a lid, made out of metal, or porcelain, that is attached to the top of the coddler before cooking. Many coddlers are manufactured with a set of screw-on threads at the lip of the coddler. The threads on the coddler are often either a metal, such as stainless steel, or a plastic, such as white nylon. The lid will have a complementary screw thread that holds it to the coddler during cooking. In some examples, neither the lid nor the coddler are threaded, and instead the lid is attached by a metal strap across the top that hooks onto "ears" on the side of the coddler.

Rooster In some cases, the lid has no lifting ring at all. Syracuse, manufacturer of the Premier Egg Coddler around the turn of the century, made coddlers with metal lids and no lifting ring. This example to the left has a porcelain lid with screw threads, and the threads at the top of the coddler are also porcelain. We suspect that this example shown may have been manufactured by Franz Josef Mayer, but we're not sure.

Related Objects Not Covered by This Site

There are other collectible objects out there that are sometimes described in auctions as egg coddlers. What's in a name? Well, without getting into a philosophical discussion of linguistics ... nothing. However, for the purpose of this site, we will exclude any number of objects that are often described as egg coddlers.

Purists may call these other objects egg caddies, egg cups, egg warmers, or egg servers instead of egg coddlers. Quite frankly, I don't believe it's necessary to be so pedantic. These objects were all designed to handle eggs ... to cook them or present them for consumption. We can consider them all to be "close personal friends" and/or "distant relatives" of the egg coddlers that we study and discuss here on this site.

Herend Egg Cup This is an egg cup, normally used to serve soft-boiled eggs to the table. There are many collectors that are interested in egg cups, and indeed, there is a much greater variety of egg cups to collect than egg coddlers. However, this site will stick to egg coddlers. This example here is by Herend with the Blue Garland pattern.


These objects closely resemble the egg coddlers that we study on the site. However, we've learned that they are Japanese tea cups with lids. They are beautifully decorated, and are probably highly desirable collectibles. However, egg coddlers, they are not. Japanese Tea Cups


Ceramic Egg Caddy We can call this an egg caddy, or an egg server. It was probably used to serve hard-boiled eggs to the table.


This lovely device is a reproduction of an early design. I believe that you could prepare soft-boiled eggs, place them in cups in the kitchen, then carry them all out together to a dining area and serve each person individually their own egg cup and egg. These items are available today at www.finestreproductions.com. Blue Flow Caddy


Silver-plated Egg Cooker These turn up on eBay occasionally, listed as "Turn of the Century" pieces. This one was made by JDES.


We can call this an egg cooker, or an egg caddy, or an egg warmer ... this one is truly an antique and I've seen similar objects in museums ... sometimes labelled as an egg coddler. Metal Egg Cooker


Peter Gray Cooker Peter Gray Cooker This copper thing looks like an industrial-strength egg-cooker, or perhaps, an egg-coddler coddler (each of the little cups might be considered an egg-coddler in some respects). There is a built-in electrical heating element, and the central compartment could be filled with water, or perhaps it was used for something else. Made by Peter Gray and Sons of Boston.


Modern technology run amuck! These little plastic cups were designed so that you can fix up something like coddled eggs in the microwave oven. The results, theoretically, could be very similar to coddling eggs. I'm sure that the inspiration for the shape comes from egg coddlers. However, calling these egg coddlers would be pushing the envelope a bit too much. These and similar products are available in the 2000's. Microwave Egg Cooker


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