These magical vintage Crock-Pot Slow Cookers from the 70s & 80s changed the game for working moms

Vintage Crock-Pot Slow Cookers from Rival

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In the 70s, vintage Crock-Pot Slow Cookers became super popular. People loved them because a meal could be cooked for pennies a serving, and even budget cuts of meat could be easily tenderized.

As women entered the work-force en masse in the decade that followed, slow cookers became a vital kitchen time-saver and multitasker — one that we still rely upon to this day.

Who could have predicted back then how famous and essential these small appliances would become?!

For busy gourmets, Crock Pot cookery (1976)

By Nancy Harvey – Binghamton Press & Sun (Binghamton, New York) October 19, 1976

Slow cooking is an idea dating back to pioneer days, when a homemaker simmered her dinner in a pot over an open fire while she went about her daily chores.

Today, you can take advantage of an assortment of slow-cooking “crock pots” to do the same thing. An entire meal can be cooked for pennies a serving, and less-expensive cuts of meat can be deliciously tenderized.

Some crock pot manufacturers claim you also get better nutrition from slow cooking. Actually, slow cooking preserves many heat-sensitive vitamins, but destroys some others which can’t survive extended cooking. If you consume any liquid in which the ingredients cook, you probably WILL get better nutrition, because you’ll be eating the water-soluble vitamins.

Old Crock Pot cookbook cover

Vintage slow cooker recipes: Pot roast stroganoff, Vineyard chicken & Lamb stew (1974)

Give someone a genuine “original” Crock Pot

There’s only one original Crock Pot. And only Rival makes it — the one with the crazy name and the warm heart of stone. A very low-watt element encircles fine stoneware, surrounds food with a blanket of heat. Cooks all day while the cook’s away — for only 3 cents.

Start your meal in the morning, come home to a delicious dinner at night. No stirring or timing, no sticking. Ideal for busy, busy people.

A great way to cook less-expensive cuts of meat. You’ll turn out tender, juicy roasts, chicken, ham. Vegetables retain texture, fresh natural color, and good nutrition. Stews, soups, seafood, fruits, cake, pudding and favorite casseroles have unbelievable flavor.

Genuine original Crock-Pot Slow Cookers from the '70s - 1973

Vintage tips on choosing Crock-Pot Slow Cookers

There are a number of features to look for and things to consider when choosing a cooker. Cookers come in several quart sizes, so think of the size of your family. Deeper models allow less evaporation within the cooker and can hold more liquid than shallow models. A wraparound heating element allows better heat distribution. A removable crock is also handy, because it’s easier to clean and can be used as a serving container. Finally, look for a detachable cord.

A useful optional feature would be an off-on light to help avoid burns. Outside temperatures on some models get up to 200 degrees F. This would also tell you if the cooker is accidentally left on.

According to Consumer Reports, the continuous heat models are better than thermostatically controlled ones. The thermostatically controlled models have unpredictable cooking times and require much experimentation for proper use. They also draw high voltage.

The best rules for using a slow cooker are to follow the manufacturer’s directions and use a special recipe book. A light pregreasing will facilitate cleanup. Remember to fill the pot up at least halfway for proper heating. And don’t peek: it extends cooking time. It’s practically impossible to overcook.

Vintage Crock-Pot 1970s

You may change timings by using this formula: 1 hour on high equals 2-1/2 hours at low. Fill the cooker with hot soapy water after use. For those of you who prefer to develop your own recipes, here are a few hints:

  • Pasta is better added during the last hour.
  • Long grain rice is the preferred form of rice to use.
  • Soak beans if directions on bean box call for it.
  • Add frozen vegetables or fish during last hour only.
  • Place root vegetables on bottom.
  • Add milk products during last hour.
  • Browning meats reduces fat; extra fat increases cooking time.
  • Boil-in-bag vegetables may be set on top during last hour; make a small hole in bag to let steam escape.
  • Use roux for thickening (recipe to follow).
  • Whole spices are recommended; add ground spices during last hour.

Crock Pot roux

1/2 pound butter or margarine
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in a heavy skillet; sift flour, salt, pepper together. Stirring constantly, work flour mixture into melted butter. Mixture should have the consistency of custard pudding. Let it simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, until it is well cooked. Store in an airtight jar in refrigerator. Will keep 4 months.

6 savory vintage recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon/Beef Burgundy (1970s)

Safety of Crock-Pot Slow Cookers

Slow cookers are electrically safe, but remember not to immerse the coil when cleaning. Microbiologically, slow cookers should be safe if sanitary food handling practices are followed. The cooking temperature should be at least 18 degrees F and preferably 200 degrees F on LOW.

The temperature of the food at the coolest spot. on top, should reach 165 degrees F in at least 2 hours. Start on high to kill all surface bacteria and then turn down after an hour. Some models have an automatic shift.

Always start with wholesome food and not food that has been stored for a long length of time. Scrub root vegetables very well. Thermophilic bacteria present on these grow at high temperatures and produce acid and poor taste. Putting in frozen food lowers the temperature for prolonged lengths of times, so it’s better to thaw it first.

Vintage Crock Pot ad from 1975

Home-canned food should be boiled for 10 minutes before adding to the mixture in the cooker if you are at all unsure whether it was processed correctly. (Vegetables except tomatoes must be pressure canned. )

Don’t cool your food product slowly after cooking. Spores which are not killed by the heating process can germinate and produce toxins. Most manufacturers recommend removing food to a refrigerator container before storing, especially since the crockery pots don’t withstand rapid changes in temperature well.

When using an automatic timer to turn the slow cooker on or off, remember that bacteria grow rapidly below about 120 degrees F. The longer food products are cooked between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, the more bacterial growth will occur. Toxins which may be formed by the bacteria may not be destroyed by slow cooking.

Slow cookers keep food sufficiently hot for serving and safety for about 2 hours after turning off. Slow cookers may pose some special problems, but if used correctly, they are safe, economical, and time-saving.

All-day roast, all-night cereal, Mom’s-gone-shopping casserole

S – L – O – W electric stoneware cooker

There’s no other cooker anywhere like the one and only Crock-pot. A low-watt heating element encircles fine stoneware… cooks all day while the cook’s away for about 3 cents. Just put in the food, put on the lid and forget the clock. Hours later, your meal is perfectly cooked without timing, stirring or tending.

  • 3-1/2 quart Crock-Pot Cooker/Server with detachable cord. Flame, Avocado or Wood Tone.
  • 2 quart crock pot — Flame or Avocado.
  • 4-1/2 quart deluxe Crock-Pot Cooker/Server with detachable cord. Flame, Avocado, Harvest. (People buy this new size faster than we can make them now. If not available in your store, be patient.)

Genuine original Crock-Pot Slow Cookers from the '70s - 1972

Vintage Rival Crock-Pot slow cookers with removable bowls (1970s)

Rival’s new “removable” Crock-Pot slow cookers have stoneware bowls that lift out.

Vintage Rival Crock Pot slow cookers with removable stoneware bowls 1970s

No thanks, no substitute… I WANT THE BEST (1976)

“I found out about slow cookers! And believe me, the original Crock-Pot slow cooking idea by Rival makes the best slow cooker you can buy.

“For instance, Rival uses only a stoneware liner. It is made from special clays. It holds heat far better than anything else — better than aluminum, steel or even glass.

“Then, instead of concentrating the heat at the bottom, as with a hot plate, Rival winds over 40 feet of low-watt heating wire around the sides. That’s 60% more heating surface! There are no hot spots to cause sticking or burning. That’s why I don’t have to worry about it.

“What’s more, the Rival Crock-Pot cooks all day for about the same current as a light bulb — less than a nickel for 10 or 12 hours. So you can see how Crock-Pot slow cooking saves me money.

“I learned something else: Rival doesn’t use or trust a thermostat to control heat, because in low-temperature slow cooking you want constant heat—never intermittent heat as with a thermostat. The Crock-Pot cooks constantly on High or Low until you turn it off.

Vintage Rival Crock Pot from 1976 (2)

“Here’s another nice thing. Only the Rival Crock-Pot gives you a cookbook with so many recipes. Over 180 of them! Everything from soups to stews, roasts to seafood, pastas to poultry, desserts to jams, breads to cakes. You name it — it’s in the big 84-page Crock-Pot Cook-Book.

“But here’s what I really found out: there is just no substitute for the original Rival Crock-Pot because no matter how much some other cookers try to sound like it or look like it, they don’t cook like it. No imitation for me. I’ll take the genuine Crock-Pot Slow Cooker by Rival.”

Vintage Rival Crock Pot slow cookers: You asked for it – Removable stoneware! (1976)

Vintage Rival Crock Pot from 1976 (1)

Retro Rival Crock-Pot style from 1982

Retro Rival Crock-Pot style from 1982

Vintage Crock Pot from 1984

Freedom is a home cooked meal, without staying home. The Rival Crock-Pot Slow Cooker gives you time to be you, all day.

Because it stays home, gently cooking a carefree casserole, a no-turn chicken, or a no-stir soup. It has dinner ready when you’re ready, all by itself.

And when you feel creative, the Crock-Pot turns you loose with exotic creations like Beef Burgundy, Chicken Cacciatore, or Turkey Tetrazzini. The easy recipes are right there in the Crock-Pot slow cooker cookbook.

Give yourself time, Turn yourself loose: With a Rival Crock-Pot you can cook all day without being home all day. That’s freedom. 

Classic CrockPot style from 1984

NOW SEE THIS: Vintage Corning Corelle dishes from the 70s & 80s are plates full of memories: See dozens of vintage patterns

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Comments on this story

13 Responses

  1. Please can you tell me if there is any value in the original,orange Monier Crock Pot.
    Mine is in perfect condition,bought in 1972 in Sydney Australia. Still used every winter!!!
    I have been given 2 replacements as gifts BUT not sure which to keep.
    Is the old or modern more economical??

  2. I own two of the original 3 and1/2 guart pots. They are both in fantastic condition (clumsy me, has never dropped one!). I have never used the “new-fangled” pots. I love my 35 year old pots. Still going strong from my “youngish”, days and they’re still cooking great food through my not so “youngish” years. Just downloaded the original recipe book!

  3. My mil still has hers from 1976. The control for it is on a separate plug, much like an electric skillet. I still works great and I use it when I go to her house. (And yes, I’ve seen “This Is Us” !)

  4. I have a Rival `model. 3204 crock pot 35 watts. Can I cook in this tiny pot and if so how long does it take to cook one small potato and 10 fresh green beans. I guess I need to look up a pdf of the original booklet

    1. Judy, I think your “Little Dipper” is just for keeping things warm and serving. Not hot enough to actually cook.

  5. Hello! Can anyone tell me to volume of a Monier 3100 Crock Pot? I am assuming/hoping it will be a good deal larger than the 1 litre ‘Mini’ I already have. Thanks.

  6. I got a Crock-Pot as a wedding present in 1982. It was that orange-y red with the stationary crock. I hated the color and I was disappointed in the style since there were updated colors and removable crocks already on the market, and I was young and foolish. I also hated trying to clean it because I didn’t follow the directions to lightly coat the sides with oil before using, or know to put soapy water in it and turn it on after. It would sit on my counter “soaking” cold for days, waiting til the baked on mess could be scrubbed loose, each use. I eventually gave it away. I just this week paid 4 times as much as it cost brand new to purchase and have shipped to me the exact model and style of Crock-Pot, because I now realize the value of it. The new models have much higher heat settings, so I can’t put on a pot of beans and leave them all day, like I could in my old one. I can’t let bone broth simmer 36 hours, getting every nutrient out, without worrying about it boiling dry. And I can’t just let Ro*tel dip (nasty stuff, but guests all seem to love it) keep warm for a long party without it burning. Now I have recovered my trusty friend, and I advise any cook out there who values these same abilities to snap up any of these vintage models you can, to use or to sell to people like me.

  7. I had a Rival Crock Pot bought in 1978. Unfortunetly I lost the recipe book that came with it. I am looking for a recipe for stuffed pork chops that was in it. If anyone has this recipe I would love to be able to make it again. It included rice and canned corn and I think tomatoes. Thanks!

  8. My Rival is a 3100 with the original sticker on bottom that states made in Japan. It even has a stamped serial # too. I don’t believe it was ever used and if it was maybe once or twice!

  9. I’m interested in the history and structure of Rival. Each pot always included – I think it was a thank you note – a little card in the bottom of each pot. It had a picture of a beautiful lady on it. Does anyone know who she was? What was her name? Any
    stories to be told there?

  10. I have a friend that has a Model 3854 Rival Crockpot and I can’t find any information on it, it’s supposed to be a large party crock. I would appreciate any information for anyone.

    Thank you

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