Paul & Brenda's Page

Nesco Picnic Sets

Nesco is a long-established kitchenware and implement producer going back to W-II days.   During research on Car Snacs, we'd occasionally run across these Nescos and looked into their history.  While not usually associated with vintage cars, they seem to be equally interesting.  

Nescos may have been on the market at the same time as Car Snacs and Picni-Tables but stayed with the basic tin picnic-basket shape.   A plaid Nesco picnic set is seen below:


At this point, little is known about this product.  If not all, some had hinged lids. The above photo proves that they were in the competitive "plaid" market for picnicware of the 1950's and 1960's but does not specifically date the product.  The weakest part of these products are the metal handles.  After looking at dozens of examples, those that had been packed heavily in the past also had distorted handles from the weight.   

Meanwhile, Nesco did do some things differently with their "Picnicryte, Coolryte and Grillryte" metal picnic products. While unconfirmed, the colors suggest that these may be mid-60's products going into the 70's. 


As a variation of the red plaid model seen above, Nesco began using the marketing term "ryte", as in doing it "right" on their products.  Because they appealed to a broader picnic market (don't forget the motorcycle/scooter crowd), they had some interesting variations for plaid.  Below is their bright yellow/black version that came in threee sizes.


The two preceeding pictures are a little misleading for proportion.  The cans are about 13" long but the container is only 6" or so high.  They are flatter and longer than a regular tin lunch box.  While not especially unique among tin picnicware so far, Nesco did do something special as seen in the next picture... they made a tin cooler (see below)!


The Coolryte is the same 13" width but is about 3" taller than the Picnicryte.  The sides and top are insulated and there is a metal inside shelf.  Gotham didn't provide cooling to their sets although Hamilton Skotch had large, plaid buckets seperate.


Further research shows that the "ryte" products were companion pieces although sold seperately.  Here's a vintge ad for these products.



I only recently discovered that there was a Grillryte product added to the product line.  They seem to be quite rare.  Here's one below:

As for vintage car applications, Nescos haven't made the connection yet based on my experience but are fine examples of 50's - 70's (maybe) picnicware.  As we find out more, we'll add information.


Website Builder