Munising bowls are vintage wood bowls that were manufactured in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, by Munising Wood Products. The factory operated in its namesake town from 1911 to 1955.
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Identifying and Purchasing the Collectible
These vintage pieces come either with a wood finish, or painted. They're made with maple or beech, and can be identified with a stamp of “Munising” on the bottom. You can distinguish authentic bowls because they're carved as one piece from a log in a process that cuts each bowl in succession to easily nest into the next bowl.
Look for Munising bowls nationwide, but if you're ever on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, make a stop in the town of Munising! You can also find the bowls nationwide in antiques stores, or online locations like Etsy and eBay. Individual bowls can range from less than $10 to nearly $100, depending on the condition.
A Visit to the City
Rondi Olson, owner of Harvest Market in Munising, Michigan, sells a large collection of Munising bowls in her store and educates visitors on their history. “The entire town has an emotional attachment to the bowls,” she says.
Even though the operation closed in the 1950s, Olson managed to acquire the trademark, and now produces a small quantity each year to give the community legal control over the manufacturing of new Munising bowls.
To care for wooden Munising bowls without varnish, simply rub the piece with food grade mineral oil. For painted bowls, if you find any in poor condition, you can sometimes revive them with a coat of water-based polyurethane. To clean the bowls, wash with warm soapy water but don't soak. Dry immediately.
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