Recently I got to experience cooking on a ceramic cooker antique that was older than I am. We had two cookers on display but fired up the bigger one of the two. The story behind these antique ceramic cookers were that they were brought to the USA from Vietnam around 1950.
Interesting enough, these antique ceramic cookers had hardly ever been used and even had some of the original labeling still affixed to the exterior. The owner told me that these antique ceramic cookers were almost strictly used for cooking rice back in the day and using them as used today for grilling or barbecue was not its main purpose.
The top of the antique cooker where air escape is regulated was similar to one you would find today made of a heavier casted metal and allowing the temperature to be adjusted by opening or constricting the amount of airflow.
The dimensions of these antique ceramic cookers were almost identical to todays mini and medium sized Big Green Egg grills.
One modern improvement that The Big Green Egg has made over these antique ceramic cookers is in the dome handle. On the antique ceramic cooker, the handle to open the dome is almost flush with the lid making it very challenging to open the dome without burning your fingers. Todays versions are much safer and easier to open.
Even though this antique ceramic cooker had not been used in at least 50 years, it had no problem breathing back to life. The antique ceramic cooker had no gasket on it but still cooked quite efficiently. It may have been the burgers we were making, or that the grill was making up for lost time, but the cooker did produce more smoke than I had ever seen. I think it was just happy to be brought back to life.