I remember my mom using a red enamel handled potato ricer to make mashed potatoes. If you are buying a vintage one for use make sure there is no rust and that the handle presses down with ease. The vintage colorful ricers do make great kitchen decoration.
Vintage Potato Ricer, from Ask.com provides a good over-view of ricers and their history. Linked to the same site is How To Use a Potato Ricer, by Jessica Harlan (she includes a recipe for making riced potatoes). I've found the vintage ricers in enameled green, yellow, white, cream, red and blue as well as plain metal. Mariette's Housewares writes "Ricing potatoes was more common decades ago, but a ricer continues to be a cool kitchen tool for giving vegetables a smoother texture and interesting shape"