Featured Large copper bowl

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by David Askett, Feb 11, 2024.

  1. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    I realize that dating a copper bowl can be very tricky but think I may have found a genuinely old one today. It’s quite large, about 24” across, and heavy. The bottom, as you can see, has been attached with a cramp seam, with hand-cut “dovetails”. What do you think? Early 1800’s, perhaps?

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  2. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    I love old copper kitchenware but only own a couple French pieces, it's soooo expensive, even on the resale market!

    I've not seen a bowl with dovetail/cramp seam before... I'm wondering if it was done as a repair, which is nevertheless odd. Bowls were intended for whipping sauces and egg whites, not for cooking or use over heat. The weight of a bowl is often due to the iron ring within the rolled rim.
    The dovetails and the rivets appear machine-made to my non-expert eye, which would make the bowl more likely no older than mid-19th century. Has one of the rivets been replaced by a screw?

    Perhaps you could try contacting the people behind the Vintage French Copper website, I'm sure they would have some knowledge on non-French pieces as well as French pieces.
  3. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your reply. I found some good information about cramp seamed copperware here:


    According to the article it’s not common, and was difficult for the coppersmith to do. I can imagine!
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  4. terry5732

    terry5732 Well-Known Member

    That seam seems to be most common in the Tula area around 1900 +/-10
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  5. LauraGarnet02

    LauraGarnet02 Well-Known Member

    @bluumz that link was fun. I got lost there for a while.
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  6. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link, David...I have a copper kettle needful of her skills to reunite a detached spout...an' I'm quite willin' to wait as long as it takes her!
    An' BTW...that's one hell of a fine bowl. I've never seen a cramped portion of a hemispheric vessel, an' am really intrigued by the appearance of contrast in the colors. Lovely!
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  7. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    It was the contrast in colours that first grabbed my attention. At first I assumed that the bottom had been replaced as part of a repair but now I realize the bowl was most likely made this way. Why the difference in colour? The only thing I can think of is different purities / alloys of copper. There must be a reason for this but I’m not sure what it might be.
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  8. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Aren't the large, round bottomed, copper candy kettles used directly over heat?
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  9. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Well-Known Member

    Yup...I think so.
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  10. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Well-Known Member

    Just for fun, try a magnet on that bottom. It sure looks like iron to me.
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  11. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    Shows you how much I know!
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  12. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Definitely copper, but must be a different purity than the rest of the bowl.

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  13. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple more photos of the handles, which look hand-made to me.


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  14. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    To my eye the handles look like a repair job - reattached or re-welded after breaking off, using either the original or replacement handles.
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  15. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Looks like the handles have apprentice smith repairs on them. Whoever did the bottom was a master. The handles look like I did it.(LOL)
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  16. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Well-Known Member

    Utility repairs, evely...butt-ugly, an' hell-for-stout.
    Note that on one of those handles, the brazing includes the reinforced rim, where the other does not...suggesting they were done by different folks, an' probably at separate times.
  17. Lark

    Lark Well-Known Member

    As toomanybooks noted , I think it is for making candy. Candy ingredients are usually cooked in a double boiler or over a pot of water to keep them from burning. The rounded bottom makes scrapping it out easier. I have a huge one hanging here right by my head.
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  18. NanaB

    NanaB Well-Known Member

    As a long time home baker & cook of all things I have debated & contemplated & wanted a really nice copper set, especially for candy making. I almost purchased a set a few years ago in France. A big regret still.
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