This stewpot is lined with nickel and it took me some time to figure that out.
- Type: Nickel-lined stewpot in smooth finish with brass handles fitted with three aluminum or steel rivets
- French description: Faitout avec doublure en nickel avec poignées en laiton munies de trois rivets en aluminium ou en acier
- Dimensions: 28cm diameter by 15cm tall (11 inches by 5.7 inches)
- Thickness: 3.7mm
- Weight: 5672g (12.5 lbs)
- Stampings: “E. DEHILLERIN PARIS”; “MADE IN FRANCE”
- Maker and era: Mauviel; 1970 to 1980s
- Source: Goodwill
I bought this early on in the process of setting up my batterie de cuisine when I didn’t know very much about vintage copper. I liked the size of it — 28cm (11 inches) is a great size to have for a home cook — and while it looked thoroughly tarnished in its photos on Goodwill’s online store, it didn’t look dented or damaged.
When I unpacked it, I had a pleasant surprise. Look beyond the tarnish and the somewhat dirty interior: it’s a lovely pot that cleaned up beautifully.
It has two stamps on it: on the left, the oval E. Dehellerin Paris stamp marks it as a pot sold at the eponymous kitchen store. On the right, the Made in France stamp means that this pot was produced after 1970 or so. This is a lovely example from the 1970-1990 era of French copper crafting, when Americans were starting to buy French pots and pans and the French were happy to crank them out.
The handles are brass, darkened with tarnish, and firmly fixed with three rivets that look to me to be stainless steel or possibly aluminum.
On the inside, the rivets are rounded. This is standard construction for a pan of this time period.
But here’s where the mystery begins. When I first bought it, I thought it was lined with stainless steel. However, when I compared the interior of this pot with another stainless-lined sauté pan I have, the linings look very different to my eye.
It is perhaps impossible to capture in a photograph like this, but the stainless lining in the sauté is beautifully machined in a concentric pattern, and gleams brightly. The stewpot’s lining, by comparison, has a matte finish more like pewter.
The lining is very thin and doesn’t project much if at all beyond the rim of the copper.
Here’s another photo of the edge so you can better see the proportion of copper to lining.
I finally got around to testing it with a nickel detection solution, and it’s definitely nickel. Here’s a photo of the detection swab — the slight pink tinge is the nickel indicator. It doesn’t seem to be photographing well, but believe me, it’s pink.
Nickel is a great lining for cooking pans, as long as you and nobody else in your household is allergic to it and could react to touching it. I understand why nickel-lined cookware is no longer produced for the Western market but I have no concerns about using it. I’m glad to have this pot.