This is not a flashy piece of copper and yet I find it one of the most beautiful in my collection.
- Type: Tin-lined stewpot in hammered finish with brass handles fitted with three copper rivets
- French description: Faitout étamé et martelé avec poignées en laiton munies de trois rivets en cuivre
- Dimensions: 32cm diameter by 18cm high (12.6 inches by 7.1 inches)
- Thickness: 3mm at rim
- Weight: 6406g (14.1 lbs)
- Stampings: “E. DEHILLERIN PARIS”; “PN”
- Maker and age estimate: Mauviel; 1940s to 1960s
- Source: FrenchAntiquity
I love the look of hammered-finish copper pots. They are ravishing when they are shiny and polished — the hammering catches and scatters light like the facets of a jewel. But what happens if you actually use it? Will that lovely shiny finish fade, and the pot’s beauty diminish with it?
To me this pot disproves it: I think it has become more beautiful with age and use. The mirror finish has been dulled by micro-scratches; patina has settled into the hammer marks, accentuating the texture of the martelage. The copper is almost rosy against the hot brightness of a newer pot. When I hold it in my hands, it feels almost soft.
This pot also has a hammered base that adds to the pot’s overall grace.
This is a pot that has been loved and used. It is stamped with the initials of the chef who owned it. This would have identified the pot when it went to the chaudronnier for retinning.
I’m including some good close-ups of the handle and interior rivets because they’re a little unusual to my eye. The outside rivets have a concentric circle, an artifact of the assembly of handle to pot.
The interior rivets, likewise, also have a concentric circle to them. I see the same circles on the interior rivets of a 40cm daubière that I am almost certain is Mauviel, and so it’s likely this stewpot is also Mauviel. Note the very faint numbers on the rivet heads, a mark of modern era construction.
This pot is stamped for the Dehillerin kitchen store in Paris. That style of stamp is one I believe to be of the 1970s-1990s, based on other pots I’ve seen. (The numbered internal rivets are also an indicator of modernity.) By this time, Dehillerin was no longer making copper pots or pans, so this pot could have been made by any one of a number of French manufacturers. I suspect this was made by Mauviel.
I love this pot. The 32cm size is a wonderful utility player — it can handle big batches of soup and stew but is still a maneuverable size. Whoever owned this before me certainly did use it, and while this use has taken away the sharp gleam of a perfect finish, it has only increased the pot’s beauty to me.