This daubière is as dashing as its namesake, Henry VIII of England. Even its handles are cocked with the same rakish élan as the King’s feathered hat.
- Type: Tin-lined daubière in hammered finish with brass side handles fastened with three copper rivets; cap-style lid with brass handle fastened with two copper rivets on each side
- French description: Daubière étamée et martelée avec poignées latérales en laiton munies de trois rivets en cuivre; couvercle emboîtant avec poignée munie de deux rivets en cuivre de chaque côté
- Dimensions: 40cm long by 24 cm wide by 22cm tall (15.7 inches by 9.4 inches by 8.1 inches) without lid
- Thickness: 2.6mm at rim
- Weight: 9948g (22 lbs) without lid, 13286g (30 lbs) with lid
- Stampings: “0” (possibly formerly “40”)
- Maker and age estimate: Unknown; 1880–1920
- Source: harestew
And at 13286g (30 lbs) with lid, this daubière shares a certain embonpoint with Henry as well. Such a large piece would have been made for and used by a large kitchen for big braises of beef, pork, or game. Without a maker’s mark it’s difficult to know when and by whom it was made, but based on its construction, I would put it at early 20th century or late 19th, if not earlier.
A daubière is a beautiful expanse of copper and retains a handmade charm. (To this day, Mauviel’s daubières are still built by hand, while other pots and pans are punched or spun by machine.)
This pan was restored and tinned by Erik Undiks at Rocky Mountain Retinning and exemplifies his work. The daubière’s finish is hammered, but while the marks have softened over multiple polishings and retinnings, the interior still shows the ripples of the hammer strikes that work-hardened and strengthened the copper for use.
This pan was assembled from separate pieces of copper joined together with dovetails (or more correctly, cramp seams). Oldcopper.org has a great description with pictures of this process, which leaves a telltale crenellated line limned with yellow brass where the seam was made. According to oldcopper.org, the cuts for the joints were done by hand until the late 19th century, when coppersmiths developed machine tools to help. Hand-cut joints are larger and more irregularly spaced, while machine-cut joints are smaller and more closely spaced. This means that the size and pattern of the dovetail can help date the piece to the pre- or post-machine era.
Take a look at the seam on this piece.
Here’s the top edge of that joint, where the leaves of copper overlap (as well as the piece’s lone mark, a zero that seems to have lost an accompanying 4 that would have denoted the pan’s 40cm length).
To my eye, this is an irregular seam with large teeth, suggesting the dovetail was hand-cut and may predate the late 19th century. But these dovetail seams are also points of weakness in the copper. Below is evidence that one point of the dovetailing has begun to fail.
Still, this is a beautiful daubière, and if it is in fact a 19th century piece then it has survived a century and a half of use, with more to come.
The rivets are small and are allowed to protrude only slightly before being flattened. (As shown two photos up, the internal rivets have been pounded flat so that they are virtually flush with the surface.)
The lid handle is affixed with two rivets on each end of the handle bracket. The lid itself is a couvercle emboîtant with a slight recessed area intended to catch and direct condensate back into the food.
I believe all daubières have a certain appeal to them, as evidenced by my lamentable habit of anthropomorphizing them, but really, can you blame me? These are hand-built to this day, and I like to think they carry with them something of those who made them, as well as those who used them before us.