This magnificent no-stamp rondeau is the largest I have.
- Type: Tin-lined rondeau in hammered finish with brass handles fitted with three copper rivets
- French description: Rondeau étamé et martelé avec poignées en laiton munies de trois rivets en cuivre
- Dimensions: 50cm diameter by 17cm high (19.7 inches by 6.7 inches)
- Thickness: 2.5mm at rim
- Weight: 12180g (26.9 lbs) without lid, 15700g (35.3 lbs) with lid
- Stampings: None
- Maker and age estimate: Unknown; early 20th century, but that’s a guess
- Source: barttof
This huge rondeau would have been made for a large kitchen. It’s a nice thick 2.5mm but at this dimension I’d hesitate to load it up and carry it around for fear of stressing the bottom. This is the kind of pan you place on the stove, load up, cook with, and then empty out before moving. The floor of the pan is so expansive that it’s almost like a spacious plancha.
It’s hard to know how old this pan is. The handles are old-style textured brass; the fine lines are traces from the metal file that was used to finish the handle when it came out of its mold.
Like many vintage copper pans of substantial size, it’s constructed out of separate panels of copper that were cut, shaped, and brazed together. You can see where each panel was joined to the next by looking for the dovetails — the subtle seams, sometimes showing yellow metal, that run around the perimeter of the base and up the sides under where the handles are mounted. Dovetail seams can break and need repair, but visible brass is not necessarily a sign of weakness in the seam.
Dovetailing is a sign of handwork and age. Modern coppersmiths can take advantage of machinery to help with some tasks to shape thick panels of metal, but back in the day it was a someone with a hammer and a strong arm.
More evidence of handwork is apparent on the bottom of the pot, which has an all-over hammered finish.
This pan came from a great eBay seller in France. I asked him to send it directly to Erik Undiks at Rocky Mountain Retinning; unfortunately I don’t have any “before” photos so you can see the transformation, but the finished piece is spectacular. (The lid is not original to the pan, but is more modern and didn’t need restoration.)
One curiosity about this pot is that it is tarnishing unusually quickly. I live in a temperate zone that has humidity in summertime, but despite this, my pots and pans seem to tarnish slowly. This one has picked up tarnish on its walls (you can see it in the photos) and, strangely, verdigris on its handles.
Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, and so it’s not totally crazy that the copper would pick up verdigris. I fixed this by sanding off the verdigris with 0000-grade steel wool, used Simichrome as a surface polish and to lay down a protective layer, and then massaged in a coat of Renaissance wax to help seal it. So far it’s keeping the verdigris away.
What I really need to do is put Simichrome on the entire exterior of the pot to keep the tarnish off. That would be a weekend project!