It’s unusual — and wonderful — to see an antique Jacquotot pan with its original lid.
- Type: Tin-lined sauté in hammered finish with an iron handle fastened with three copper rivets; flat lid with iron handle fastened by two copper rivets
- French description: Sauteuse étamée et martelée avec queue de fer munie de trois rivets en cuivre; couvercle plât avec queue de fer munie de deux rivets en cuivre
- Dimensions: 40cm diameter by 11.3cm tall (15.7 inches by 4.4 inches tall)
- Thickness: 3.2mm
- Weight: 9260g (20lb 6 oz) without lid, 12710g (27 lb 15 oz) with lid
- Stampings: J. JACQUOTOT 77. RUE DAMESME PARIS; 41
- Maker and age estimate: Jacquotot; 1910-1930s
- Owner: Stephen Whalen
Jacquotot remains a cipher to me. It’s been difficult to track down good information about its origin and its period of activity. They seem to have appeared in Paris in the 1910s and continued to produce copper into the 1930s, providing a range of copper cookware from large restaurant-scale pieces to normal-sized items for the home cook. What they all seem to have in common is high quality — heavy weight and beautiful and distinctive hardware. This pan, belonging to Stephen Whalen, is a fabulous example.
I mean, look at that lid. Swoon.
It’s hammered in a pattern of concentric circles, which in my experience is rare on a lollipop lid like this. But then Stephen tells me the lid is 2.2mm thick, which is unusually thick for a lid — also quite unusual. Hammering copper hardens it so that pans will be more resilient against dings and dents, but it’s a treatment seldom accorded to lids. While work hardening may help keep this lid rigid, it strikes me (no pun intended) as decorative rather than functional. The hammering — and the high thickness of the lid — indicate to me that this was a luxury pan when it was made, and now, a century later, it is extraordinary.
The business end of the pan is just as beautiful. It’s hammered all over in a regular, almost scalloped pattern. Modern-era hammered pans are beautiful, but are commonplace due to the convenience of hydraulic hammering machines; the craftsman must focus on positioning, steadying, and shifting the piece as the hammering piston strikes it, but this requires a very different skill set than holding the pan and striking it with a hand-held hammer. This Jacquotot, I suspect, was the product of true hand-hammering, skillfully done in a regular pattern. It’s lovely to see.
The handle has something unusual going on. Do you see it? Or more to the point — what do you not see?
I’m pretty certain those rivets are copper, but they’ve been covered over with something. I don’t know what it is, and owner Stephen Whalen isn’t sure either except that it looks almost like paint. Whatever it is, it makes the the rivets more subtle, which changes the look of the handle. It’s distinctive without being audacious. It’s possible that this was an addition by a tinner at some point, but I’ve seen other pans with this effect and so I suspect this is original to the pan. The other examples weren’t stamped (and now I wish I’d grabbed the photos to show you), and I’m now wondering if this dark rivet treatment could be a Jacquotot thing.
The lovely hammering continues on the base. Stephen tells me that this pan was part of the personal collection of a chef in France; the chef bought it early in his career and finally sold it at his retirement. It is in beautiful shape, as you can see. I am accustomed to seeing restaurant pieces that show the marks of hard work — and don’t get me wrong, I see beauty in them — but it is always gratifying to see a piece of this quality that has been kept in pristine condition.
This pan has likely been retinned a few times over its lifetime. This particular tin job is at least a decade or two old but still perfectly serviceable to my eye. I don’t know what Stephen’s plans are for it, but I’d cook with this. I find “old” tin like this to be harder and slicker than new tin, and that’s a good thing.
These are machine-made rivets, supporting my theory that this is a pan from the first decades of the 20th century. The smooth dome heads and the faint numbers indicate they were mass-produced. The machines to do this proved to be an enormous time-saver for metalworkers, as prior to this, a smith had to make his own rivets for the day’s work.
As I mention at the start, this pan and its lid have stayed together and it’s wonderful to see. They both have the Jacquotot stamp with its Rue Damesme address. This is a later address for Jacquotot, which began production at 120 & 130 rue de Grenelle before moving to Rue Damesme. I don’t have the exact date of the move, but my guess is this is a pan from the 1920s to 1930s. There is also a faint “41” stamped on the lid, corresponding to its diameter — a centimeter more than its 40cm partner pan.
This is a really lovely antique pan and a great find for Stephen. A 40cm pan is almost 16 inches in diameter, which makes it larger than pans used for everyday cooking. Here’s this big 40cm pan next to a 24cm Mauviel sauté — 16 inches versus 9.4 inches.
But I’ve found a big saute like this to be more useful than I had thought. With its expansive cooking area it becomes almost like a plancha, a wide open space for sautéing proteins or large vegetables without crowding them.
I’d like to thank Stephen for sharing photos of this gorgeous piece with us — I hope it inspires you to consider adding a large sauté to your collection as well!