Calling all copper detectives…



Do you know which French maker used these distinctive brass handles?

I’ve been seeing them on different pieces of copper — all antique era, with dovetails and other signs of hand-make. The problem is, none of the pieces I’ve seen are stamped with a maker’s mark.

Here’s an example from a stockpot.

Calling all copper detectives…

I also have them on my two mystery stewpots:

They’re also on this daubière. (If it matters, I think these handles are copper, or at the very least a very coppery brass.)


My online sleuthing has found additional examples of this handle type but none that is stamped with a maker’s mark. Have you ever seen this distinctive brass handle on a stamped pot? If so, please add a comment!


  1. Hello VFC
    Personally I haven’t seen a copper pan handle like that. Very ornate but beautifully fashioned. I will have a look through my archives and see if I have any sort of information. Incidentally, I found a Allez Freres saute with a bronze handle – the first one I have come across myself any information greatly appreciated VFC! Off to Paris on Saturday for a buying trip – wish me luck!

    1. Hey Fidelma! Thanks for keeping an eye out! I also have not seen an Allez Freres saute with brass. (I have a cocotte so I know they did brass…) I would expect that they’d offer it, though, just as Grands Magasins du Louvre did. But the question of course is when! I just took a quick spin through the Allez Freres catalogs I have but they don’t go into enough detail on the copper cookware to specify brass vs iron handles. I will keep thinking about this and see what I can find! And good luck indeed in Paris — have a great trip!

  2. Hi Stephen! Well well well — that is interesting indeed. That is a 20th century Gaillard stamp and in my opinion a bit of an anachronism on a dovetailed stockpot like that. I would expect to see welded seams instead! What could it mean? Could the stamp be earlier than I thought? Or could this pan be an earlier unstamped pan that Gaillard acquired, refurbished, and re-sold? Stamps are a great means of identification but can also be misleading. What do you think?

  3. Yes, I was also wondering why a later type of Gaillard stamp was on a pan that appears to have been made in a earlier time. Notice also looking at the top right section of the stamp it looks like there might be a rectangular border around the stamp that is now barely visible. I think this pan just adds to the mystery of what maker used this type of handle.

  4. Hi, I cannot help with attribution but it seems likely that the copper appearance is a result of zinc in the alloy being leached out by agressive acid used for cleaning at some point. I believe some tinners used a hydrochloric acid bath to remove tarnish, some may still do. Even vinegar is sufficient to strip out zinc from brass given a little time leaving it decidely pink.

    1. Hi Roger! I think you’re referring to dezincification, yes? I was under the impression that de-zincified brass has an almost sponge-like honeycombed texture — that the vanished zinc leaves voids. Or is that just in extreme cases?

  5. Hi, I think that the composition of these castings is very variable, metal casting being as much an art as a science in earlier times. The result of zinc losses is likely to vary also.
    I have here a skillet/lid,like a shallow rondeau, (32cm Made in Paris for E.BONNET 5 Dean St. London.) When I got it one of the handles was severely bent & in order to lever it back to its proper place I had to heat it to dull red & allow to cool a dozen or so times in order not to break it. The heated handle is now looks copper but at least it is straight. The metal shows no sign of pitting or spongelike qualities.

    1. Thank you ST! That’s a great find. Once you start looking for these distinctive handles, they jump out at you, don’t they? They’re lovely.

  6. Hello VFC – I love your website and am a frequent lurker. 🙂 A quick question: would you consider doing a post on how you *display* your copper collection? It would be great to have some inspiration – maybe you could do a post that features photos of other copper collections. Just my $0.02. Thanks and all the best.

    1. Hey ST — welcome! What a great suggestion for a post! The quirk in my house is that I have no way to hang pots — no ceiling-hung racks, no wall hooks. Everything has to be on shelves or in cabinets. I ended up buying some wood and metal bookshelves that I’m quite happy with. (And they were from World Market, of all places, and much less expensive than other options I was considering!) I’ll start pulling together a post on this. Thank you for the idea!

    2. Hey ST! Send me an email — vfc at vintagefrenchcopper dot com — and I’ll send you a link to a private page I made with photos of my collection.

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