Mysteries

Jacquotot, Gaillard, and déjà vu 

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There’s something curious going on with Jacquotot’s 1925 product catalog.

I was fortunate enough to get a physical copy of it and I’ve scanned the entire thing into PDF format and posted it for you to peruse. (I find these catalogs wonderfully useful — if you haven’t already discovered it, I suggest you check out the Library where I have gathered all the catalogs I’ve been able to find.)

But when I began to peruse it, I noticed something very strange: many of the product illustrations are identical to the drawings of the same products in Gaillard’s 1914 catalog. They’re not just similar, but the same exact drawing. There are a few differences, but it’s similar to what you’d see if you photocopied the same image a few times — a little loss of detail, but the fundamental lines and shapes are the same. I’ve gathered a few examples. (In all of these, the Gaillard catalog will be on the left, and the Jacquotot catalog — an aged sepia color — will be on the right.)

In the example below, it looks like the Jacquotot version on the right slightly lower resolution version of the Gaillard image on the left. But the other details are identical.

Again, other than some loss of detail in the hairlines, the two stockpots shown below are identical.

The duplication is really obvious in a complex image like the one below. All the details are the same.

And it’s not just for the copper items. In the example below, the Jacquotot page on the right uses a rearrangement of the Gaillard drawings of a mortar and various types of pestle. The “marbling” on the mortar is exactly the same.

And here’s the most egregious case: the metal polish tin  on the left, labeled for J. & E. Gaillard, has been somewhat clumsily re-labeled for Jacquotot on the right. You can still see artifacts of the Gaillard version behind the Jacquotot label overlaid on the image.

I find this fascinating but I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Did Jacquotot secure Gaillard’s permission to re-use the drawings? Did some product wholesaler supply the drawings to Gaillard, and then ten years later supplied the same products and drawings to Jacquotot?

Readers, what do you think?


Update: Mystery perhaps solved. Reader Nick noticed a page on TJFRANCE’s site that appears to explain the similarities.

According to E. DEHILLERIN – GAILLARD Paris – JACQUOTOT Paris – LETANG FILS (August 2019):

  • All DEHILLERIN copper pots come from the same catalog from the years 1900-1910.
  • All GAILLARD Paris copper pots come from the same catalog from the years 1910-1920.
  • All the copper pots from the JACQUOTOT Paris house come from the same catalog from the years 1920-1930.
  • All the copper pots from the house LETANG FILS come from the same catalog of the years 1930-1940.

As is so often the case, TJ is well ahead of me! Thanks to Nick for finding this.

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29 Comments

  1. Amazing! In Germany there is the term “abkupfern”. Originally, this meant the reproduction of a copperplate. Today the term is occasionally used for unauthorized copying (in the broadest sense) of products.Since catalogs were generally widely distributed, I would be surprised if the unauthorized adoption of the drawings had gone undetected. Certainly, pirate copies were also prosecuted at this time.

    Isn’t the consistency of the drawings an indication of the close interlacing and partial cooperation between the various manufacturers? Having a drawing made for each individual piece was time-consuming. It was cheaper to use prefabricated “building blocks”, especially since the products of individual manufacturers differed little in appearance. Print shops may have had a whole arsenal of such patterns. In the past few years, as far as I know, Jacquotot pans have been produced by Mauviel. Perhaps there was already a corresponding cooperation with Gaillard beforehand.
    All pure speculation.

  2. Wow, I never noticed that! Sounds reasonable like Martin said that there were unbranded stamps that could be used by different companies. Or maybe the copyright laws were weak enough that Jacquotot could get away with that.

  3. Is there any indication of who actually printed them? Could be that the printer retained ownership or even copyright of the engravings and treated them as stock images. I wonder if they turn up in any other catalogues or cookery books. (Presumably Paris or at least French printed ones) . Engravings are often signed by the artist, I can’t see a signature on any of these but it might be worth checking the others in the catalogues with a magnifying glass.

  4. I feel a little reminded of the art of printing, which was already known in China towards the end of the 1st millennium and was reinvented in 1450 by the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg. So why not use standardized small, simple graphics in addition to the individual letters and numbers in the print? That would be inexpensive and quick to implement and would fit well into the era of increasing industrialization, in which purely manual activities and individual production were increasingly taking a back seat.

  5. bonjour
    je dispose des “plombs” sur lesquels étaient gravées chaque page du catalogue Jacquotot… ce qui vraiment très lourd. et qui servaient ensuite à l’imprimeur.
    Dès lors il se peut que le graveur soit le même pour les deux catalogues et qu’il est représenté des produits équivalents ou identiques, de la même façon, pour les deux catalogues.
    D’autant plus qu’à l’époque c’était des catalogues et non des revues publicitaires (au sens moderne).

    vous trouvez encore cela avec des photos par exemple de fourchettes fabriquées par des industriels différents

  6. After a short research: The copper engraving was developed as the first gravure printing process in the Renaissance from the engraving art of goldsmiths. With so-called stylus, they scratched decorations out of the metal. It was recognized that flat metal plates were also well suited for printing graphics. The first copper engravings were made around 1430, gravure prints with drypoint after 1465. Etching techniques were also used later.

  7. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Carisé-Jaquotot. S’il vous plaît, gardez ce trésor et ne le remettez qu’une seule fois entre de bonnes mains.

  8. As the Gaillard and Jacquotot catalogs have been printed by different companies, my vote goes to the use of the same commercial catalog editor/publisher by both manufacturers … and maybe by others. See http://francelorrainecollection.fr/DEHILLERIN-GAILLARD-JACQUOTOT-LETANG/
    In any case, good catch, VFC!
    The patch-up job on the metal polish tin is particularly hilarious.
    And a big thank you for this new catalog ! I love old catalogs and this one is really amazing. In contrast to Gaillard’s or Dehillerin’s, it actually gives the weight of the pieces and that weight is impressive ! A 24 cm sauté pan at 4.2 kg ! 4mm thick, I guess. Now I better understand the good reputation of Jacquotot !

    1. Oh my goodness, my hat is off to TJFRANCE for identifying the similarities well before I did, and to Nick for finding this page on his site. I will amend the post to direct readers to TJ’s information. I have to say I am a bit disappointed — I had hoped to use each maker’s catalogs to identify differences between items, but if the drawings are generic, then they are not so useful.
      Once again, thank you to TJ for this information and to Nick for surfacing it for me!

  9. VFC,
    Despite having previously read TJ’s page on the subject,I hadn’t fully realized before today the extent of the similarities between the catalogs of the various manufacturers and I wouldn’t have without your post and without you so generously sharing the rare catalogs you managed to find. Once again, thank YOU !

  10. Reading through TJ’s page, I’m coming to a sightly different understanding than I had at first glance. Some of the equivalent drawings TJ shows are not IDENTICAL, as I found between the Gaillard and Jacquotot catalogs, but SIMILAR — that is, the drawings depict the same object. I think he is making the point that all these makers offered essentially the same product sourced from the same supplier. This is a wider point than the one I am making in this post, which stemmed from the line-by-line duplication of one image in two catalogs.
    But the greater point I was trying to make (and perhaps did not arrive at in the post itself) is that this calls into question the hallowed practice (at least, hallowed by me) of peering closely at catalog images for details of handle design et cetera to identify the maker of pieces. If all these makers (in TJ’s assertion, Gaillard, Jacquotot, Dehillerin, and Letang) were sourcing the exact same pieces from the same supplier (likely someone in Villedieu), then discriminating between these makers over these pieces is a distinction without a difference.
    I can understand the business purpose for this. Gaillard, Dehillerin, Jacquotot (and presumably Letang) positioned themselves as restaurant and catering supply companies and kitchen outfitters (ovens, iceboxes, et cetera) — that was where I suspect the profit margins lay. Making low-margin consumer-grade cookware is only economically feasible at volume, and that’s what Villedieu evolved to do. I mean, look at Gaillard 1914 — they didn’t even list prices for the cookware, but priced them by weight, like a commodity!
    So what does a “brand label” mean for this period (1900s to 1940s)? Where I am settling is this: the mark of Gaillard, Jacquotot, Dehillerin, and Letang (and whoever else was also following this business model) is a badge of consistent quality — the promise that the piece achieves the size and grade (that is, thickness) for which it was advertised. Now, many decades later, separated from the point of purchase, we don’t know what the piece was supposed to be, but only what it actually is now. I encourage readers to become adept at looking past the “brand label” to determine the grade (thickness) of the piece in order to have a better basis to judge quality and value.

  11. VFC, I understood your post to mean that only the graphics show a high degree of agreement, but I did not draw the conclusion that the products were identical. I saw printing and economic reasons in the matches that would have to be researched more closely. I also agree that these images, or rather sketches, are not suitable for drawing precise conclusions about the appearance of the actual products. Due to the high quality of the photographs, the printing technology and the online publications, we have completely different expectations and standards today. We should also remember that around 1900 many products were still at least partially hand-made, and that it was not uncommon to order one-off items in small batches. Certain chefs and large restaurants had their own ideas.

    Incidentally, a large German manufacturer, Gebr. Schwabenland, also sold its professional copper pots by weight. The cost factor copper was obviously more important than the cost factor manufacturing. My collector friend Arndt was able to acquire a great catalog from this company from 1920. We would like to introduce this company and their products here at VFC. Just so much in advance: the catalog shows some highly interesting technical details that I had never seen before.

  12. Hello, I hope everyone is doing well!
    To begin with, I would like to point out that the JACQUOTOT catalog does indeed show the thicknesses and weights of copper pots. But don’t take everything literally and be aware that it is sometimes quite difficult to know what weight he is talking about. For example, figure 11 plat à sauté are shown available in 3 and 4mm thick and reinforced at the bottom. The weights shown are for what thickness? Here they are indicated for models of 4mm reinforced from the bottom. In other words, monsters! Extremely rare to find.
    So we should not take all the weights indicated in this catalog as references for us because many of these pots are impossible (or almost) to found.
    This example is a good example because it could make us think that JACQUOTOT only provided these plats à sauté in this incredible quality. Which is wrong. You have to be aware that it also provided the same model in 3mm unreinforced bottom and of course, this is the one you will find most often. So even if it is not listed in this catalog, it does exist! Simply, a lot of the weight indicated in this catalog is very, very high-end. Reserved for those who could afford to pay it. And believe me, you wouldn’t see them often!
    Commercially, looking at this, we think it’s amazing! But who can do the most can also do the least! Attracted the customer with the ultimate in quality and once there when he realizes it’s too expensive for him sell him the lower range, he would still be very happy to be able to say that he cooks in copper pots JACQUOTOT!

    For the GAILLARD catalog, it is the reverse, it shows very little the weights and thicknesses of the copper pots but it can provide exactly the same quality as JACQUOTOT. All as DEHILLERIN and any other supplier of high quality copper pots can do.

    All of this will bring you two things, I say this often enough, the cook should not look at the stamping of a pot first. We has to look at its thickness and even to go further, the thickness is not enough because it is so often poorly measured! We have to look at his weight! This is the only, the ultimate indicator of the quality of a copper pot. I invite you to review my page here:
    https://francelorrainecollection.fr/Thickness-of-Copper-Pots/
    You will finally understand that something is wrong with many of our copper pots! I’ll let you guess why …

    Then to come back to the subject of this topic, I invite you to review my page here:
    https://francelorrainecollection.fr/Fundamental-Bases/
    to which I will add a concrete example at the end of the text by the end of this weekend.
    To all Copper Lovers! Regards, T.J.

    P-S for Martin: I already have an open file for Gebr. Schwabenland. The case of this company is a bit special. Indeed, their copper pots are of very high quality. I say that the case of this company is special because it is a German company. And you have to take into account the situation from the period, I would say 1896 until after the second world war to explain the context of these periods. I wrote to this company which still exists but have yet to receive a response. At the moment, my investigation shows that Gebr. Schwabenland did not only offer products of their own making, although that was an argument they put forward. The context of these periods shows that they were settled in Germany, which was a bad point for them to expand their business beyond the borders. They are therefore found in Switzerland and Holland and this has certainly a good reason. I have good information about Schwabenland but I don’t have their catalog. Obviously, I’ll be happy to see it.

    1. Bonjour TJ, it is certainly not a mistake to point out again and again not to rely too much on the published data, such as catalogs etc.. I learned from the French to be more flexible, more spontaneous and not so pedantic. But I even recognized the enormous importance of weight myself.

      Gebr. Schwabenland: My research and summary of the history of this extraordinary German company is almost complete. There was also an even more important supplier and a cross-connection to be discovered. I don’t want to reveal more at the moment. I would like to post the result if VFC gives me the opportunity. My friend Arndt could enrich the post with great photos of interesting pans.
      Cordialement, Martin

      1. Hello Martin, yes the story of Gebr. Schwabenland is interesting. I see an interconnection with French culinary copper pots (for certain handles of stock pots) but also a connection with our French department stores for handles of the “Louvre” type. As well as a connection with Belgian culinary copper for the bases and thick upper edges. And to finish a connection with Alsatian culinary copper for handles typically from this region. Simply, there is a very important factor that bothers me in talking about this company. It is about the extreme mistrust, I would even say a kind of racism vis-à-vis the German companies which started as of the war of 1870. The French who never accepted the defeat and especially the loss of the alsace and part of lorraine have done everything to denigrate german equipment. And even if this company had representatives in France, it should not be easy. Moreover in 1944, we find Schwabenland on the list of enemies with whom it is forbidden to have relations, whether with people or society itself. Suddenly, as a French, if I had to talk about this company, I should also talk about French apprioris vis-à-vis Germany. And repeating what was being said at the time, I wouldn’t want people to think that’s my personal opinion! To me, the copper pots from this company are just fantastic. But the history between the French and the Germans of that time is not very easy, for me, to explain.

  13. Bonsoir Thierry, Guten Abend Martin,
    Some Schwabenland pans I’ve seen on the net exhibit the same thickened flat rings around rim and base as the Manzoni sauté presented in Chris Nathan’s guest post on this site. Was that shape somewhat common in the German speaking areas of Europe before WWII ?

    1. Hello Nick,
      I just went to see the Manzoni sauté pan. Yes, it is exactly the same manufacture as Schwabenland.
      On the other hand I am absolutely surprised by the description:

      “This sauté pan is one of the rare pieces made by the famous artist and sculptor Paul Manzoni. They were made for the European elite at the end of the 19th century and very few survived the two world wars. It is probably one of the rarest and most collectable copper coins in the world. Weighing 5.7 kg (12.6 lbs) with a cast metal handle and huge copper rivets (the middle rivet of this pan is 29mm wide), it features crisp lines with a rim and base thickened. It measures 28cm in diameter. This piece was ordered for the Great Dining Room at Basel station.”

      There is indeed an artist and even several named Paul Manzoni in the 19th century in Italy. Artists who will lay foundations in Paris as in the USA.
      To make such a pot at the end of the 19th century for European elites, this type of pot would have to exist at that time, which I strongly doubt. I also doubt that an artist, even a sculptor, takes care of a copper pot. I don’t think it’s important for his career.
      One thing is certain, PAUL MANZONI-AMSTALDEN is a Swiss supplier of household items. Based in Turgi in the Baden district of Switzerland before WWII. We find them after the war in Gebenstorf, still in the Baden district. They also distributed French-made culinary copper and copper from the silver-plated range. As well as all kitchen accessories.
      Obviously, it is not impossible that the Italian artists of the 19th century have a family link with the house PAUL MANZONI-AMSTALDEN. But from there to think that this copper pot dates from the end of the 19th century and that it was designed by a sculptor …
      SCHWABENLAND was one of MANZONI’s suppliers (the opposite would be surprising). And as SCHWABENLAND did not appear until after 1895, I will be really very surprised that they were already offering this type of copper pot at the end of the 19th century.

      I invite you to visit the site of S. MANZONI MANINA who is the descendant of the house PAUL MANZONI-AMSTALDEN. His site is very surprising, you will be very surprised! We see the date of 1872 as seniority. http://www.smanzoni.ch/
      Regards, T.J.

  14. Bonjour TJ,
    I really appreciate your understanding and open-minded words. It is probably part of the tragedy of being human that we cannot do without prejudice. It wouldn’t be so bad if we only looked at it as the starting point for a longer process of knowledge. “Pre-judices” are disastrous if they are not questioned or checked in order to reach a new level of knowledge. Even if prejudice may contain a core of truth, it is far from reflecting the whole truth. I prefer the pulp of a cherry or an apricot to the core when enjoying it. There are always political currents and economic interests that use prejudices and exaggerate them to extremes in order to generate aggressive, hostile sentiments. Unfortunately, the greatest cultures around the world could not do without such manipulation. We both know the tragic rivalries not only between our two states, but practically all political entities (from city-states to duchies to empires) in Europe. Unfortunately, the claims to power did not end at the borders of Europe, but were spread over the whole world through colonization.

    Even if we turn back to the arts of the craftsmen who have done great things in all cultures, we cannot overlook the rivalries and competition. Again and again there was politically and economically motivated isolation of the European states in order to protect their own economy or to rebuild it. I could give countless examples. That would be a real business crime with kidnappings and even murders! It will not have been any different with the trade in copper pots. The French bought French goods and Germans bought German. Although Gebr. Schwabenland had branches in other European countries and even sold goods to Dutch colonies, there were no branches in France or Belgium.

    When it comes to pans, there are always unique characteristics of a manufacturer, but also similarities with pans from other regions. It’s hard to tell who invented a feature and who copied from whom. Archaeologists keep finding that certain techniques were invented on different continents without any connection between the continents and cultures being able to be proven. Flashes of inspiration strike everywhere, regardless of human intervention.

    Hey Nick,
    the distinctive reinforcements of some copper pans from Gebr. Schwabenland are actually very similar to the sauté pan that was presented by Chris N. here on VFC. Of course I followed this trail and found something amazing. More on this later.
    Oh well, with the Google Translator I can also handle translations from French if this is permitted by a website or if I can copy the text.

  15. TJ, now you have already published some of my findings in advance. I wanted to write this first in connection with Gebr. Schwabenland, but I have to do it now.

    After I found a 14 cm saucepan in Spain with the same stamp as the sauté pan shown by Chris N., but supplemented by the year 1941, I turned to Sylvia Manzoni, Switzerland. She informed me that my saucepan was made by her grandfather Paul Manzoni. Her father, who probably had the same first name Paul, was born in 1924. The markedly reinforced sauté pan by Chris N. was therefore most likely only manufactured after 1920/30. The name Manzoni is common in both Switzerland and Italy. Of course, very widely distributed family relationships are possible. After all, we have all been related to one another since Adam and Eve. Hence the many family disputes. But the Manzonis referred to here were actually a clan of coppersmiths, originally settled in the canton of Graubünden. As Sylvia Manzoni informed me, there were 6 brothers, all coppersmiths, some of whose sons became coppersmiths again. By the way, an apprenticeship lasted 4 years, i.e. 1 year longer than is usual with us today.

    And one more thing: Manzoni was not a supplier to Gebr. Schwabenland! I know the supplier of these distinctive pans. But guys, PLEASE, let me have the pleasure of telling you this in context in my Schwabenland-Post!

    1. Ah ah ah Martin !!!!!!! I won’t spoil your fun and I won’t say anything more! No problem, take your time, I will remain silent on this subject!

      1. TJ. 🙂
        I like to admit that I’m a little excited. One does not often have the opportunity to introduce a manufacturer from my own homeland that has hitherto been completely unknown to these collectors’ circles.
        By the way, “Schwabenland” is the brothers’ real name. Translated into English “Swabia” and thus the region in Germany in which I live. So a nice coincidence.
        Although I now know a lot about the trading company Gebr. Schwabenland and the supplier of their special pans, there is still enough work for you and all of us to find out more about this manufacturer.

  16. Salut Thierry, et merci !

    I indeed had done the same research and came roughly to the same conclusions as you :-).
    I had also visited the smanzoni.ch site which by the way looks like a testimony to the early days of the Internet. There, the owner claims that all her products are handmade in her own workshop (“Alle unsere Produkte werden in Handarbeit in eigener Werkstätte hergestellt”). You have apparently unearthed additional elements evidencing that this was not the case at the time of the current owner’s father (or forefathers maybe).
    To me, Chris Nathan’s pan looks a lot like the aluminium items on page 14 of the 1956 Gaillard catalog : batterie de cuisine extra-forte fonds renforcés tournés pour fourneaux à plaque chauffante (reinforced turned bottom for electrical stove). Do you think the Schwabenland and Manzoni pans were built the same way and for the same purpose i.e. use on an electrical stove ? If it is the case, they would necessarily be post WWII, wouldn’t they ?

  17. LOL. My previous post refered to TJ’s 3:21 am. There’s been lots of action since !

    Really looking forward to reading your Schwabenland post, Martin !

    1. Hello Nick, if we are in the past, Martin and I would have a big fight to get there first !!!! Ah ah ah this situation is funny but I understood that Martin had a crush on talking about Schwabenland. So I won’t spoil his fun and I won’t say anything more about it.

    2. Nick, we agreed a ceasefire as a precaution, so we were smarter than our ancestors. Merci T.J. !
      But after the article has been published, a witty and constructive “fire” can be opened. I would appreciate any relevant contribution or critical comment.

      1. Martin, here are some wise words! My army of words has returned to the barracks. It will only be released to celebrate the international victory of the copper cooking pots.

        1. Like all of you, I very much look forward to learning about this German maker! Your enthusiasm and commentary makes this site a pleasure for me and a meaningful resource for all readers. As TJ points out, the more knowledge we acquire and share, the greater the victory for all of us. Thank you!

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