“The person passes, the thing remains.”
VFC says: I am delighted to present this project by Martin and Arndt to explore the history of this German coppersmith and showcase examples of its production. They worked together to research the company, and each acquired representative pieces and provided beautiful photos to show their beauty and detail. Please note also that Arndt restored and retinned all the pieces shown.
Arndt and I have been collecting copper pans for years, especially the well-known French, Belgian, and English brands, but also nameless but noteworthy copper. We were surprised that there were hardly any good quality pans to be found from manufacturers in other countries. Arndt (who has a particularly good eye for unusual and still inexpensive copper) and I came across two German manufacturers who were previously unknown to us and who made distinctive products: “Gebr. Schwabenland” and “Vogelsang & Kuhn,” both based in Southwest Germany near the border with France.
Arndt gradually acquired a few pieces.
At first I was a bit skeptical, especially since my collection was already extensive, but then followed with a few purchases of my own.
For a long time we found almost no information on these manufacturers. But finally Arndt phoned the managing director of “Gebr. Schwabenland,” which had somehow survived the times, is now based in Berlin, and offers extensive services for large kitchens. In fact, Arndt received a catalog from the original company from 1922, which is now to be posted at VFC. Then Arndt drew my attention to another catalog from 1927 and publication for the 30th anniversary of the company from 1927, which was offered in antiquarian bookstores. I didn’t hesitate and bought both rarities despite the high prices. But the effort was worth it.
VFC says: Please enjoy the Gebr. Schwabenland 1922 catalog, the 1927 catalog, and 30th anniversary “Festschrift”” courtesy of Martin. These items are also available from the Library.
Founding and early years
At the end of the 18th century, each of the brothers Wilhelm and Karl Schwabenland had their own small shop in Ludwigshafen am Rhein (southwest of Germany). At that time, Wilhelm was running a digestive and spice shop. Karl, originally a cook, gave up his profession for health reasons and founded the company “Karl Schwabenland” in 1896 in Bismarkstraße 83, Ludwigshafen, a shop for cooking equipment, professional linen, and chef’s knives. He benefited from his previous professional experience and good business relationships.
During this founding phase, Wilhelm supported his brother without giving up his own business. This gave Karl the opportunity to go on business trips and visit customers, as was customary at the time to establish and maintain business relationships. Wilhelm kept the books, did the shopping, and shipped the ordered goods. The first few months were tough. In particular, there was a lack of one employee who had good experience in the laundry industry. M. Henniger would be hired for this job in 1897.
Wilhelm Schwabenland recognized the company’s development opportunities with commercial foresight. He sold his own business in order to bring all his strength into the company. On July 1st, 1897, the company “Gebrüder Schwabenland” was founded as a general partnership based in Ludwigshafen / Rhein.
Wilhelm S. managed the company with care and energy, while his brother Karl S. and his employees visited the customers. The business was initially expanded to include waiter’s linen. But a complete range of items that are required for kitchen operations soon followed. For this purpose, relationships with new delivery companies have been established. The 1898 exhibition for cookware in Stuttgart offered a good opportunity for this. The company Gebr. Schwabenland was represented at this exhibition with its own booth for cooking supplies, achieved its first public success, and received an award for its offer. The business relationships that were established during the exhibition formed the basis for the rapid further development of the company. The trade in commodities for large kitchens was started. The range has thus been expanded to include the first machines. New storage options had to be found.
The first catalog
Wilhelm S. had recognized that only with intensive advertising of the products offered could new groups of customers be reached. During half a year of intensive work, with the help of numerous experts and with high financial commitment, a first large catalog was created, which offered an overview of thousands of items for large kitchens. The way the products are presented is similar to the catalogs by Gaillard and Dehillerin. The drawings must be understood as exemplary images, not comparable to the exact photographs of today. Further information was obtained from the representatives or you had to take the trouble to visit the warehouse of the trading house. In later years there were also supplementary brochures for special goods.
The impact of this catalog exceeded all expectations. Sales increased several times over in the first year after the catalog was published. The company developed accordingly. The name “Schwabenland” became a term for quality goods in specialist circles. The business premises had to be enlarged and the staff increased. Since a spatial expansion in Ludwigshafen was not possible, the management decided to relocate the company headquarters to Mannheim, which offered a more favorable location in terms of traffic and significant advantages for the expansion of the company. Buildings Q7, 38 and 45 were acquired in square Q7 (Mannheim had no street names at that time; the city was completely divided into squares).
In July 1901, just four years after the business was founded, the company moved to the new houses that thus became the actual headquarters of the company, especially since these were the first owned buildings.
The management was aware that the name Schwabenland would establish itself even better if its own devices and types for kitchen use were developed and offered. First an improved straining machine followed, then “Schwabenland’s original coffee machine” was brought onto the market as a “revolutionary new product.” The success of this patented invention was resounding. At the time the Festschrift was written, 30,000 of these machines were in operation.
A new invention soon followed, which made specialist circles sit up and take notice: copper dishes in a particularly heavy design, with double bottom, corner protection and reinforced edges, which triggered a true revolution in the field of kitchen technology, but initially also aroused skepticism and hostility, as in the 1927 catalog mentioned. “Today, after the protection period has expired, our design is copied across the board.”
In addition, there was the heavy patent tin-plating, which gave the copper pots a much greater durability. All items that were excluded from the offer have been thoroughly checked for quality and usability beforehand, in accordance with the company’s business principle: “Good products are the best recommendation.”
Update: More information on the reinforcements
When I discovered the pans, I kept puzzling over how the process of deep drawing could produce these reinforcements at the top and bottom. After this post was published I was able to find more information. It is apparent that once the pan bodies were deep drawn, these reinforcements were hard soldered to the top of the rim and the bottom.
I found a number of patents of the company registered primarily in Switzerland but also in Paris. The most important patent: “Cookware with outer protective ring”. This patent, registered as early as 1906, describes and illustrates with a detailed drawing what Schwabenland meant by a double bottom. Apparently, a normal pot was first manufactured to which, in a further manufacturing process, a second layer was attached that encloses the pot in the lower area.
From the 1906 patent, translated from German:
The cookware a is provided with a protective ring c on part b. It is evident that the protective ring c protects part b from being damaged by impact and that, in addition, the part c1 of the protective ring c reaching under the edge of the cookware base a1 prevents the cookware base from chafing when the cookware slides back and forth on the stove. The protective ring c can be replaced by a new one after it has been worn out.
Below on the left is the patent diagram, and on the right an illustration from the 1922 catalog.
Since this method of production was possible from 1906, I assume that the corresponding pans were still hammered by hand. This type of “extra heavy duty” pans were still offered in the 1922 catalog (page 4).
Below is a photo from the 1922 catalog showing a Gebr Schwabenland metal press. The caption reads, “With this drawing press we make our special copper dishes. The pressure from the press is about 400,000-500,000 kilograms [440-550 US tons], which means that only the very finest quality raw material is used.”
Update: “Patent tin plating”
Patent No. 13,776 filed in 1906 in England provides more detail on the “heavy patent tin plating.”
The protective permanent tin coating serving to protect the inside of the vessel is preferably formed by tinning it in the usual manner after cleaning the surface with acid. By a subsequent heating of the vessel to a moderate heat with simultaneous rubbing of the tin coating with a wet rag or the like, the tin coating is so hardened that it is possible to deposit a second tin coating upon it. The heating and tinning are then repeated several times until there is fixed upon the inside of the vessel a lining if tin of a very great resisting power and so thick that the breaking off of particles is practically impossible.
Early success and growth
Once again, the business premises had to be expanded and increased. A neighboring property Q7, 37 was acquired and behind Q7, 46. New storage and dispatch rooms were built. The workforce had to be increased again. Above all, they ensured a professionally well-trained staff of representatives who were supported by targeted advertising. Some managerial staff had to be recruited.
In order to relieve the head office, branch offices were established. The first agency was set up in Berlin as early as 1901, from which the Berlin branch emerged in 1902 under the direction of Karl Schwabenland and Ernst Euler. While sales were limited to Germany up to now, a brisk export has now started from Berlin.
In 1903, the Zurich branch was founded in neighboring Switzerland (dissolved in 1922). A few years later they turned their gaze to Italy, where another branch was opened in Genoa in 1907. In the midst of a hopeful upswing, WW I led to the abandonment of the Genoa branch, which was confiscated in 1914 after seven years of existence. Only a fraction of the lost values were subsequently reimbursed through the war compensation scheme.
“But the tree had taken deep roots and new branches were always sprouting.” In 1908, a model warehouse was set up in Cologne, previously only one representative office, and it was expanded as an independent branch in the same year. As you can see on the letterhead of an invoice, “Gebr. Schwabenland” was decorated with numerous awards as early as 1911 and was purveyor to the court of His Royal Highness Grand Duke of Baden, His Royal Highness Grand Duke of Hesse and the King of Romania.
In 1912 the decision matured to win new groups of customers in Vienna, the capital of the then Danube Monarchy. After initial difficulties, Heinrich Scherer took over the management in Vienna together with Wilhelm Schwabenland Jr., the oldest son of the company founder Wilhelm Schwabenland. But the war and post-war conditions also had a destructive effect in Vienna and led to the closure of the branch in 1921.
In 1913, a model warehouse was set up in Frankfurt / Main in building Oderweg 12. During the war years, the Frankfurt representation was fortunate enough to be able to compensate for the loss of hotels with deliveries to the army. Organizationally, the Frankfurt warehouse was assigned to the Mannheim headquarters. Even if the war demanded the closure of two branches (Genoa and Vienna) with a corresponding loss, the management did not lose heart and looked for a balance through the establishment of new branches in Hamburg 1921 and 1922 Amsterdam. The war years not only brought great losses, but also opened up new customer groups through the various army catering facilities, military hospitals, etc. A new sales area that enabled the company to gain further experience. During this time, the sale of extra-heavy aluminum dishes began, which were particularly popular in hospitals and similar institutions.
The eventful years after the war could no longer satisfy the wishes of Wilhelm Schwabenland. senior, who had to run the company on his own after the death of his brother Karl in 1912. Wilhelm S. longed for a well-deserved retirement. As a result, the originally open trading company was converted into a limited partnership in 1920. Wilhelm Schwabenland jun. (junior) was transferred to the management together with the engineer Otto Volker-Schwabenland (son-in-law of the senior).
In 1922 the company was converted into a stock corporation, which had been founded purely as a private company. From then on, the “Gebr. Schwabenland A.-G.” with great zeal to adapt the internal organization to the new time and economic conditions. The branches were granted greater powers so that they were largely able to work independently. In order to better serve the Bavarian sales area, a model warehouse was also set up in Munich, Promenadenplatz 21. In the same way, a representation in Rome was created for Italy.
New products were constantly being released. It was recognized that the “engine as worker” for the kitchen was in for a major development. So it was decided to set up special production workshops for machine tables etc. in the headquarters, as well as in Cologne and Zurich. Original types and models were created, which were introduced very quickly. Hundreds of such tables were already working in various large kitchens in 1927. Well-trained people are now working in the company. For many years, customers, provided they were not afraid to travel, were able to inspect the goods in the warehouses, but only in recent years have they been set up as sales rooms.
In the closing words of the 1927 anniversary publication, “Gebr. Schwabenland A.-G.” not only regarded as a leader in Germany, but also across Europe in its industry. Mr. Karl Schwabenland chose a small town near Heidelberg in the Neckar Valley as his retirement home. The company is likely to have dominated the market for its products in Germany until around 1930, but was also established in Switzerland, the Netherlands (including colonies), Scandinavia, Austria, Italy and even Russia.
October 24th, 1929 was “Black Thursday” on the New York Stock Exchange, the beginning of the World Economic Crisis and Banking Crash. The Great Depression began and hit the flourishing German economy to the floor. In the country, first unemployment spreads and the despair. Within a few years, the living situation of people and the political mood in the country change fundamentally. Industrial production is collapsing. Small and medium-sized enterprises have to file for bankruptcy. Unemployment is rising rapidly. German industrial production falls up to 40%, real income falls by 30%, poverty is skyrocketing (Source: www.100.bmwi.de).
In 1934 came the closure of “Gebrüder Schwabenland A.-G.”, large kitchen & pastry shops, Mannheim. Termination and dismissal of staff. (Source: General State Archives Karlsruhe)
“In special design, drawn from one piece, finely polished, extra heavy, double bottom, corner and edge reinforcement; inside finely tinned with Schwabenland’s permanent tinning.”
Here is the unrestored saucepan. It has been used for cooking, but as you can see the sturdy construction has held up. There are no serious dents or dings around the rim or the base.
Arndt performed a beautiful restoration. Note in particular the smooth tinning.
The most notable element of Schwabenland pieces is the thick band around the rim and base. This is Arndt’s saucepan that he restored and retinned.
This graphic from the 1922 catalog (provided by Arndt) of the cross-section of the pans should be self-explanatory.
The bottom of a Schwabenland pot (on the left in the diagram) is referred to as “double strength”. I find the term “Gelenk” (literally: hinge, nowadays it would be called a bend or corner) interesting for the transition from the side wall to the floor. It is referred to as a weak point and a possible break point in conventional pots (on the right in the diagram) that were joined with seams around the base in the French and Belgian style.
Since only round pans up to a certain size could be deep-drawn from a single piece of copper, a different manufacturing technique was used for the angular and oval roasting trays (rotissoirs, braisières, turbotières, poissonières) and the large marmites. The reinforced base extended a few centimeters above the corner and was cold-welded to the sidewall. This method did not reduce the material thickness of the bend.
Furthermore, “Gebr. Schwabenland” was of the opinion that horizontal cast iron handles are ergonomically more advantageous than curved ones. However, customers could choose which handles the pans should be delivered with. The heart shaped handle plate (“Herzform”) was chosen to provide better support and thus more stability over the straight shape (“Gerada Form”).
Below are two of Arndt’s pans, showing the heart-shaped handle plate and the horizontal cast iron handle.
In summary, the benefits of Schwabenland copper pots were advertised as follows:
- No breaking of the corner!
- No bulging of the bottom of the pot, no dirty corners!
- No bending or tearing of the edge!
- No change in shape, therefore the lid always fits!
- No more premature repairs!
- Hygienically absolutely perfect and offering the greatest guarantee!
Particularly emphasized was the permanent tinning from pure English tin: “Schwabenland’s permanent tinning”.
In addition, the use of French terms stands out in both Schwabenland catalogs. Presumably an indication that the goods were also sold in French-speaking countries. For me as a German, some German terms are also interesting because they are no longer common today. The extensive range not only included tinned copper but also pans lined with silver. Like the French manufacturers, a distinction was made between different material qualities: extra heavy and normal, as well as pans for cooking and those for serving at the table.
There are seven known Schwabenland stamps. It is not yet known what order they appeared.
The 1922 catalog was so extensive that I wondered who might have made the multitude of different items. “Gebr. Schwabenland” was registered as a trading company, which at least outlined the focus of business activity, without excluding the possibility of in-house production of individual products. But who were the suppliers? There were no references to this either in the 1922 catalog or in the commemorative publication for the company’s 30th anniversary in 1927. One almost got the impression that suppliers were a trade secret.
However, Arndt and I found copper pans that resembled the distinctive heavy pans from “Gebr. Schwabenland” down to the last detail. They bear the stamp “Vogelsang & Kuhn, Karlsruhe”. So it was at least conceivable, if not obvious, to accept this company as the actual manufacturer of the copper pans and as a supplier for “Gebr. Schwabenland”.
Only after I was able to acquire the antiquarian catalog 1927 was there evidence of this assumption. There these distinctive pots are listed on the first pages of the extensive catalog under “J.V.K. Kupfergeschirre” (“J.V.K. copper pans and dishes”). Although the “J.” confused me briefly to bring the following two letters in connection with Vogelsang & Kuhn, we are convinced that Vogelsang & Kuhn were making these extraordinary pans for “Gebr. Schwabenland”, even if the riddle of the first letter has not yet been solved.
Vogelsang & Kuhn
Now comes a section whose facts make me both unspeakably sad and angry. But this truth is also part of the history of Germany for which we, who were born after the war, also have to take responsibility. For this reason, too, it was important to me that the story of Gebr. Schwabenland, and thus the story of its supplier Vogelsang & Kuhn, should be told by a German.
We were able to locate Albert Kuhn, born 1880. He was both a merchant and a Jew, like his father. Kuhn lived in Belgium for six months, spoke French, and spent three years in Russia on business trips. He wasn’t in the military. Albert Kuhn was a co-owner of the Vogelsang & Kuhn company, Rüppurrer Strasse 36, later Kaiserallee 25. The company supplied large kitchen equipment for hotels. At last he was a traveling salesman until he was deprived of any opportunity to earn a living due to the “Aryanization” (persecution of Jews). On October 22, 1940, Albert Kuhn was deported to Gurs with his wife Hilda and his two sons. He was later transferred to the Le Vernet camp in the Pyrenees, where he died on June 5, 1941 — separated from his wife and sons — at the age of almost 61. (Quoted after Helga Weinert-Kuhn, November 2006.)
As is so often the case, the solution of a mystery is followed by other myteries. Is there more information about Vogelsang & Kuhn? Who invented the striking design with the reinforcements, who were the imitators?
VFC says: My heartfelt thanks to Martin and Arndt for bringing the history of this German coppersmith to the site! I have seen this distinctive banded appearance before and now I understand the eminently practical purpose for it. I am guilty of romanticizing 19th century techniques as the most direct expression of human talent to engineer useful and beautiful copper, but this post opens my eyes to the ongoing industrial creativity in the era of mechanization. This tells me that even as the 20th century copper cookware industry moved away from time-consuming (and imperfect) hand-craftsmanship to concentrate on deep-drawing and spinning, individual innovators did not settle for producing identical smooth-walled pieces but looked for ways to differentiate their products and offer greater value to the consumer.
And I am struck by the poignance of the marginalization and cruel loss of Albert Kuhn. Studying copper, for me, provides a sort of refracted view of the people who designed and made them. The relics we have today from the European coppersmiths have survived war and time as their makers have not. As Gebr. Schwabenland’s motto puts it, Eripitur persona manet res: “The person passes, the thing remains.”
For Reference: Branches of Gebr. Schwabenland
Although the brothers were not Prussians (they even bore the name of the southern German province of Swabia, “Schwabenland”) and the Mannheim office bordered close to France, the history of their company was documented quite precisely.
Karl Schwabenland, branch manager. After his death in 1911, Mr. Euler was appointed authorized signatory. Great competition in the imperial capital. Focus on all of Northern Germany and export, especially to Russia, but also Scandinavia. Training of a technically trained staff of representatives. Multiple moves due to the growth of the branch. Deep business cuts during WWI, which could only be partially compensated by army deliveries.
Switzerland, with a large number of hotels and sanatoriums, was of particular business interest. Therefore, the first foreign branch was opened in Zurich in 1903. Management by Mr. Henninger. Multiple expansion of the business premises with relocations. After the war, the branch was converted into an independent Swiss public limited company. “Schwabenland & Co. A.-G.” only employed Swiss nationals. To relieve Mr. Henninger, the founder’s youngest son, Hans Schwabenland, who previously lived in South America, was appointed to the management in 1927.
Opening of a warehouse to supply the north-west and west of Germany, which was also available to customers as a showroom. In the further course of the business, goods could also be bought directly there for the first time. The growth of the company led to the acquisition of several buildings. All machines could be demonstrated to interested parties in the permanent exhibition rooms. The expansion of the customer base to include institutions and monasteries is seen as a particular merit of this branch. After the war and after his return from English captivity, Wilhelm Schwabenland jr., executive manager. The branch was expanded to include its own production facilities and assembly rooms.
Hamburg served as compensation for the loss of the Vienna branch. The important maritime trading center was primarily used for exporting and developing new customer groups along the coast of the North Sea.
The Netherlands, with its numerous seaside resorts and large colonial possessions, has long been a good sales area for the “Gebr. Schwabenland”. The branch founded in 1922 should also compensate for the loss of the branch in Italy. For business reasons the branch was established as a Dutch company under the name “N.N. Trade Association of the Gebrüder Schwabenland”.
Excellent read! The details and photographs show how these innovative pans differed from the status quo, leading to a wave of evolutionary change in copper pans. More please!!
I have come across a few Gebrüder Schwabenland pans all with the thick upper rim. I have found these pans are extremely robust and wonderful to look at, I have only ever sourced them from closed down restaurants, so I feel they were bought for their robustness, their construction is formidable. I agree some highly engineered pans can also have a beauty that is enchanting as much as a hand raised pan. The advertising shows that there were problems, perceived or otherwise (!) with the ‘normal’ working pans of the day and they sought to highlight and solve the problem! Great article, yet again VFC especially highlighting the human element, very moving, such poignant history revealed by the authors, beautifully published VFC.. “The person passes, the thing remains.” indeed.
The research and writing is all Martin and Arndt! They did a marvelous job of bringing this maker to light — both the craftsmanship of the work and the humanity of the founders and the company. I am so grateful and honored to host this post here.
Thank you Martin and Arndt for this wonderful article on German made copper pans. So Schwabenland-stamped pans are similar to such French copper pans that are stamped Blaser, Mora & Cie and Chomette Favor in that they were merchants for the pans rather than Manufacturers? Do you believe that Vogelsang & Kuhn were the actual manufacturers or did they in turn source their pans from another maker?
Stephen, I hope my report made it clear where we could rely on facts and where we had to rely on conjecture. As is so often the case in this field, conjecture predominates. It would be great if the article could be supplemented by insights from readers.
I own several pans from the French stores you mentioned, but none are equipped with rim and base reinforcements like the “J.F.K. copperware” has. The handles are also completely different. The first time I noticed these distinctive reinforcements was on a sauté pan from Paul Manzoni (Switzerland). I have already commented on this elsewhere. (By the way, in the meantime I know from the (grand-) daughter Sylvia Manzoni that there were two Paul Manzoni, father and son, who both had the same first name.)
“Schwabenland” was registered as a trading company, but also produced some goods themselves, as can be seen from both the catalogs and the Festschrift. For example, in the 1927 catalog, the company emphasizes the independent, formerly legally protected design of “J.F.K. Kupfergeschirre” and the years of production experience with this “special design” of extra-heavy pans. I will try to translate the relevant passage at the bottom of page 6 of the catalog as accurately as possible: “Many years ago, when we first launched our copper cookware with double bottom, joint protection and rim reinforcement, these innovations were fiercely opposed by many. Today, after the expiration of the protection period, this design of ours is being imitated across the board. Despite all this, the original Schwabenland J.V.K. copper dishes are still unsurpassed today due to our years of production experience.”
In the “Suppliers” section, we assume that the trading company must have had numerous suppliers as well. But we could not find out anything for sure about this. We had only noticed the similarity in design of some Vogelsang & Kuhn pans (I have photos of other examples, but could not publish them), so we suspected V&K as one of the suppliers. But we did not find any further evidence.
It can be stated with certainty that many kitchen machines and in particular the “kitchen-machine table systems” were also manufactured by Schwabenland itself. An identical reference to the J.V.K. copper pans can be found on page 43 of the 1927 catalog, at this point referring to the “extra-strong” quality of the aluminum pans.
Schwabenland’s range not only included a wide variety of materials and material combinations (copper, aluminum, cast iron, wrought iron, steel enamel, steel, etc.) often in different combinations and qualities depending on whether the items were intended for households or restaurants. Not only copper could be tinned, but also sheet steel and even wrought iron. Copper could also be lined with nickel or silver. If you study the catalog carefully, you will always find pans with reinforced bottoms and / or rims, especially in the angular shapes.
Please note that Schwabenland produced not only deep-drawn pans. The 1922 catalog also offers pans that were HAMMERED BY HAND from copper sheets. These are also made “extra heavy” with reinforced bottom and joint.
Schwabenland emphasizes that all the pans with reinforcements were nevertheless hardly heavier than the pans of the competition, because the reinforcements were placed only in the important places.
NKC: Thank you. You obviously studied the detailed explanations in the 1922 catalog very carefully and were able to read the German text. I was quite surprised that pans are supposed to have broken relatively often at that time. On the other hand, if you’ve ever seen the hustle and bustle in some commercial kitchens, it’s less surprising. Wasn’t it Auguste Escoffier who drove the noisy and rough handling out of the kitchens and completely reorganized the work there?
Yes Martin, I have seen some amazing wear on some pans, some of which were essentially irréparable. Having said that, in this era, a lot of pans were less than 2mm in thickness and were part of enormous batterie de cuisines that took a ‘real pasting’ in hotel kitchens. So it is less surprising, I suppose that Gebrüder Schwabenland have identified a common problem of longeivity in a pressurized commercial setting and solved it beautifully. Auguste Escoffier, the King of Cooks and the Cook of Kings, he also apparently outlawed shouting, drinking and smoking amongst his Kitchen brigade too. Brave man!
UPDATE: MORE INFORMATION ON THE REINFORCEMENTS.
Sometimes a report like this becomes a never-ending story. You think you have reached a certain level of knowledge, but some unanswered questions do not let you rest. So you keep on researching. And suddenly new doors open, at first only a crack wide, so that you can only guess at the new tracks, but then you can follow them. Suddenly, you are standing in the patent offices of Zürich and Paris and you have the luck to find a clear indication of a special production method. I had to report this find immediately to VFC, which just as quickly incorporated these new findings into the Schwabenland project. The designation “project” really hits the spot! Because also this state of knowledge will not remain the last.
I am not surprised that this and other patents I have found were granted on the initiative of the Zurich branch. First of all, the Swiss are formidable businessmen, and secondly, as a neutral and wise little country, Switzerland was spared the wars. Thus, the historical documents were also preserved. The situation was completely different in other European countries. These countries were devastated in large parts during the two world wars, especially the large cities where the authorities were located. Of course, the loss of human life weighed much more heavily, but the material loss was also tragic. This also meant that a lot of knowledge was lost. Paris, on the other hand, was fortunately spared large areas of destruction. Therefore, there is hope that similar documents and patent specifications of Gaillard, Dehillerin and Co. can be found in the archives there.
During my recent research, I also found a complete copy of the 1922 anniversary edition of the catalog. It is 327 pages long! If I can acquire it, I will make it available to the VFC library (whole or in excerpts).
Martin, it’s a pleasure to have your work on the site, and an honor to help preserve this information for others. Thank you.
THICKNESS OF THE REINFORCEMENTS on the edge and bottom of the JVK pans: To figure these out, I measured my small saucepan, which you can see in several photos, again accurately.
Weight 2.05 kg
height 11 cm
Outer diameter 16.8 – 17 cm
Inner diameter 16.2 – 16.4 cm
This gives a thickness of 3 mm at the rim, which I was also able to determine with a measuring device, as recommended by VFC. Fortunately, this gauge also allows the thickness to be measured slightly below the 1.8 cm wide ring. Here the copper is only 2.2 mm thick. This means that the actual body of the saucepan was made of 2.2 mm material and the reinforcing rings have a thickness of 0.8 mm. Measuring the thickness of the bottom using a ruler placed transversely and another ruler inserted vertically confirmed a thickness of 3 mm.
Conclusion: The company saved material, weight and cost by reducing the thickness in the wide central area and still achieved very good strength and stability in the most stressed areas, namely the rim and bottom. I think that’s pretty smart. Keep in mind that the JVK pans were made immediately after WWI. Necessity is the mother of invention, as we all know.
Another great read and more beautiful pans. I have one of these which has no maker stamp and it has the diameter stamped in inches. I have assumed it was produced for the English market. It was quite common not to be transparent about the origin of German products in Britain until EU regulations made it mandatory.
Roger, there is an update: “Patent tin plating”.
Until now, I assumed that the tin was wiped out with a dry rag. The patent now describes a rubbing (i.e. with some force) of the tin with a wet rag.This method would allow the application of several thin layers of tin. Do you have your own experience with this? Thanks.
No Martin, though I have some vague memory of reading about layering tin. I don’t understand how it would bond without getting hot enough to melt the previous layer. The V & K pan I have had been scoured to bare copper without a trace of tin remaining.
I am very pleased that the contribution to Schwabenland-Kupfer was well received by this knowledgeable community. Especially for Martin, who had a lot of work with his great and extensive research. I think it was worth it.
I’m happy to be able to support Martin a little (but hardly worth mentioning) and it was an honor for me.
I learned a lot from this post and from many others and I feel good to be part of this small community of people who share my slightly crazy passion. At this point we should not forget who makes this wonderful and truly unique platform available to us.Thanks a lot for this!
May a nice and heavy pot of soup simmer on the stove when we are expecting guests.
MINOR SETBACK of the project:
When I came across the patents, I guess I got a little euphoric. I thought the reinforcement ring (patented 1906) was a precursor to the design of the JVK pans. In some ways it may have been, but to a much more modest degree than I had assumed. In the meantime, I see this reinforcement ring as a perfectly reasonable accessory to compensate for the wear and tear of the pans during professional use. For this, the ring only had to be slid over the bottom of the pan. It was certainly made so precisely that it clamped all by itself. It could be removed or replaced just as easily. This invention could also come from a thrifty Scotsman 😉
But how the deep-drawn JVK pans got their reinforcing rings remains a mystery to me.
Are you certain that they are deep drawn, if they were spun then producing the bands would be no more difficult than forming walls of tapering thickness. To deep draw the outer mold would have be in at least two parts in order to release the pan. This is not impossible, Turkish coffee pans are spun on a former which is then dismantled because the waist of the finished pot would otherwise prevent its removal.
Thanks Roger for your help. VFC had already suggested a few days ago that the pans may have been spun. In the catalogs you can read several times “drawn from one piece”. Normally I understand this designation as “deep drawing”. Now I realize that I have misinterpreted these passages. Once you understand a fact, it suddenly seems very simple. VFC and Roger have solved the mystery! Thank you. The JVK PANS WERE SPUN “with very expensive machinery”.
Shaping, drawing or spinning a pan using a lathe often leaves marks in the form of fine grooves or waves. Examples of this were last seen in the post by VFC – 15cm Van Neuss saucepan, “Leopold”. Since I can’t see any such marks on my Schwabenland JVK pans, this initially kept me from supporting the “spinning hypothesis”. Then later I remembered examples that had none of these telltale characteristics. For example, my Mauviel potato steamer with its bulbous lower part was certainly formed on a lathe, but the entire body is immaculately smooth. Either there were, and are, different techniques, or some pans received a finish that removed all traces.
I have come to believe that hammering on modern pans is only there because it is the easiest way to conceal surface imperfections. Tooling marks are often visible between strikes. Polishing to a flawless mirror finish must be a far more time consuming and labour intensive.
Martin and Ardnt thank you for your research and contribution to both the history of these copper pots and pans and German history! It’s AMAZING how these artifacts that we own and still use today contributed to shaping the past, and well researched work like this brings it all together. Your research is magnificent and your writing is eloquent. This piece, overall, is amazing!
I’m excited about it too because I studied history through grad school and spent some time in Germany (mostly in Frankfurt and the surrounding area), so while reading, with context about some location and the historical eras you talked about, I tried to visualize your research and put pieces together in my mind, if that makes sense. I’m excited about this piece it’s great reading and scholarship!!
Roger, I doubt it. In principle, it has been possible for decades to achieve perfect results in both deep drawing and metal spinning. The best known example might be Mauviel’s series, which include completely hand-hammered, spinning and mostly deep-drawn items. The deep drawing process is the same for laminated copper as it is for uncoated copper plates. Accordingly, there are no differences in the results of the M’tradition and M’heritage series. So, I see no general reason to hide any defects by additional subsequent hammering. Moreover, in my opinion, the effort required even for largely machine hammering, which has been common for a long time, is significantly greater than machine polishing. It may even be enough to reheat the copper after pressing (see video below) to smooth the metal. On a 16 cm sauce pan from Mauviel, about 600 hammer blows are visible. The supplementary hammering also brings additional stability to modern deep-drawn pans and not only ensures a traditional appearance. It should be obvious that a “honeycomb” structure is more stable than a flat one. However, this added stability is likely to be most important for larger pans and stockpots. Laminated copper as a starting material may be slightly more expensive, but the additional labor required for hammering and fire tinning by hand should actually compensate for the slightly lower material price. Nevertheless, the items of the M’tradition series are cheaper than the laminated products.
As far as I know, there is only one manufacturer left in Germany that makes exquisite copper pots in small batches. The craftsmen there work with a spinning lathe that is about 60 years old. The results are perfectly smooth. Not a single item is additionally hammered.
Off the top of my head, however, I can’t think of an example of a manufacturer whose spun copper pans are subsequently hammered as standard. If complex shapes have a hammer pattern, they were shaped from scratch by hand.
Amy, thank you so much for your kind feedback. What a surprise that you studied history and lived in Germany for a while! Although I’ve always been interested in history, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve become more involved with it again. Quite often copper pans gave me reason to look into the complete cultural and political background of their manufacturing period. That is totally exciting. But unfortunately I have difficulties to remember the numerous details I have acquired permanently. So I just learn again and have fun several times 🙂 However, there were also hours where the research on Vogelsang & Kuhn was painful for me.
Mr. Weyersberg promptly answered a question about the grooves that can occur when pressing. The repeated annealing of the raw copper pan, which I observed, serves solely to relax the material. However, this is rarely necessary if the copper has become sluggish due to the spinning. The decisive factors are the speed of rotation of the spinning bench and the choice of spinning roller. Provided that the craftsmen are experienced and careful, grooving can be avoided. As the Schwabenland and Vogelsang & Kuhn pans prove, this skill was already available 100 years ago.
UPDATE: SCHWABENLAND DRAWING PRESS (or you never stop learning)
Only a few days ago I assumed that the mystery of the production of the “extra heavy special design copper tableware” was solved. Still now I received the extremely extensive Schwabenland catalog 1922, which was created for the 25th anniversary of the company. One of the first pages of the catalog shows a photograph of the Schwabenland drawing press used to produce these special copper pans. Caption: “The pressure of the press corresponds to about 400-500 000 kg, which requires the use of only the very best raw material.” I estimate the height with at least 5 m. Now there is no doubt about the production. To my knowledge, this photo is the first evidence of the beginning of the era of intensive machine production of copper pans. At the same time, the 1922 catalog proves that handicraft production of high-quality pans continued in parallel. An update of the post with the photo of the press will follow.
Interestingly, this “special version” is no longer referred to as “J.V.K. copper tableware” in the anniversary catalog now available. But all the illustrations are identical to the other edition of the 1922 catalog, whose illustrations have already been published here on VFC by Arndt.
On more than 330 pages, the catalog covers everything imaginable on the subject of restaurant and hotel supplies, from the smallest tool to a variety of machines to the complete planning and furnishing of a large kitchen. The comprehensive range of products proves that Gebr. Schwabenland was probably the market leader at that time, at least in Germany, if not throughout Europe. Exports overseas are also mentioned.
I don’t think it makes sense to scan the entire catalog and make it available to the VFC library. I may hit on a small selection of items that might be of interest to collectors of copper pans.
It is interesting to compare the copper produced by different countries, so far French, German, English, Spanish, Polish and Turkish. I think the only probable American example is the mystery J&M saute. Someone must have an interesting American pan to showcase, we just don’t see them this side of the pond. Maybe also an Italian pan, I have seen a few for sale but never handled one.
I have a large Matter Windsor and in places the hammer blows don’t quite meet and you can see tooling marks in the gaps. I also have a pan like your Paddington only slightly smaller, the hammering is so haphazard that there are lots of misses with marks between.
Roger and the VFC Community, At the risk of being heretical in front of august copper scholars, would the early beginnings of Belgian Falk be of interest in the comparative study of copper cookware evolution? Surely they are ‘derived’ from a previous lineage, or at least modified from a linage along the way via a rogue student. I acquired a ‘vintage’ set of Falk pieces that I use every day, with occasional use of my tinned copper pans. The set includes some cookware pieces that I never seen on the web in any verbal or photographic form (e.g., chaffing dish with heat source and tiny pan, a 16cm flat bottomed windsor, a 20cm saucier). I’ve read (and watched) what Falk has made available on-line and search other areas of the web, but I’ve not been able to find a decent historical evolution of their cookware and their “species” that went extinct. Perhaps the information is out there, and someone of the VCF community could point me in the right direction. Thanks for your time. Cheers.
Hi Phil! I would love to know more about Falk, no heresy required. My experience with Belgian historical records is limited — I don’t speak German or Dutch — but I have had some success with the Brussels archives, available here: https://archief.brussel.be/almanach
I hope this might serve as a starting point for tracking the company over time. If you are able to develop a history of the company I’d be honored to feature it on the site!
I also find the presentation of pans of different countries interesting. I am proud to have a small international group as guests in my kitchen. After the J&M saute, by the way, I have long researched, unfortunately without success. The list, at least briefly shown pans on VFC is a little longer: Bourgeat and Vanneuss/Pommier pans are Belgians, Duparquet from the U.S., Fauser & Son were made in Austria and not to forget the Manzoni sauté pan from Switzerland. Italy was represented by Mazzetti.
I know of other manufacturers that have not yet been featured, such as Swiss artisans near the French border. Anyway, the border regions between different Central European countries are interesting, because there is an overlapping culture and sometimes a common language. There are also close cultural ties between your island and the northern French regions of Normandy and Brittany, as you know.
Although FALK has been selling only stainless steel laminated pans for many years, the company still offers a tinning service for older pans. The French platform Leboncoin.fr currently offers a set of pans excellently restored by FALK. FALK was a leader in the development of copper-stainless steel laminates.
An error crept into my last comment: BOURGEAT is a French manufacturer (now united with its competitor to Matfer-Bourgeat). Since I had bought my Bourgeat pans partly in Belgium, I always get it mixed up.
It says on VFC that Bourgeat has outsourced the manufacture of copper pans to Mauviel since 2002. About 4 years ago I bought two Bourgeat lids.Surprisingly, these lids are heavier and overall make a better impression than any laminated lids made by Mauviel since 2000 and also better than lids made by Bourgeat before 2000.
The Schwabenland DRAWING PRESS used for the production of the “special copper pans” has now been added to the post. Unfortunately, I can’t report anything more detailed about the manufacturing process. The reinforcing rings are still a mystery. My ideas on this are too vague.
I am surprised to stumble upon this article! I thought someone would notify me of its broadcast. This deserves a punishment! No chocolates or sweets for at least …. 1 hour!
Well, apart from that, a big thumbs up for this superb research work! Very interesting !
Concerning the pots with reinforced bottom, we all know the “added” bases, clearly visible especially since they are always fixed by a strong solder (yellow color). Although I have seen models where the solder is almost invisible.
But with the SCHWABENLAND pots types, I don’t think we are with added parts.
The great way to cover up one type of crafting is to fool another! This is a good trick to deceive the competition.
Before knowing the type of SCHWABENLAND pots (which I discovered in 2016), I had already virtually known this type of manufacture since the beginning of the 2010s, without having ever seen one. Very easy to imagine by a French patent from the 1860s. Be careful, this was not the only way to do it, there were others. So the pot was first stamped by a hydraulic press. But, for this patent, the stamping did not correspond to what we can see today in YouTube videos when Mauviel and others stamp the pots in one go. No, with this patent, it’s different. You have to imagine that if today Mauviel stamps a pot 20cm in diameter, it will come out of the machine with a height of, I imagine, 11 or 12cm. And will then be deburred at the top edge. In the case of the patent I’m talking about, the pot is stamped and comes out with a small rim. I do not have the precise data but imagine a rim (which means the sides) of 7cm for example. Imagine it is a pot 20cm in diameter and we want to make a saucepan. After stamping, in a very thick sheet, the pot is annealed to place it on a lathe. The patent clearly explains that rollers press the pot on both sides. It is thus possible to increase the height of the pot in the middle of the height without affecting the thickness of the bottom or the thickness of the upper rim. And our imagination lets us glimpse a pot in the shape of SCHWABENLAND. The first pots of this shape that I actually saw physically were pots from the LIEGE brand which had an extraordinary range of copper pots.
I don’t think that, contrary to what is said, that there have been many copies of SCHWABENLAND pots. Because despite everything, it remains a way of doing that they are, I think, the only ones to have really developed on a large scale.
Regarding their tinning patent, it is strange. As luck would have it, I myself discovered something quite astonishing during my tinning. This usually happens on relatively thin copper pots. Let me explain, if, by bad luck or inattention, the pot is overheated during tinning, what is called the calcination of tin happens. Pewter turns dull gray, very hard, and almost impossible to melt. Above all, do not insist, neither with ammonium powder nor with a flux nor with anything, even an excessively strong and long-lasting flame will not be able to make your pewter liquid again. As long as the pot is hot, any attempt to achieve a good tinning with this calcined pewter is useless. You have to start all the work again.
If the use of a damp cloth is used, this will have the effect not only of cooling the tin abnormally (when I say abnormally it is in the sense of not obtaining a nice tinning, which can be a will of the manufacturer) but also the virtual impossibility of tinning by hand. I have used many types of protective gloves for tinning, all of them burn quickly, even those reserved for hot weather. This under normal working conditions. So the conduction of heat through a damp cloth is just unbearable. The heat spreads so quickly that even the best gloves will struggle to protect you. From there, you have to imagine that between the hand and the rag, there is an intermediary. Like a wooden stick, a metal rod, a pliers …
This patent, describes for me, a succession of rather fine tin calcinations finished by a classic final tinning. But I have never tried tinning on a charred tinplate, I have always started work again. However, the idea seems interesting!
Finally, I will add a few elements:
In 1905, following the grand diploma of honor for a coffee filter, Schwabenland’s sole representative was Mr. Engel, 66 rue faubourg poissonnière in Paris. This diploma makes it possible to greatly increase orders.
In 1907 Mr. Baumann 18 boulevard de Magenta represented Schwabenland for a 15-year patent for a kitchen pots with internal and external reinforcement.
In 1914, Schwabenland brothers for coffee filters, 66 faubourg poissonnière.
In 1933, Schwabenland asked to represent French culinary products in Amsterdam, I don’t know if they found partners.
In 1944, Schwabenland was on an impressive list comprising a multitude of countries such as Germany, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Morocco, etc … which indicates that it is forbidden to have relations with persons or companies of this list.
Schwabenland participated, in its own way and quite logically for a German society, in the German war effort.
I would say that the Schwabenland house(s) have not had an easy life and the development of its business has met, almost all the time and everywhere, hostility vis-à-vis Germany in very complicated periods in history. But this is another topic. Anyway, one thing is certain, the quality of the products was a top priority for them. Fearsome businessmen and astute business strategists across Europe. So if you own any copper pots from this house, use them! Don’t collect them just for the sake of owning them. Treat yourself, your family, your friends! Because otherwise, what would all the efforts of our elders have been used for?
Once again, bravo to Martin and Arndt for their work!
To all Copper Lovers! Regards, T.J.
Bonjour T.J., your comment is as always an enrichment of knowledge about copper pans and their manufacturers. I thank you for your ideas and additions to the manufacturing process.
I think we must first consider that there were two different types of reinforcements for the Schwabenland pans. First, there was the 1906 patent, which only shows a reinforcing ring that could be added and also replaced with a new ring when it wore out. You have to look very closely at the figures to see that it was only a ring that enclosed the lower area of the transition from the side wall to the bottom of a pan, and did not reinforce the entire bottom. I’m still not sure if this ring actually had to be soldered on, or if it was enough to clamp it over the bottom of the pan. I usually prefer simple solutions.
The other, much better reinforcement can be seen in several illustrations from the catalog and on the photos of our pans. This reinforcement involves the entire bottom, the bottom edge or rounding (“Gelenk”), and the area of the top rim of the pans. In this regard, I find the French patent you mentioned and your supplementary description very interesting. It was clear to me that pressing could not be done as we know it from today’s deep drawing. At first I thought quite naively that a copper disk was pressed into a negative mold, which should correspond to the later pan with its “rings”. But this could not work. There had to be a second stage of production. Arndt and I also thought of a post-treatment of the pressed pan body on a lathe. However, in the way one turns wood with it. So we assumed it was conceivable to remove 1 mm of the copper in the middle area of the side wall. The copper chips could then be returned to the production cycle. But the patent you discovered is probably the better idea.
Thanks also for your thoughts on Schwabenland´s “patent tinning”. While I have no practical experience with tinning, it was immediately obvious to me that a wet rag conducts heat far more than a dry one. Perhaps you, as a practitioner, will again invent a process that follows Schwabenland’s patent. All of us who cook with tinned pans would be happy if the durability of the tinning could be increased.
Merci et meilleures salutations, Martin
Martin, in reality there is no point in reinventing a new tinning process. Suppose you donate the same amount of tin to several tinsmiths. For example 10grs.
– The first wants to obtain a perfectly smooth and regular tinning. He will press hard on his cloth to obtain this result by ejecting the excess tin out of the pot. It will obtain a beautiful tinning, not too shiny but very regular, almost without traces.
– The second will spread roughly and quickly its 10grs of tin and will obtain a brighter tinning with clearly visible traces of wiping.
– The third will do the same job as the first. Simply then, he puts back roughly the equivalence of what he ejected and does the same job as the second tinner. Very quickly. This way of doing things is very good.
In the first case, the tin layer is much too thin to last long.
It is therefore preferable to have a tin plating which clearly shows the traces of wiping. This guarantees a very good tin coating which could last for years and even more if one is careful when using wooden utensils.
Sometimes we find copper pots with tinning like mirrors. The problem is that if you look closely, there is no trace of wiping. The only way to do this is to do a tinning like the first tinner above and then polish the inside of the pot. And here I’m sorry to say, despite the beauty of tinning, too much tin is ejected during tinning and polishing takes out even more of it. This is how I have already received pots from GAILLARD, new (latest generations), still wrapped and unfortunately some were covered with dots and spots of verdigris on the inside! And these spots on a shiny tin like a mirror make us understand how thin the tin layer was! It did not withstand storage, unused and wrapped in its paper inside a box, for a period of 30 or 40 years. While next to this we can find a GAILLARD pot with tin plating which has already been used a multitude of times, which has slept 100 years in an attic and which can still be used for years and years! So my advice will be this, before you jump on a shiny mirror tin plating that will dazzle your senses with its beauty and perfection, check for traces of wiping by hand. These traces must make you think of awkward, imperfect, uncertain work and paradoxically, you will have found the best for cooking for many years. Regards, T.J.
I was forgetting a question, Martin and Arndt, do you have any pots with extra thickness on the top and bottom that show traces of work on a lathe?
Once again sorry, I am digging through my archives! Are you sure you read J.V.K? Would it be possible to read I.V.K.?
“However, Arndt and I found copper pans that resembled the distinctive heavy pans from “Gebr. Schwabenland” down to the last detail. They bear the stamp “Vogelsang & Kuhn, Karlsruhe”. So it was at least conceivable, if not obvious, to accept this company as the actual manufacturer of the copper pans and as a supplier for “Gebr. Schwabenland”.
Only after I was able to acquire the antiquarian catalog 1927 was there evidence of this assumption. There these distinctive pots are listed on the first pages of the extensive catalog under “J.V.K. Kupfergeschirre” (“J.V.K. copper pans and dishes”). Although the “J.” confused me briefly to bring the following two letters in connection with Vogelsang & Kuhn, we are convinced that Vogelsang & Kuhn were making these extraordinary pans for “Gebr. Schwabenland”, even if the riddle of the first letter has not yet been solved.”
Once again sorry, I am digging through my archives! Are you sure you read J.V.K? Would it be possible to read I.V.K.?
T.J., please have a look at the Schwabenland catalog 1927 in the VFC library.
No, but the non-existence of such traces that I know would not be sufficient evidence for me. We had here on VFC just recently discussed this topic (go back a few comments). Basically, you can turn pans without this manufacturing process leaving any traces.
Martin, indeed it is well written J.V.K.
So one more question arises, is it possible that there is a spelling error?
Warning ! Do not cry scandal! I have encountered a lot of errors of this type in catalogs, directories and other documents. And even if my question seems absurd, it has a specific reason.
There are pots stamped “I.V.K ORIGINAL SCHWABENLAND”.
Without possible error on the vision of “I.V.K.” and not J.V.K.
On the one hand, pots with thickness at the bottom and at the top which are made in one piece and on the other hand pots also with thickness at the bottom and at the top, but this time with the lower part attached by strong brazing.
Regarding lathe work traces, yes I know perfectly well that they can be removed. I was simply asking this question because I have photos of the pots of the LIEGE brand, SCHWABENLAND style, which perfectly show these traces.
T.J., the designation “J.V.K.-Kupfergeschirre” is used only in the 1927 catalog, although the same “special designs” is offered in both 1922 catalogs (my extensive version of over 300 pages is not in the VFC library). Strange that the J.V.K. addition was added 5 years later and the meaning of the abbreviation was not explained. Perhaps the abbreviation stands for the name of the man (or the names of several men) who invented this design and the corresponding manufacturing process.
Although I am well aware that the catalogs of that time were not perfect, I can hardly imagine that just for the 30th anniversary of the company, a catalog with such a glaring error was published (see the commemorative publication in the library). Therefore, it is also conceivable to me that the pan you mention was stamped with a faulty stamp. There are other examples of this as well.
As to the frequency of imitation of the particular design and the criticism that preceded it, there is a statement by the company in the catalogs to that effect. The picture of the drawing press and a comment in the catalog makes it clear that this was a major investment. Therefore, I would not be surprised if imitators sought a less expensive way to manufacture it. Possibly this was true for the LIEGE pan you mentioned. Paul Manzoni (grandfather), Switzerland, also had a similar design. I now know that he made these pans after 1930.
Martin, in principle, imitations are bad qualities. And as I have already explained, you do not enter the business of copper pots with imitations without being almost immediately detected as a forger. The reason for this is very simple, everyone knows each other. Manufacturers, retail stores, restaurateurs. Whether in France, Germany, England … All the big names participate in national and international exhibitions, in capitals, big cities. There are countless culinary events around this time and if a forger had the wrong idea of offering copper pots stamped with a big mark, he would be caught very quickly. But this is possible, I agree. This does not prevent that to manufacture fake pots of a big brand, it is also necessary to have the financial means and the material. This is why when I see high quality material like that of the LIEGE brand, I think more of a partnership than of an imitation. And of course if I were to see mediocre, out of reality material stamped with a big mark, I would immediately understand that it was fake. And so far, I’ve never encountered that sort of thing. Apart, of course, in the years 2016 to 2021 (still relevant) with our major manufacturer GAILLARD.
So we now have a “J.V.K” in a catalog and an “I.V.K” on copper pots which are of great quality. To add to this, we have proof that this type of pot could be done with a turn compared to the LIEGE brand. We will eliminate the fact that LIEGE could work with SCHWABENLAND or imitate it. Let us keep the information that this work could be done with a lathe, it is already a precious information.
I will now place the photos I have in my archives on my site. The photos of LIEGE are mine. The photos of “I.V.K” are not mine but I had kept them for personal information. I believe it is useful to distribute them for your research work because it is unthinkable not to unravel the mystery “J.V.K” and “I.V.K.”.
The Vogelsang & Kuhn track is an interesting option, but it is not enough. We must not stay on guesswork.
I’ll keep you posted when it’s done.
Please Monsieur Martin :
Monsieur T.J., thank you for your report about Gebrüder Schwabenland on your website. But unfortunately I feel misleading and incompletely quoted in this report. Since you entered the discussion about my post at VFC very late, you obviously did not read the following comments and discussions completely. You are also missing parts of the discussion I had directly by email with VFC that were not published. Thus, for a roughly current state of my research, it is necessary to see the entire “package” – the post, the supplementary comments (including those from readers), and the publications in the VFC library – in context. I have always emphasized that the found results of my research represent a snapshot, much is unexplained and needs further investigation. For this I also asked for the help and cooperation of the readers.
Arndt and I initially had a hunch “Vogelsang & Kuhn” might have been a supplier to Schwabenland. I emphasize “initially” and “conjecture”. This I later questioned again. It is equally conceivable that “Vogelsang & Kuhn” had permission or license to sell these pans under their own name. Nothing is proven, except for the great similarity of design.
In the course of time, I found further documents which could only be included in my article in part and some time after the publication of my report. These include the 1906 patent and the illustration of the giant drawing press. The text was also slightly revised. However, I could not make these revisions and additions myself, but they were kindly incorporated by VFC. Of course, this always takes some time and cannot be continued indefinitely. If necessary, a new article would have to be written. However, the essentials can be read in the comments and UPDATES.
I found several more patents of the Schwabenland company, especially from their Zurich branch. However, I did not find any patent describing and protecting the production of the J.V.K. pans. However, there must have been a separate patent for this, because the 1906 patent refers to a completely different, much simpler product, an accessory, and not to the manufacture of a whole pan. However, you do not present this fact clearly.
Neither the Schwabenland company, nor I ever used the word “fakes”. They always spoke of “imitations” when products similar to the J.V.K. pans appeared. Schwabenland even expressly emphasized that these imitations only came onto the market after the patent protection had expired. I also explicitly mentioned that. There was therefore nothing illegal to complain about.
There is no doubt that the J.V.K. or these “special versions” were essentially manufactured by means of the drawing press shown, as can be seen from the text supplementing the illustration. The exact manufacturing process, however, remains unclear. We merely made assumptions about this, such as the possibility of post-processing on the lathe. However, as I only now remembered, the German company Leifeld did not launch the world’s first hand spinning machine for metal forming until 1930. This is also a result of my intensive research on industrialization. This finding proves that spun pans could only be produced after that time. This could therefore apply to the LIEGE pan, but not for the Schwabenland special edition (this is my latest status on this point).
Now to the two I.V.K. pans you found, which are additionally stamped with D.R.P. ORIGINAL SCHWABENLAND. I actually consider these pans to be originals from Schwabenland. At the same time, the addition D.R.P. (“Deutsches Reich Patent”) underlines that a patent was given for this type of production. Whether “I” or “J” does not matter much, the rest of the stamping exactly matches other stamps, as does the highest quality of these pans. Schwabenland, by the way, also had a representative in the UK.
Apparently, there are also pans without a Schwabenland stamp that show the characteristic reinforcements. Reader Marcus (US) sent photos of a corresponding rondeau. In addition to the reinforcements, I noticed a detail of the cast iron handle that can be seen on an Arndt roasting pan as well as in the brochure. Since this rondeau was found in the USA, it proves the worldwide distribution of Schwabenland pans, which is also documented in the previously unpublished large 1922 catalog. One should also not forget that it was difficult for German manufacturers to supply the international market after WWI. As you know, it was partly forbidden to import their products. Therefore, it is possible that unstamped pans entered the market, circumventing the prohibitions in this way, or there were intermediaries to countries that were not subject to the import ban.
Last but not least, it should not be overlooked that Schwabenland was still offering heavy handmade copper pans in 1927, which also had reinforced pan bases (see catalogs).and some pans had reinforced rims too.
Monsieur T.J., as far as I could see, your site does not allow commenting by readers. Therefore, I would like to ask you to consider my comment when revising your report on Schwabenland. We both certainly want readers to experience the best possible state of our research.
Kind regards, Martin
Addendum: The BRISTOL pan clearly shows a soldered reinforcement on the bottom. However, it is not clear whether this reinforcement covers the entire base like a kind of shell or only the lower rim, as shown in the 1906 patent. The upper reinforced rim, however, does not appear to have been subsequently soldered on. How was it made? The same question concerns the other I.V.K. pan. Both I.V.K. pans presented by T.J. show no signs of spinning, just as these characteristic features could not be found on the pans we have shown.
ERRATUM: Now I got all mixed up (stupid aging!). The LIEGE cup clearly shows signs of being made on a lathe. My other statements were about the I.V.K. pans, where the BRISTOL shows the soldered reinforcement, but the other pan shows neither signs of spinning, nor a soldered reinforcement.
Sorry Martin, my intention was to make a supplement to help you and not to make a page on the Schwabenland house. That’s why I send the link directly to VFC at the top of the page.
I just modified the beginning of my page, please tell me if this suits you better or if you want something else.
Sorry for the misunderstanding of the word false and imitation which here in France is very often used either one or the other to designate the same thing. But you are right, I did not think that in translation this could be confusing.
Regarding the house Vogelsang & Kuhn, my opinion for the moment would rather be that it distributed Schwabenland products and not the other way around.
It’s very interesting to know that D.R.P. means Deutsches Reich Patent!
Regarding “the German company Leifeld did not launch the world’s first hand-spinning machine for metal forming until 1930.”. Can you explain this, I’m having a hard time understanding?
Regarding the Schwabenland model not stamped in the USA, this seems difficult to me. Even though Schwabenland was banned from exporting to the US at certain times, no middleman was allowed anyway to bring a copper pot into the US without stamping it from the country. Obviously, it was still possible to smuggle these jars into the country. In this interesting case, we can imagine someone who absolutely desires to have these jars in America while taking the minimum risk of having jars confiscated without stamps at customs rather than being more severely punished for having imported prohibited material.
But in no case can this pot show commercial export to the USA without stamping.
Yes Martin, the I.P.K. 12 shows one piece.
The I.P.K. 26 shows 2 pieces with the bottom added by strong welding.
And you already know the 1906 one-piece model on which a second ring is brought.
That is to say 3 types of manufacturing.
sorry for the word “jars”….pot !
T.J., Leifeld revolutionizes spinning machines 1921–1967:
The world’s first hand spinning machine was developed by Leifeld in 1930. The world’s first hydraulic spinning machine follows in 1945. 15 years later, the first hydraulic spinning machine with copy control and automatic program is brought onto the market. In 1967 Leifeld finally developed the world’s first NC spinning machine.
Please enlarge the two graphics on the 1906 patent. You will see that it is only a ring that encloses the bottom of a pan only at the rounded edge. As a result, the pan has a smaller support than without the ring, which puzzles me a bit. You can see the size of the gap from the top view. It is shown as a dashed circle a’. I find it difficult to imagine that such a somewhat puny ring would be specially soldered on. Especially since the patent states that this ring can be replaced quickly in case of wear. However, if the reinforcement included the entire bottom and the lower bend, as was the case with the J.V.K. pans, soldering would make sense.
I see this ring only as a source of ideas for the far better design that was patented in later years. The I.V.K. pans could show intermediate solutions for me, where the version with the upper reinforcement was less sophisticated than the BRISTOL version. But perfect and quasi the final result were the pans that had both reinforcements but were made from a single piece.
I think I need a glass of good wine now.
Hello Martin, I would like to be reassured, I am still not reading that the Leifeld house says that they invented the first hand machine that allows you to stretch, lengthen, form a copper pot from of a copper disc in 1930? And that in 1945 they invented the same type of machine in hydraulic version ????? I may not have understood correctly? The 1860s patent I was talking about earlier shows that there were already machines that did this. I would like to point out in passing that the traces left on the copper pots after forming a pot on a lathe are intentionally left. I do not know why. I have always found this awful. However, those who form the copper pots on a lathe very easily have the possibility of removing these traces by leaving the pot on the lathe to achieve a perfectly smooth and shiny finish according to various known methods.
Well, my dear Martin, I will now mix up answers to this topic and what I had decided to write on a future SCHWABENLAND page on my site. But as I promised to give you the place for this work (very well done by you and Arndt), I will continue on this path.
Regarding the 1906 patent. I don’t see the background as being smaller. The part, -a’-, in dotted line shows only the part not covered by the bottom by the ring.
The idea for this ring was good. The copper being very malleable, it was enough to make a ring slightly, very slightly, smaller to be able to emboss it relatively easily with force without being able to remove it manually. So, if it was damaged one day, all you had to do was pull it out, still forcefully, and place another one.
However, I see several concerns with this ring system which is perfect for cooking over a gas flame. But on an old stove with a flat cast iron plate (which heats with wood, charcoal, gas), the heating results could not have matched a conventional copper pot. Quite simply because the pot would have rested only on the contour of the bottom, without the middle of the bottom of the pot touching the hot plate. And anyway, this system would have had no chance to work properly then on an electric hob.
If a ring (or rather a complete bottom) had been brought in the same way by interlocking on the bottom of the pot (in a way a double bottom), it would also have had no chance of functioning correctly. By interlocking or by any welding, it would not have worked.
The only solutions are, a bottomless pot on which one comes to fix a fitting bottom by strong solder or a pot in one piece which will be worked by stamping in a first step and by stretching in a second step (patent 1860s). Or, why not, entirely by stretching on a lathe (Liege model).
The very idea of this type of pot is not an invention of Schwabenland since it is described in the patent of the 1860s in France. But, the Schwabenland house has the merit of having first tried a version with a nested ring and I think they quickly understood the limits of this system compared to the different cooking appliances.
They continued with a one-piece system, with a reinforced bottom and bottom edges. This protects the pot from its number 1 problem: its weight! Indeed, it is the weight of the copper pots that poses the most problems. We can’t lift it, we hit it, we drop it. And the most numerous bumps are always found in the angles of the bottom of the copper pots. Then, we decrease the thickness of the middle of the sides. It’s perfect, why have an unnecessary thickness in this place? And finally, we keep a good thickness for the upper rim. What is the impact of this? It’s very simple, first we solidify the top of the pot. It has more rigidity, like the upper ring around a jam bowl. Some jam basins or other such pots do not have an iron ring inside. The top rim is simply “rolled up”. This gives incredible rigidity. This upper rim could not be deformed by hand. However, some of these pots have a copper thickness which can be 1mm … 0.8mm !!!!
Now make the same pot without that rolled up rim and you’ll see a 5 year old crumpled up that pot like a sheet of paper!
So for the Schwabenland pots we have this super thick top rim that is useless for baking. But it also protects the pot against its weight and against the same disadvantages as those mentioned above. This upper rim gives an extraordinary rigidity to the pot and it would have to be done on purpose to deform it. And finally, put yourself in the shoes of certain chefs, you know, very wild and very aggressive chefs with kitchen accessories! As there are thousands of them all over the world, since always!
Those who take pleasure in exploding small and large spoons, ladles, medium and huge and all other metal accessories on the rim of the pots!
Bim, bam, boooom! A game of massacre that sees many copper pots fail to survive this incomprehensible treatment for long!
So imagine these chefs discovering the Schwabenland pots! A mirage, a dream, a paradise ???
They will be able to let off steam on their copper pot by damaging them much less quickly. Suddenly, the vision of this thick rim and the commercial arguments that we can make of it bring a very serious argument for the sale.
Finally, it must be said, with these Schwabenland copper pots we are in a range which ranks among the large culinary copper pots worthy of the best interest.
So, if you have the chance to discover pots of this type, Schwabenland or Vogelsang & Kuhn, Liege or other Manzoni, do not hesitate!
Do not ask yourself the question, do not tell yourself that they have a strange shape, if the situation allows it, be buyers and have fun in the kitchen!
To all Copper Lovers!
Dear T.J., at the moment I cannot add anything new to my report, nor to my comments. Also, it is not possible for me to express myself more understandably in English. The subject matter is difficult anyway and describing the facts in a foreign language is even more difficult for me. Perhaps other readers can be helpful if there are “interpretation problems”.
As you have surely seen, I took the statements of the company Leifeld verbatim from their website. I have no reason to doubt that their statements might not be correct. If the statement were false, someone from the competition would certainly have complained long ago. I would be pleased to receive suggestions and comments from readers. Who can provide reliable information on lathes used to turn pans between about 1870 and 1930? To my knowledge, these machines have not yet been presented at VFC.
Despite intensive research I myself have only rough knowledge of lathes that were in operation before 1930. For example, those that were used for turning wood. But I don’t know if the older lathes were suitable for shaping metal of a certain thickness. Even the manually operated lathes used today have an upper limit, which, if I remember correctly, is 2 mm. Somewhere I wrote that down and probably reported it in a comment at VFC once.
T.J., it would be helpful if you could give us a link to the lathes you mentioned or post photos or drawings on your website. Also, I, and I’m sure other readers, would very much like to read the patents you mention for a better understanding and more clarity. It would be nice if you could post those as well. Anything better or more precise than conjecture will get us further.
If you feel like it, read my comment above, in which I report about information I received from the copper manufacturer Weyersberg.
Schwabenland mentions another advantage of the upper reinforcements, as you can read in my post. This also protects the pans from deformation in this vulnerable area, so lids fit permanently and close the pans well.
Best regards, Martin
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Anyone who has written a doctoral thesis must defend it to a critical panel of scientists. Since my research on Schwabenland was elaborate, but far below the level of a doctorate, I would like to leave the Schwabenland forum to other knowledgeable people for a while. I actually have other interests. Thank you all.
Martin, Well spoken, and thanks for your scholarship and evolutionary history. But in addition to pursuing your other interests, perhaps in the future you might do some research on other pans. Cheers, Phil
Thank you Phil Devries and everyone who went along the way through the labyrinth with many wrong ways. But that’s the way it is with science. Very rarely does it know the straight path to the goal of knowledge. Before that, many wrong turns have to be committed. Hypotheses are formulated, tested and discarded, new hypotheses come up, etc. But, dear friends, don’t let the quick explanations seduce you. Insist on facts and evidence. As a rule, it takes years, if not decades, to achieve a level of knowledge that remains valid for a certain period of time. But little is permanent.
Thank you Phil Devries and all those who have followed the path through the labyrinth with many wrong ways. But that’s the way it is with science. It knows extremely rarely the straight way to the goal of the knowledge. Before that, many wrong paths have to be taken. Hypotheses are formulated, tested and rejected, new hypotheses are thought up, etc. But, dear friends, do not be seduced by the quick explanations. Insist on facts and evidence. It usually takes years, if not decades, to reach a level of knowledge that will remain valid for some time. But few things are permanent.
(Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator)
Hello Martin, you now know, or almost, the way to go to talk about a single manufacturer. Imagine the way to talk about several …
I wish you a good day !
For you : https://francelorrainecollection.fr/Stamping-Lathe-Polishing-Copper-Pan-Pot/
I have a Vogelsang & Kuhn Karlsrue Baden pan that is 15-7/8″ in diameter. It has heavy 13-7/8″ cast iron handle. Overall length is 29-3/4″. It is 1-3/4 ” on the outside and 1-5/8″ deep inside. The pan weighs 10lbs. It is in a great uncleaned and unpolished condition. It sits perfectly flat and has almost no dings except a few minute marks where struck by a kitchen utensil on the rim. I would like to know if I sell it would it be advisable to have it restored or sell it as is.
Hello Jim, probably best to sell as is. People have differing opinions on the extent of polishing an antique piece should be subjected to. A bad restoration will certainly reduce value and you may have to wait a long time to find a buyer if you set the sale price high enough to recoup the cost of having it done right.
I concur with Roger’s advice here!
Hello T.J., these are interesting finds you present to us. Thank you!
However, the English version of your text was difficult for me to understand. Only when I chose your French original and had it translated by my software, the text became clearer. Some terms are used differently in French, English and German and for one or two French words I could not find an equivalent in any dictionary. But from the context I was able to decipher the meaning.
The beautiful old Merklein lathe you dug up doesn’t have too much in common with our question, but you certainly intended it as an introduction to the history of lathes. This particular type was designed for fine engraving in metals and was therefore used by watchmakers, cutlers, goldsmiths, etc. A similar machine to Merklein’s is the Rose engine lathe. With conventional lathes, only material is removed, whether metal or wood (turning). For example, these machines can also be used to cut screws (e.g. Henry Maudslay’s revolutionary screw-cutting lathe, 1800) or polish metals in a rather convenient way, as you mention. Ultimately, polishing is also nothing more than removing material.
On the internet, like Pinterest or just Google, you can find hundreds of lathes and other old machine tools. I saw whole factory halls of the 20th century filled with all kinds of machines. A tip for a basically interesting source: http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk.
But unfortunately I could not find any spinning lathes as we know them today. This database apparently does not even know the term “metal spinning”. Even if I only entered “spinning”, I was led on a wrong track, which only showed looms or machines for spinning wool.
All the more exciting are your finds of descriptions of turning and spinning copper. I understand the terms used here as follows:
Tournure = “Drechseln” = woodturning.
Repoussage = “Drücken” = spinning/turning/pushing/metal stretching (combination of turning and pushing).
Especially the section “Repoussage” is interesting for me, because here the actual connection to our questions concerning the machine production of copper pans is made. Although no drawings or even photographs of these machines supplement the text, one can get a rough idea of the appearance of these spinning lathes.
I find the section “Le Génie Industriel, Armengaud frères, 1864”, which describes the deep drawing of pots, even more interesting. To be on the safe side, I consulted two dictionaries for the translation. Emboutissage = pressing/deep drawing of a pot. The section describes not only the operation of a hydraulic press (how much was the pressure?), but also the finishing of the apparently less than perfect products of the pressing process using a spinning lathe. The two production methods complement each other and are each truly amazing on their own as well as in combination, especially for the time. Thus, your conclusion that the Schwabenland J.V.K. pans may also have been produced in a similar manner cannot be dismissed.
However, I miss technical details to be able to judge what these machines were actually capable of. In general, I became more cautious about drawing conclusions based on a relatively small amount of data. What was understood to be a suitable method in the 19th century need no longer be valid in the 20th century. Especially at that time, so much was technically in enormous development. It is hard to imagine that the same method was still being used 70 years later. Perhaps in the course of time we will be able to discover further descriptions of the manufacturing process at the beginning of the 20th century and illustrations of the corresponding machines, which will provide even more clarity.
About today’s craftsmen: Of course I know the company East Coast Tinning for a long time and also the video. Here again my link to the copper manufactory Weyersberg.
There, copper pans are spun with a machine from Leifeld!. Weyersberg also use 3 mm copper sheets. In the video it is mentioned that this spinning lathe is about 50 years old. There are also photos of the machine.
BTW: I have been dealing with this matter for several years now and have researched about many manufacturers and manufacturing techniques. Indeed, an exhausting and sometimes nerve-racking and frustrating occupation! But some discoveries compensate for the effort. A few months ago, I did a lot of research on the “industrial heritage” of France. It was all in French. Good thing there is translation software. But unfortunately I found very little about machines for making copper pans. Only hydraulic presses, steam or water-powered hammers, or machines for cutting the metals.
T.J., good luck and stay healthy!
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A bit of reading for enthusiasts, I added some information on my page that might interest you. For the moment only in French.
Take care of yourself !
for a long time I wanted to inform you about the partial solution of the J.V.K. vs I.V.K. riddle. No matter whether J or I, the SAME is always meant! It is only a different spelling that exists in German. Unfortunately, I still do not know what or who is behind this abbreviation.
“When the German language was written down towards the end of the first millennium AD, the letter I was used twice: On the one hand, for the rendering of the unrounded closed front-tongue vowel [i], and on the other hand, for the rendering of the voiced palatal approximant [j]. Thus, the original Latin double use was adopted, although the I in its use as a consonant letter in the Romance languages of that time meanwhile denoted another sound, a [dʒ].
Because the semivowel [j] persisted in German, the need for a distinction of the consonant letter J from the vowel letter I was less urgent than in other languages. This distinction was therefore not adopted in the spelling of German texts until it was already established in other languages.
To this day, there are still older scribes who use a J instead of the capital letter I (e.g. Jda, Jtalia). Even in sans-serif typefaces, a capital J is sometimes substituted for a capital I. One reason for this is that in such typefaces, the capital I and the lowercase L are often difficult or impossible to distinguish, especially when both letters are next to each other (for example, in Jll, Jller, Jlmenau, Jllustrierte as opposed to Ill, Iller, Ilmenau, Illustrierte).” (translated from German)
A never ending story:
I found on eBay UK a saucepan stamped INVICTA STAINES 94. Victoria-St. LONDON S.W.1 and assume that it was indeed made by Gebr. Schwabenland AG, Germany.
Several manufacturers claim the name “Invicta” for their own brand. After all, this Latin word means “invincible”. It starts with a football (soccer) club in the UK, continues with a former British car brand, leads to a foundry in France, makes a leap across the Atlantic to a US watch manufacturer and comes back to the UK, more precisely to the famous London district of Westminister and here, at 94. Victoria Street, to INVICTA STAINES, a kitchen equipment company. The list is of course incomplete. The addition of “Staines,” in turn, could refer to a small town in Greater London. It is possible that a branch office and the store’s warehouse were located there. Finally, the land prices in Westminister might not have exactly supported a spatial expansion. But this is pure speculation.
A stamp without the addition “Invicta” but with the same address was found on an old kitchen scale and on a mahogany wall board. A sales catalogue of the shop (interestingly, with a French term added: Kitchen Troussaux) provides additional evidence of the address and the business model. Thus, it can be considered certain that the pan was sold by this store. But what does the addition “Invicta” mean? If the pan were made of cast iron, I would immediately think of the French foundry, famous among other things for its enameled cast-iron casseroles. But the pan is copper and shows all the characteristics of being made by “Gebrüder Schwabenland AG”, Germany. Details of this can be found in my corresponding post on VFC. I assume, therefore, that at some point the London store added an attractive term to its own brand name.
As we know Gebr. Schwabenland had several branches abroad and certainly also contacts to GB. Since German goods were politically sanctioned in the early 20th century for understandable reasons, Gebr. Schwabenland may have allowed the distribution of their own goods under other brand names. I recall the pans that were sold under the label “Vogelsang & Kuhn” in Germany and partly also in France. While researching Gebr. Schwabenland and its huge assortment, the thought initially surfaced that Vogelsang & Kuhn might have been a supplier. However, I soon discarded this idea, since no evidence could be found to support this hypothesis. In fact, it was the other way around. Vogelsang & Kuhn obtained their goods from Gebr. Schwabenland. This assumption has now been strengthened by the recent discovery of a saucepan from Gebr. Schwabenland with a foreign brand name. At this point I would like to remind you of Dehillerin and some stores in the USA, which sold their pans manufactured by Mauviel under their own name from certain times on.
p.s.: you can still buy the pan on eBay UK (I already have enough)
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