“I had a feeling the pans might be something special.”
VFC says: Reader and copper aficionado Gerhard reached out to share his story of a very lucky find.
Today I have a story about a nice purchase on ebay Kleinanzeigen in Germany — which is kind of like Craigslist. Someone had advertised there two heavy sauté pans and a large round pan with two handles. Everything looked pretty awful in the pictures, but I had a feeling the pans might be something special.
Since everything together was very cheap and also still in Munich, where my brother lives, I bought the things. I sent my brother to pick up all, which he did with the bike.
Two weeks later he was with us and brought everything to our home.
He had asked the saleswoman where the things were from. She said that her ex-boyfriend was a cook and had brought the pans years ago. But she didn’t know where they came from. She and her ex tried to clean everything, but didn’t get along. At first I tried a polishing machine but didn’t work either. Then I tried boiling it up with baking soda, which worked wonderfully. Fortunately we have a large wok, which I used for this to the delight of my wife…
The baking soda did what it was supposed to do — remove the organic deposits, first on the outside, then on the inside. The result was great. Even the tinning is still ok.
Comparing the two almost identical pans, you can see very well before and after cleaning.
Of course, after cooking with baking soda, I polished both for hours with the polishing machine.
Last weekend my wife and I celebrated our birthday together with friends and inaugurated the two pans with a fantastic bouillabaisse.
I haven’t worked on the big round pan with 38 cm diameter yet.
Now a few facts, figures and guesses about the pans: Only after cleaning the small embossing “Made in France” became visible.
Both pans have a diameter of 32 cm, a height of 9 cm and a wall thickness of 3.5 mm. On the outside, they are hammered on the sides. One pan weighs 5,970 g, the other 6,250 g. The heavier pan has a handle about 5 cm longer, otherwise they are identical. I suspect they were made by Mauviel in the 1970s — could that fit?
Curious to hear what you write about this!
By the way, in one of the pictures you can see a Bain Marie in the background – there’s a good story to tell about that one, too. Next time!
VFC says: Gerhard, these pans are definitely “something special”! I think you’re likely correct that these are high-quality Mauviel production — to the best of my knowledge, the date of manufacture could be anywhere from the 1970s to 1990s. I consider this the second “Golden Age” of French copper production, as Mauviel (and its cohorts in Villedieu) were cranking out thousands of professional-quality pieces for a voracious US and European market. I am so glad that you recognized these and restored them to working condition, and I wish you many years of enjoyment with them!