I have a deep interest in the work of Gaillard — they made copper pots from the early 1800s to the 1980s and their early pots are considered real masterpieces. I have a few of them, and I’m curious about how the look and craftsmanship of Gaillard evolved over the century of its work. I’m going to use this post to take a close look at each of my Gaillard pans and try to establish a chronological order for the marks.
TJFRANCE has a Gaillard history page at his store’s website and it’s worth a look. TJFRANCE describes Gaillard not as a single company but as a house that encompassed multiple family-run workshops. Gaillard claimed to have been founded in 1795, but I found an even earlier mention of chaudronnerie Gaillard in Paris in 1761.
In 1815, Gaillard, fabricant, entreprend toutes sortes de chaudières de toutes formes et dimensions (“manufacturer of all shapes and sizes of boilers”) operated from 16 rue Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie. The company grew steadily over the decades that followed: in 1820, there was a second location at 151 rue Mouffetard, and by 1839, there were a total of four. Of the four, “A. Gaillard” at 87 Faubourg Saint-Denis relocated to 81 Faubourg Saint-Denis by 1862, and appears to have been the antecedent of the well-known atelier.
After that point, commercial records show the company’s name changes over time.
- In 1873, the company changed name from “A. Gaillard” to “Gaillard fils.”
- In 1892, the name changed from “Gaillard fils” to “Gaillard.”
- In 1903, the firm was known as “J. and E. Gaillard.” I believe this was Jules and Émile Gaillard.
- Sometime between 1914 and 1920 there was a split: Émile operated a kitchenware and hardware store at 28 Faubourg Poissonière while Jules remained at 81 Faubourg Saint-Denis as a chaudronnier.
- By 1924, Émile Gaillard’s store was no longer advertised. The latest business record I can find is a shop invoice dated 1927.
- Jules Gaillard continued to operate the company through 1938, the final year of commercial listings I can access online. The latest document I have seen with his signature is dated 1933.
- By the 1950s, the company was operating as Établissements Jules Gaillard et fils, implying that Jules had passed away and his son(s) continued to operate in his name.
- The company ceased operations in the 1980s.
I turned to genealogical records to try to find related Gaillards with the correct first names during this timeframe but I had little success. There were many Gaillards in and around Paris during this time but I didn’t find enough information during the crucial 1870s to 1920s time period. I did find an Émile Gaillard, manoeuvre, chaudronnier en cuivre (laborer, coppersmith) in Paris, but he was born in 1893 and would have been just 14 in 1907, which seems a little young to become a partner in the main Gaillard enterprise. I’ve had no luck pinpointing the “A.” or “Jules” during the timeline above.
But what little I have been able to find out nevertheless suggests a possible rough progression of stamps. Please note that this entails some guesswork on my part, and as always, I welcome corrections and additions to make this a more reliable resource.
81 FAUG ST DENIS, PARIS
|1890s(?) to 1903||GAILLARD
81 FAUBG ST DENIS
Jules and Émile Gaillard
|J. E. GAILLARD
81 FAUBOURG SAINT-DENIS
|J & E GAILLARD
81 FAUBOURG ST. DENIS
|1920 to late 1930s
Jules Gaillard and J. Gaillard
| JULES GAILLARD
81 FAUBG ST DENIS, PARIS
81 FAUBG ST DENIS
81 FAUBG ST DENIS
|Établissements Gaillard et fils
(Late 1930s to 1980s)
See this warning about a replica stamp
— PARIS —
|Often seen on silver-lined orfèvrerie line|
|Later era, most likely manufactured by Mauviel for Gaillard|
Pre-1890s?: Gaillard with no oval
This stamp reads “GAILLARD 81 FAUG ST DENIS PARIS” with no enclosing oval. I think this is an early Gaillard mark, likely pre-1890s: the stamp has no oval enclosure and the pan itself has an early flat-profile cast iron handle. This could be a stamp during the A. Gaillard or Gaillard fils era, 1873 to 1892 or so.
1890-1903: Gaillard oval
This stamp reads “GAILLARD 81 FAUBG ST Denis Paris.” Stylistically, this is similar in its typography with the Gaillard stamp (tentatively pre-1890s) above.
This is the style of stamp on Stephen Whalen’s 46cm rondeau. I think that pan (and this stamp) are from right at the end of the dovetailing era and the beginning of the machine press era, 1890s to 1900s.
1903-1919(?): Jules and Émile Gaillard
As of 1903, Jules and Émile Gaillard had joined forces to operated the family firm together. The joint firm was listed in 1914 and then there is a gap in the records during World War I; when records resume in 1920, Jules and Émile had parted ways. Based on this, I estimate that these stamps represent work from 1903 to World War I.
I’ve seen two stamps that I think are from this era.
- J. E. Gaillard 81. Faubourg Saint-Denis
- J & E. Gaillard 81. Faubourg ST-Denis
The first seems to be more common than the second — I’ve only seen one example with the ampersand. Take a side-by-side look below.
The pans I have with these marks, a 44cm sauté marked “J. E.” and a 36cm sauté marked “J & E.”, are both big heavy restaurant quality pieces. I don’t know why there are two versions of the J & E stamp that are so similar.
1920s to late 1930s: Jules Gaillard
Between 1914 and 1920 — during or just after World War I — Émile Gaillard split from Jules Gaillard to open a hardware store. Jules continued to operate the business as J. Gaillard, chaudronnerie et glacierie (coppersmith and refrigeration) until his death. I know he was operating the company in 1938 but that is the last reference I can find for him as head of the company.
Jules Gaillard linear version
The linear version of this stamp says “JULES GAILLARD 81 FAUBG ST-DENIS. PARIS” in two straight lines. This is a fairly rare stamp — I have not seen many other examples of it online. I have one “Jules Gaillard” pan, a 30cm rondeau.
Jules Gaillard oval version
The oval version of the stamp is a cartouche reading “JULES GAILLARD 81 FAUBG ST DENIS PARIS.” This stamp is on an 18cm saucepan; it’s not dovetailed but is quite a bit thicker in the base than the sidewalls.
J. Gaillard oval with address
Between 1914 and 1920 — during or just after World War I — Émile Gaillard split from Jules Gaillard to open a hardware store. Jules continued to operate the business as J. Gaillard, chaudronnerie et glacierie (coppersmith and refrigeration). I believe this oval stamp represents production right after this split.
The stamp reads “J. GAILLARD 81 FAUBG ST DENIS PARIS” with fonts and abbreviations in the address that most closely resemble the Gaillard oval of the 1890s-1900s. Below are two examples of this mark; I think the very slight differences between the two impressions indicate that different physical stamps produced them. (My thanks to the eagle-eyed Fidelma Cox of Normandy Kitchen Copper for providing this second example stamp.)
I know it’s a fool’s errand to try to base this chronology solely on visual similarities between stamps but at the moment I don’t have much else to go on. But the pans I’ve seen with this stamp are certainly early 20th century showing craftsmanship from machine presses, later than the Gaillard-only stamp.
J. Gaillard Paris oval
This stamp has “J. Gaillard” at the top, the word PARIS below, and a broken dash mark in between, all enclosed in an oval. I only have one pan with this mark, a little silver-lined pan de truite. It’s dovetailed, but note that an oblong pan like this would have to be — I believe these are still pieced together to this day, though now with welded seams instead of dovetails. This is an example where dovetailing does not mean the pan was 19th century — one has to consider the entire pan.
The 20th century styling on the pan example I have, the name “J. Gaillard,” and the simpler and more modern styling of this stamp lead me to believe that it marks production towards the middle of the 20th century, perhaps the late 1920s into the 1930s. I don’t know the dates of Jules Gaillard’s life but he operated the company until at least 1938; I suspect this stamp was the last version used during his lifetime before the company became known as Établissements Jules Gaillard et fils.
1940s: GAILLARD PARIS oval
I suspect this is the first Gaillard stamp used after Jules Gaillard’s death when the company became Établissements Jules Gaillard et fils. This stamp is stylistically similar to the J. Gaillard oval above. The typeface is simpler — minus the J, of course — and the horizontal divider between GAILLARD and PARIS is a solid line and not the more ornate flourish of the one above.
I have a large unrestored 50cm stewpot with this stamp. This pot exhibits some of the same qualities we’ve seen in the previous examples: a handle base plate with a downward curve and pronounced decorative point, small rivets with impact marks, and flattened but not flush internal rivets. These are signs to me of machine-assisted work in the 20th century.
Post-WWII to 1980s: GAILLARD PARIS
GAILLARD PARIS arch, large
Based on the style of this stamp and the construction of the pieces I see that carry it, I think this stamp represents work in the 1930s and 1940s.
I have recently become aware that there are two near-identical versions of this stamp appearing on vintage copper on eBay and Etsy. I have posted a statement on this matter. My current opinion is that one version, which I call Type 1, is a genuine Gaillard stamp. At this time I cannot verify the legitimacy of the other version, which I call Type 2. You can tell them apart by the alignment of the letters as shown below.
Type 1: Genuine Gaillard
Type 2: Unverified origin
GAILLARD PARIS arch, large with dashes
This stamp looks a heck of a lot like the Large arch version above but it is a different stamp: it has dash marks alongside the word “Paris,” and the spacing between the lines is narrower.
This is a fairly rare stamp. I’ve only seen it on a few pieces, all obviously post-WW2 — welded, lathe-spun, decorative rather than cooktop pieces. They feel to me like Villedieu work from one of the smaller shops, but this is a gut feel and I have no other examples from which to guess.
GAILLARD PARIS arch, small
This stamp shares the same arched shape, but the letters of the stamp are narrower and more closely set than the others.
I see this stamp on pots that also have the “Made in France” stamp, which suggests they were made after 1957 up until Gaillard closed its doors in the early 1980s. This is a relatively common version of Gaillard stamp, again suggesting to me that it’s recent; for example, it’s the stamp on my daily-use set of saucepans. The exterior rivets are rounded, with no impact marks. The interior rivets are rounded and have numbers on them.
This is quite a rare stamp and I am indebted to reader Hannah for bringing it to my attention. It reads “GAILLARD 81 FAUBG ST DENIS” on two lines; there is no “Paris”.
This is the only example of this stamp that I have seen. Stylistically it is similar to the linear Jules Gaillard version, but it is definitely a different physical stamp. Would Jules have produced a second iteration of his stamp without his name? I don’t know.
I hope these stamp examples are helpful to you as you estimate the age of Gaillard pieces. As always, I apologize in advance for errors and omissions, and I welcome information you have that ties a stamp to a specific period of time: catalogs, advertisements, sales invoices, and so forth. Please reach out by email or in the comments — thank you!
In November 2019, I went through and simplified this to make it more of a reference tool. I added a few stamps I’ve come across recently and updated some date estimates based on more research.
In October 2021, I revised the timeline to reflect emerging information (well, emerging to me, at least) that the linear and oval Jules Gaillard stamps were in use in the 1920s. This required reordering several stamps. I regret the error.