Stamp on Copper Pans and Pots.


September 23, 2016

Many mistakes and misunderstandings revolve around this subject.
Here are the important things you need to know before you actually talk about stamping copper pots.

Let's go back to some history of French boiler making. And we will see how Paris has protected its trade guilds to the highest degree.

From the beginning of the 14th century trade guilds were established.
At the beginning of the years 1320 are established the first statutes of the boilermakers.
We discover that a hierarchy is set up with in order: the master boilermaker, workers and apprentices.

100 years later, in 1420, we understand very quickly that these circuits of manufacture and trade are very protectionist. New statutes are added to Boilermakers Corporation.
To become master boilermaker, it is necessary to realize a manufacture, which is called "masterpiece" before jurors forming part of the corporation (this work lasts 15 days and must be realized at one of the jurors).
This act is not free. The future master boilermaker must pay his mastery and in addition he must pay a tax to the corporation, another fee for the king and also a fee for jurors (and in addition he must leave his "masterpiece" to the jury! ).
If anyone who wants to master a boilermaker comes from outside the city, he has to pay even more!

Apprentices wishing to become a master must have done 6 years of apprenticeship before presenting their "masterpiece".

At the end of the 15th century, protectionism became stronger. Boilermakers coming from outside do not have the right to sell to private individuals. Their goods must be sold only in wholesale. And only to master boilermakers.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the status is hardened with the fact that no bad goods can enter in Paris. In addition, the goods coming from outside are always supervised by the master boilermakers of Paris and they are the only ones to be able to resell this material.
The master boilermaker who has acquired the material can only sell to another master boilermaker.
In the middle of the 16th century, a new statute prohibits hardware, mercers, scrap metalworkers, ironworkers, second-hand dealers, etc. to trade in products made by boilermakers. The master's degree is compulsory in this profession.

In the middle of the 17th century, a little flexibility finally arrives! The Boilermakers of Auvergne, who often work as peasants during the good weather and leave for Paris during the cold season, have finally acquired some rights. They are allowed to tin and sell in Paris. But under certain conditions! The tinning must be done in the house of the customer (or in front of his door) and the sale concerns only the used equipment.

In the 18th century, in the 1730s, boilermakers were given more facilities to buy foundry and ironmongery materials from cast iron or iron used in their manufacture. And they can also resell this material wholesale or in detail. Mercers also get the right to sell products from the boilermaking but in limited quantities at a time.
Here we see the beginning of a certain freedom of work that did not exist during the past four centuries!
This year 1731 tells us that boilermakers are required to apply their initials on artifacts containing copper and lead at the same time. They must also mark the amount of metals used.

In 1735, a new statute established the appointment of 12 jurors to deliver the mastery of boilermaking. These jurors will have to keep a register and supervise the opening of new shops.
In turn, second-hand dealers earn the right to sell boiler equipment. Provided you do not display them or expose them in the shop. It is forbidden for them to sell new products and they must keep a register containing the names of the individuals who sold them this material.

Boilermakers from outside Paris and its suburbs are not allowed to bring the equipment to be repaired at home. Work must be done on site.


This year 1735 is important in the history of copperware.
All trades that sell lead-plated boilermaking have been given 6 months to remove the lead and replace it with a tinning or other system that makes it clean for public health.
In addition, boilermakers in possession of such material must have them stamped with a personal punch.
This stamp must also be placed on a copper plate kept in the corporation. It will serve to prove the belonging of this or that object in case of problem of non-compliance with the new regulation.

YOU MUST BE UNDERSTAND that everything you have read so far does not mean that Paris is locked up by providing Parisians only what it produces.
This means that Paris has a kind of trade monopoly for what it produces but also what the rest of France (and abroad) produces. Only Parisian corporations can make a real business of all things in Paris. For his products .... and those of others!


So we spent nearly 400 years with a system without real competition. Locked on itself and we can almost say without much novelty. The cookware, the stoves have not really changed much (compared to the period covered).

The end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century mark a great page in the history of copperware and French cuisine.
The first reason is the French Revolution in 1789 and I will come back to it a little further down.
The second reason:
In 1791, the ALLARDE law of March 1791 dissolves the corporations (in fact it only renews the TURGOT edict of 1776 which was canceled a few months after its creation). The laws LE CHAPELIER of June 1791 come definitively to conclude the following elements:
- Anyone wishing to start a business or to start a profession can do so.
- It does not matter what his titles and his condition of life.
- No disturbance or pressure will be tolerated on these new traders (indirect warning to the old guilds)
- Access to trade and industry in France is declared free.
- The same person may practice several trades if he so desires.
- The declaration and the obtaining of a license is obligatory. You must respect the police regulations affiliated with the chosen profession.

Apart from this, it only remains to work, develop ideas, undertake, advance, evolve, innovate, invest. In short, all things that seemed almost unthinkable before for many people!

From there, you need only imagine the innumerable possibilities open to those who have money, those who have ideas. Until then, even with money and ideas, you could not be a boilermaker or even work in many other trades.


A new era is offered to the daring! And this period from 1790 to around 1820 will be a fresh start for copperware and French cuisine.

I come back to the French Revolution for a few lines and to explain its importance in French cuisine.
NAPOLEON 1, despite the fact that he is not a great gourmet, has nevertheless understood that a good table is an important asset in diplomacy. Knowing how to welcome guests is a crucial thing in negotiations.
Thus, in 1803, with the help of his Minister of Foreign Affairs, TALLEYRAND, he installed at Valençay Castle in the Indre, which became the place of reception of guests and high foreign dignitaries.
From the beginning, TALLEYRAND calls on Antoine CARÊME.
The talents of everyone will quickly make the reputation of French cuisine around the world.
At their first meeting, TALLEYRAND asks CARÊME to prepare 365 days of menus without ever being repeated and in addition with seasonal products. When you know what a menu was at that time, I beg you to believe that today it would be difficult to achieve!

After the fall of Napoleon 1st, the need to put things in order in Europe has come.
A congress takes place in Vienna, Austria. And it is TALLEYRAND who represents France.
This congress, which will last from September 1814 to June 1815, will see prominent figures from many countries. 15 members of royal families, more than 200 princes, more than 200 diplomats. There are also groups such as representatives of Maltese knights, abolitionists of slavery, representatives of German Jews and many other groups.
And during these long months, Talleyrand using magic CARÊME, will feed all this world from Germany, Austria, England, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden ...
And once again, you can not imagine the dishes that were presented to the guests. I believe that today it would be something inconceivable even for the richest tables.
Does this know-how still exist today somewhere?

It's hard to imagine who was Antonin CARÊME and the role he played in French gastronomy.
I will come back in another subject (which I have not finished yet) on the big names that have been cooking French over the centuries. And Antonin CARÊME certainly holds the first place for the man, the cook, the gastronome and the author he was.

So, in the space of 25 years (1790-1815), we have a revolution that frees the possibility for anyone to create a boilermaking business, restaurant or anything related to the cooking from near or far.

And in addition we have a free international advertisement that will highlight French cuisine and also culinary copper manufacturers through Napoleon 1st - Talleyrand - Carême.


With all this, the market will develop at a high speed throughout the 19th century.

The development of railway lines during the same period will play an important role in the development of trade.

I leave now on the road of copperware and stamping.
So we are in the late 1700s, early 1800s and we can not say that the place of stamping on copper pots is important.
More and more companies are being created, but stamping by manufacturers does not seem a priority.

I take this opportunity to clarify that I often see sales ads that offers copper pots of the 17th and 18th century.
Beware of these ads because these pots are very rare, almost impossible to find.
And if so, these pots would not be very useful in our kitchens today. Indeed, they do not really look like the pots of the 19th century which can still be used today.


It will be easier to find (at least in pictures on the internet) stamps of the first part of the 19th century devoted to large kitchens (royal, bourgeois) that stamping manufacturers.

Indeed, it should be known that the cookware in these places (houses "bourgeois" and in the kitchens of castles) is very imposing.

It is necessary to have all kinds of copper pots. In all dimensions. There were also made-to-measure copper pots that are rare and beautiful pieces! Often impressive!
Very few people have ever seen one.

Here is an example that I had the opportunity to sell GROS BAIN
But that was not enough.

It's unimaginable to think that miss a pot in designing a great reception meal!
So some pots had to be available in several copies. At the same time to prepare the meals but also because the tinning was a regular thing and very often some pots were in repair.

la suite arrive bientot...