Thickness of Copper Pots.


February 05, 2017

The types of manufacture of 1-2-3 copper pots exist in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The type of manufacture of copper pots 4 came later. I would say, certainly after 1950. The pots of this manufacture are innumerable. Including very thick premium copper pots.
One cannot deceive nature, the density of pure copper does not change.
So, for example, a copper saucepan of 20.5cm/8" in diameter and 11cm/4.3" in height which is given with 3mm of thickness, should weigh exactly 2777grs/6.12Lbs, without handles or sleeves.
And indeed, a saucepan of these dimensions with a thickness of 3mm at the top rim very often weighs between 2700 and 2900grs.
And this is where nature takes over!
Where did the weight of the handle go?
The weight of a handle for this copper saucepan weighs at least 350grs/0.77Lbs and can go up to 600grs/1.3Lbs and sometimes more.

Once again, the eyes look but they do not see.


There are a multitude of types of fabrications.
The angles between the wall and the bottom can be more or less rounded, more or less straight.

Pot 1: regular surfaces on all walls
Pot 2: regular sides surfaces with thick bottom.
Pot 3: thick bottom and thick walls at the base which become thinner towards the top.
Pot 4: significant thickness at the edges at the top and then the lower you go the less it is thick!

The weight of a handles or sleeves can vary from 10 to 20% of the weight of the pot. I'm talking about the most common pots in the most common sizes, those that can be used at home. I'm not talking about the copper pots that are made today with handles and sleeves with special materials. I'm talking about the cast iron, bronze, brass, copper and wrought iron handles and sleeves of yesteryear.
Regarding the categories of straight saucepans, flared sauté pans, straight sauté pans, pots, roundeaux ...
It is clear that for an oval oven dish, for example 30cm long, the 2 handles never reach 20% of the total weight! So, we should not generalize what should not be.

A straight copper saucepan of 20.5cm in diameter, 11cm in height and with a thickness of 3mm at the upper edge shows most of the time a total weight, with its handle included, between 2700grs and 2900grs.
But the real weight of this pot, without the handle, should be 2777grs (always with this condition as if the wall came to meet the base with a sharp edge). By adding the weight of the handle, we should always exceed 3000grs, which is rarely the case.
This is how we understand that the walls are not equal everywhere in thickness, despite the fact that we find 3mm at the top edge.
The ease of measuring thickness, for most people, is measuring the thickness of the top rim. It is not at all the right way to proceed but it is so and it will never change because it must be admitted, it is difficult for most people to do otherwise.
It's a shame because for me, the best pots ever made are the "inverted V" pots, POT 3 on the drawing at the top. That is to say that the thickness of the upper rim is thinner and this thickness increases when we go down towards the bottom of the wall (imagine a V upside down). In addition, there are such models with a reinforced bottom.
The conclusion is that an "inverted V" pot 2mm thick at the top rim, 20.5cm in diameter, 11cm in height, may be heavier (therefore contain more copper) than the same model with 3mm measured at the rim higher and which is not manufactured in "inverted V"!

Imagine that you have a 3mm straight saucepan on the top rim (20.5cm / 11cm) and you find the weight of 2800grs on the scale. This means that by removing, for example, 15% of the weight (for the handle), 2380grs of copper remain. If we transform this copper into a flat sheet of equal thickness over its entire surface, it will have a thickness of 2.57mm and not 3mm!

If we take the same "inverted V" model with 2mm at the top edge, you might have the good surprise of also finding on the scale a weight of 2800grs !!!
By doing the same calculation as above, if we transform this copper pot into a flat sheet of equal thickness over its entire surface, it will have a thickness of 2.74mm and not 2mm!

2.57 against 2.74mm, you will tell me that the difference is minimal!

I will answer that the difference is simply huge!
Why ? :
Where is the reality for a buyer, especially when he buys the copper pot on the internet, without having seen it?

He will for sure buy the copper pot indicated with 3mm thickness at the top rim. He won't be interested in the one with 2mm.
Big mistake!
The first enormity is quite simply the price!
Those who are used to it know the price difference between a copper pot advertised with 2mm thickness and one advertised with 3mm.
The second enormity is the quality of cooking.
Take a good look at my diagrams below and in your opinion which is the best pot for cooking?

So, should we continue to talk about the thickness of the pots depending on the upper rim or talking about the average thickness of the entire copper pot?

This model with 2mm thickness at the top edge is just magic for cooking!
This is where you realize that his weight is abnormal, the weight! The most important element of a copper pot!
If this weight does not correspond to the measurement of the upper rim, because it is higher, then there is more copper elsewhere than on this rim!
And it can be found where it is needed, down the walls and at the bottom!
And not on the upper edge where it is useless!
Unfortunately, this type of fabrication no longer exists. It is found in some old pots from GAILLARD, JACQUOTOT, DEHILLERIN, LEGRY, H. POMMIER, PETER BRUX. and so many others!
Those looking for the best for cooking should always take everything they have read into this page.
There are great discoveries to be made. You have to be careful, have patience, be lucky and maybe one day you will find some of these culinary copper wonders!


To all Copper Lovers !

Regards, T.J.