Few activities are more basic than cooking, and few metals used in the preparation of food are more basic than copper, which is just one of the reasons why copper cookware is the choice of amateur and professional chefs alike. Beyond this primal appeal, copper distributes heat more evenly than other metals or alloys, so much so that many stainless-steel pots and saute pans feature a layer of copper on their undersides. Sometimes, though, the contribution of copper to our diet is even more direct—according to the World Health Organization, we should all ingest 1.2 mg of copper daily. Fortunately, there’s plenty of copper in foods like lentils, shellfish, and chocolate, all of which are preferable to gnawing on the edge of your favorite copper mixing bowl.

Copper has been used continuously by Homo sapiens for some 10,000 years—a copper pendant from northern Iraq is the oldest example of the metal being formed into something beyond its natural state. Like gold, copper can be hammered cold into shapes, rolled flat, or melted and cast. Most pieces of copper hollowware—from pudding molds and tea kettles to pots and pans—employ a combination of these techniques. Typically, a rolled sheet of the metal is either pounded into its desired shape if it’s not too deep (a saute pan) or cut into a rectangle and formed into a cylinder for a tall item (a stock pot or tea kettle), whose base will be attached as a separate piece.

Seams between pieces of copper are often joined together via cramped or castellated joints (sometimes imprecisely called dovetail joints), which are pounded flat and then sealed by brazing. Lockseam joints are produced when a sheet of copper is folded back on itself at its meeting edges to create a pair of J-shapes, which can be hooked together, pounded flat, and soldered to make the seam watertight.

Of the manufacturers that have made copper cookware for the kitchen over the years, Revere stands out. Founded in 1801 by the American patriot and silversmith Paul Revere, Revere Copper and Brass Incorporated of Rome, New York, was making tin-lined copper hollowware back in the 1890s, and the company introduced its Revere Ware, which replaced the tin with stainless steel, in 1938. After World War II, Revere Ware took off, but in the 1950s it faced stiff competition from imported enamelware, especially Le Creuset, whose brightly colored pieces were a fun, cheerful alternative to the stodgy appearance of steel and copper.

One of the chief drawbacks of copper, besides its high price, is that raw copper exposed to air will form a green patina called verdigris. Though pleasant to look at (think of the green patina on the Statue of Liberty) it is poisonous to eat, which is why copper was tinned, and subsequently sealed behind stainless steel by Revere, in the first place. Still, some cookware is traditionally made of copper, and worth the elbow grease to remove the verdigris for the cooks who love them. Oblong fish steamers, for example, are often made of copper, as are double boilers and saucepans. In some cases, such as round-bottomed copper bowls designed for whisking egg whites, the copper is considered preferable to stainless steel or glass—egg whites whipped in copper are less likely to become overbeaten. In other cases, such as with cookie cutters, the classic look of copper permits these kitchen tools to be displayed on a wall or shelf when not in use.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Copper Hearts Collection Martha Stewart By Mail Rare-in Box-nrSet Of 15 Vintage Revere Ware Cookware Copper Clad Stainless Steel Clinton Ill2 X Moscow Mule Copper Mug Cup Solid Copper Bar Round ^^ 14oz ~ Best Gift EverFrench Stl Sur La Table Heavy Copper 3 Qt. Saute' Pan - Mauviel Slt PotVintage Revere Ware Cookware Stainless Steel Copper Clad Sauce Pan Set Of 5Antique Vintage Jos.joseph Heinrichs Copper Pot Pan-"hotel Statler Detroit" Antique Gorham Aesthitic Japanese Style Mixed Metal Tray Silver Bronze On CopperAntique Set Of 3 Copper & Brass Cake Food Molds & Strainer Kitchen Tools Nr YqzVtg Revere Ware 20 Qt- 81 Copper Clad Stainless Steel Stock Pot W/lid Rome N.y.Moskow Mule Pure Solid Copper Mug Cup Beer Bar __ Set Of 2 __ Us Fast Shipping__Moscow Mule *16oz* Pure Solid Copper Bar Beer Mug *set Of 4 Rare--georg Jensen Copper 8" Lidded Pot Dutch Oven By Henning Koppe--denmark Antique Duparquet D.h.& M. Copper Sauce Pan With Lid 10" Dia Very Heavy NyCopper Ruffoni Italy Sauce Pot Brass Acorns-gorgeous!Brass Banded Edwardian Copper Biscuit BarrelCopper Covered Double Boiler Bain Marie Porcelain Insert William Sonoma2 X Moskow Mule Pure Solid Copper Mug Cup Beer Bar Set Of 2 Ultra Fast Shipping 3 Vintage Harvard Made In France Hand Hammered Copper Tin Lined Saucepans PotsAntique 19th C Persian Hand Chased Royalty Zinc Washed Qajar Copper Tray YqzLovely Antique Victorian Benham And Froud Copper Jelly Mould C1890Revere Ware 3 Qt Covered Copper Bottom Sauce Pan Nib~set Of 2~moskow Mule Pure Solid Copper Mug Cup Beer Bar~us Seller~fast ShippingVintage Hammered Copper And Bronze Pot Kayaogll BakircilikVintage Gaither Family Resources Copper Music Note Cookie Cutter 6 Inch Large3 Lot Pure Copper Glass Cup Mugs With Lines Ayurvedic Healing Drink Moscow MuleVtg Revere Ware 1801 Copper Stainless Steel Cookware Set Pot Pan 12 Pcs 1 2 3 QtVintage Dehillerin Hammered Copper Oval Pot Casserole Marked 20.Solid Copper Au Gratin Casserole Pan Pot Wagner West Germany Roaster Cookware Vtg Revere Ware 1801 Copper Clad Stainless Steel Double Circle Pan Lot Nib NosOld Vintage Cast Iron Pot Lid Handle Cauldron Copper Lid & Mixer Fire Kettle Vintage Dehillerin Paris Hammered Copper Pot2 Vintage Harvard Made In France Hand Hammered Copper Tin Lined Saute Pans2 X Moscow Mule Pure Solid Copper Cup Bar Beer Mug ~~set Of 2 ~~ Pure Copper !Vintage French Copper Pot With Lid 1.5qt Exc Cond Sauce Pan Heavy Gauge1801 Revere Ware Stainless Steel/copper Clad 3qt. 97h Sauce Pan Clinton,ilAntique Salesmen Sample/store Display 'old Blue Ribbon' Mini Copper Tea Kettle Asia Collectible Decorated Old Handwork copper Carved 8 Immortal Dragon Tea PotAll Clad Copper Core With Stainless 6 Qt. Round Roaster With Cover Sauce Pot PanCopper Tea Kettle Made In EnglandVintage Kromex Retro Copper Clad Aluminum 9 Piece Spice Set In RackMichael Bonne Copper Heart On Fire Cookie CutterVintage Copper Tiny Tea Pot/kettle Hand Crafted From Indian Cent - Circa 1940Vintage Unused Copper Revere Ware 1 1/2 Qt Sauce Pan Pre-owned ExcellentVtg Copper Clad Stainless Steel Revere Ware Stove Top Coffee Pot Vintage Coffee Pot Stovetop Copper Bottom Percolator Stainless Steel - SolidPaul Revere Limited Edition Copper Oval Fish Fry Pan2 Charming French, Copper Bottomed, 2 Handled, Roasting Pans Nr !!Large Copper And Brass Pot - 14" X 10" X 3.5" - Weighs 2.5 Lbs, Vintage???Vtg Simplex Patent Kettle Solid Copper4 X Moscow Mule Copper Mug Cup Solid Copper Bar Round ~ 14oz ~free ShippingCollectible Decorated Old Handwork Copper Carved Pig Climb Cup Goblet2 X Moscow Mule Copper Mug Cup Solid Copper Bar Round ^^ 14oz ~ Best Gift2 X Moscow Mule Copper Mug Cup Solid Copper Bar Round ^^ 14oz ~ Best Gift Ever2 X Moscow Mule Copper Mug Cup Solid Copper Bar Beer Handmade 14oz Free ShippingVtg Revere Ware 16 Qt- 82 Copper Clad Stainless Steel Stock Pot W/lid Rome N.y.Antique Victorian English Copper Jelly Mold Marked Number 202Original West Bend Copper Pitcher Platter And 6 CupsSmall Copper Pan With Lid France 3mmVtg 1801 Revere Ware 12" Stainless Steel Clad Copper Skillet Frying Pan UsaVintage Revere Ware Stainless Steel Stovetop Copper Clad Pot 8 Cups Percolator