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    

5 Pc $800 Professional Mauviel French Heavy Copper Cookware Set Skillet FryLarge Antique Zinc Lined Covered Copper New England Clam Lobster Bake PotMartha Stewart Martha By Mail Giant Copper Cookies Cutters Christmas Tree +houseAntique Heavy Large Solid Copper Pot Pan Kettle Cauldron Apple Butter CandyCopper Fry Skillet Pan Heavy Thick 8 Lb 4 Oz. Made In France Professional Chef`sHuge Late 19th Century Solid Copper Kitchen Mixing Bowl By Dehillerin, Paris.Martha By Mail Snowflake Copper Cookie Cutter CollectionVintage Hammered Copper Mixing Bowl 9 1/2Vintage Oval Copper Tray W/handlesCopper Saute Pan Heavy Thick 4 Lb. 8 Oz. Made In France Professional Chef`sMartha Stewart Copper A Perfect Cup Of Tea Cookie Cutter Signed Rare Nib Vintage Revere Ware Copper Clad 8 C Percolator No. 1518Copper Stock Pan Heavy Thick 4 Lb. 3 Oz. Made In France Professional Chef`sMartha By Mail Martha Stewart Copper Cookie Cutters Leaf CanapesRevere Ware 8 Qt Tall Stock Pot Stainless Steel Copper Clad W/ Lid Steel HandlesCopper 10.5" Mixing Bowl Minimal WearCirca 1940/50s Copper Toastmaster Toaster, Model 1b14... Working ConditionPaul Revere 1 Qt Copper And Stainless Steel Sauce Pan Huge Vintage Copper Clad Bottom Revere Ware 12" Skillet Fry Pan Chicken FryerMartha Stewart Barnyard Hen 8" Chicken Copper Cookie Cutter Michael BonneRuffoni Made In Italy Copper 6 1/4"x 4 1/2" Sauce Pan/potE.dehillerin 10.5" Copper Bowl - Made In FranceVintage Copper Pot French Style Lined With Stainless SteelVintage Revere Ware Copper Clad 12 Inch Skillet Process Patent 2363973 RiversideVintage Large Solid Copper Cookie Cutter "barnyard Hen" 8"Cannele: Copper Tin Lined Mold (matfer Bourgeat)Martha Stewart Hatching Bunny 8" Copper Cookie Cutter Michael BonneVintage Matfer Hand Hammered Copper Pot With Brass Handle 3.75 Quart FranceVintage Turkey, Bunny And Lamb Chocolate Candy Molds Antique Cast Iron, Copper Copper Sauce Pan Heavy Thick 3 Lb. 6 Oz. Made In France Professional Chef`s Vintage Williams Sonoma 11" Heavy Solid Copper Mixing Beating Bowl FranceSet Of 4 ~ Holiday Sale Moskow Mule Copper Pure And Solid Mugs Cups Free ShippinThe Simplex Whistling Kettle Patent Solid Copper W/coil Base Chrome Exterior EucSet Of Three Vintage Ransburg Pink Metal Canisters Copper LidsAntique Spain Made Graduating Brass & Copper Tobacco Humidor Canister Set Nr YqzVintage Antique Heavy Hammered Copper/brass Teapot- Handmade Very Rustic And Vintage Hand Hammered Copper Bowl Signed By Enrique Avalos Chile Arts & CraftsAntique 7 Inch Tall Victorian Copper Jelly Cake Mold Benham And Froud?Elegant Antique Victorian Copper Jelly Cake Mold Oval Crown DesignAntique French Fleur De Lis Copper Egouttoir / Cuisine Utensils & Hanging RackAntique Williams & Sonoma Copper Pot Sauce Pan With Lid Three Quarts ExcellentE Dehillerin Vintage 8" Copper Sauté Pan With LidMartha Stewart Copper Cookie Cutter Giant Sugar SquirrelMartha Stewart Copper Neptune's Sea Horse Cookie Cutter - SignedAntique Iron Handle Hammered Copper Tin Sauce Pot Pan Lid 12Havard 7.5" French Hammered Copper Sauce Pan Splayed Tin 8" W X 3 3/4" DMartha Stewart Dove & Bell Copper Cookie CutterCopper Frying Sauté Pan Antique Made In France Very HeavyDouro Copper And Ceramic 6 Cup Double Boiler B&m Inc. Made In PortugalVintage Copper Measuring Cups And Spoons Wall HangersVintage Copper Funnel With Hook Metalware Funnel Kitchen Utensil Bottega Navarini Vintage Copper Funnel Kitchen Cookware Utensil Italy SignedRevere Ware 16 Qt. Clinton, Il With Glass Cover And Copper Bottom.Vintage Handmade Islamic Small Hammered Copper Pot Cauldron Kettle VasCopper Crest Stainless Percolator Coffee Maker Copper Bottom Usa VintageEmeril By All-clad 10" Stainless Steel Copper Core Skillet Sauce Pot Saute PanVintage Copper Measuring Cups, 4 Cups Included.Old Copper Acorn Bowl Planter Pot Vase Large Vtg Mid Century Modern Copper Bar Cocktail Tray EamesExtremely Rare Jos Heinrichs Paris N.y. Sterling Silver Lined Pure Copper Pan