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    

Early Roycroft Hammered Copper Bowl Arts/crafts Circa 1915Antique Victorian Copper Jelly Mould Stepped Cruciform Design Stamped 1863New - All-clad Copper Core 4 Qt. Sauce Pan W/ Lid - Spr $375Vintage French Hammered Copper 10.5" 2mm Stock Pot Saucepan Pan Sauce Mauviel?Vintage Revere Ware Coffee Pot Drip Copper Clad 8 Cup EucVintage Revere Ware 1801 Egg Poacher Insert W/ 4 Cups Fits 8" Copper Clad PanVintage Dehillerin French Copper Saucepan 5.5" 3mm Pan Pot Paris Cookware TinnedPaul Revere 1801 Signature Copper Skillet Wok Fry PanVintage French Hammered Copper 7.25" 2mm Stock Pot Saucepan Pot Sauce Mauviel?Copper Oval Skillet Paul Revere Limited Edition Brass Fish Pan Revere Cook WareVintage Alessi Kettle Copper Bottom By Richard Sapper With Melodic Whistle NrVtg Solid Copper Stainless Steel Revere Ware 1801 6-cup Pot Sauce Pan W Lid UsaPair Of Revere-ware Copper Clad Cooking Pots Brand New! Never Used!Large Copper Cookie Cutter American Flag ~handmade By Michael Bonne - Never UsedBedouin Islamic Dallah Coffee Tea Pot Arabic Middle Eastern Arabia Copper InlayAntique Dovetailed Hand Crafted Copper Candy Kettle-cauldron-apple Butter KettleVintage Dehillerin French Copper Skillet 10.5" 2mm Saute Pan Frying Pot ParisPaul Revere 1801 Signature Copper Sauce Pan Rare Size! Vintage Revere Ware 1801 Copper Clad Stainless 2-8 Cup Drip Coffee Maker Pot UsaVintage/antique Tea Kettle The Simplex Patent Kettle, England Solid CopperVintage Dehillerin French Copper Saucepan 6.5" 2mm Pan Splayed Windsor Pot Sauce3 Pc Revere Ware Copper Clad 8 Qt Stock Pot, Steamer Pan Insert & Lid Usa Vintage Revere Ware Copper Clad 4 Qt Saucepan Pot With Lid Rome, Ny UsaVintage Revere Ware Stainless Steel Copper Bottom Drip Coffee Pot Solid Copper,tumbler,cup,drinking Glass,wb,w B,vintage,old,antique,collectible,Set Of 4 X Hammered Moskow Mule~14oz~pure Copper Mug Beer Cup Best~ Handmade4 Victorian Copper MouldsVtg 1801 Revere Ware Copper Clad Cookware Stock Pot 4.5 & 6 Qt Clinton Ill Nice! Revere Ware 3 Qt Sauce Pot - Pan & Lid Copper Clad 1801 Process Patent Usa Vintage Whistling Copper Tea Kettle Clean!Set Of 4~solid Moscow Mule Pure Solid Copper Cup Mug -14 Oz Ultra Fast ShippingMartha By Mail Set Of Four Copper Cookie CuttersVtg Revere Ware Coffee Percolator Pot 4-6 Cup Copper Clad Maker Stovetop CampingVintage French Hammered Copper 11" Saute Pan Skillet Pot Sauce Dehillerin ParisVintage French Hammered Copper 14" Roasting Pan Dehillerin Gratin Oval Pot ParisVintage 4 Quart Paul Revere Copper Stock Pot Pan With CoverVintage Large Heavy Copper Jam Pot Pan - Old Primitive Original PatinaRevere Ware 1801 Copper Clad 4-10 Cup Stove Top Percolator Coffee Pot Pyrex TopVintage Simplex Chrome Finish Solid Copper Whistling Tea Kettle Made In EnglandOdi Spun Solid Copper 12 Inch Chef Mixing / Whipping 5 Quart Bowl Made In KoreaSet Of 4~ 4 X Moscow Mule Pure Solid Copper Cup Bar Beer Mug ** Fast Shipping ~Vtg 5 Piece Copper Kitchen Utensils Soup Spatula Strainer Rack Cooking LadleCopper Hearts Collection Martha Stewart By Mail Rare-in Box-nrVintage French Hammered Copper 16" Roasting Pan Dehillerin Gratin Oval VilledieuVintage French Hammered Copper 11" Paella Pan Havard Gratin Roasting Tin LinedVintage Paul Revere Copper Cookware Set 7 Qt,3 Qt,1 Qt Stock Sauce Pans&skilletSet Of 4~solid Moscow Mule Pure Solid Copper Cup Mug -14 Oz Ultra Fast ShippingPaul Revere Limited Edition Copper Clad Stock Pot Double Handle 1 QuartVintage Revere Rome Ny Small Trinket Tray With Copper HandlesCoppercraft Guild Small Heavy Petite Copper Tea Kettle W/ Brass Handle And SpoutVintage Copper Teapot Tea Kettle With Porcelain Handle & KnobVtg Revere Ware 3/4 Qt Sauce Pan Stainless Steel Copper Clad Clinton, Ill -87Vintage Copper Milk Ladle Pre-loved/well Used. Great Kitchen Ornament.Revere Ware 8 Piece Copper Clad Bottom Cookware~4 Pans With Lids Vintage Birth-gramm Copper Heart With Flowers Jello Chocolate Mold SwitzerlandVintage Copper Set Of 3 Nesting Mixing Bowls With Brass Rings WowAntique Art Deco Copper Teapot Bird Whistle Beehive StyleVintage Revere Ware Copper Clad Stainless Steel Drip Coffee Pot Hand Hammered Copper Bowl 11”Revere Ware 1801 Copper Clad Stainless Steel Coffee Pot 4 - 8 Cup