This handsome heavy gauge copper syrup jug with its natural, warm aged patina was expertly constructed in the first half of the nineteenth century. About 1850, coppersmiths began spinning copper on lathes instead of hand hammering items, although some continued to use traditional construction methods, primarily in rural areas. The craftsman who made this prime example did not sign his work, which is typical.
The pitcher was formed by cutting a rectangle of copper, hammering the edges thin and making tabs (commonly called dovetails) that were folded over to form the cylinder that makes up the bottom portion. A circle of copper was cut for the bottom and attached using the same crimping technique. The upper portion containing the funnel spout was formed as a separate piece that was also dovetailed on. The handle was made of a strip of copper folded over, shaped and attached with a handmade copper rivet. The pitcher has hand hammered surfaces that look especially good by candlelight or firelight. All of these construction details are very evident on the piece and in our photographs.
The jug stands 7 3/4 inches tall to the very tip of the curvy, folded spout. It measures 7 inches from the lip of spout to tip of handle and the bottom diameter is 4 1/2 inches. The weight is 1 1/4 pounds. It is in exceptional condition; the only indented area is to the right of the seam under the handle, and given the even patina there, it may have occurred while it was being made. This is a hard to find example of early hand made copper kitchenware.
By: Linda Henrich
Photos By: Wayne Henrich