SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales


Welcome to the Silver Salon Forums !
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!

Flatware/Holloware - non silver Forum

The Silver Salon Forums are open to anyone with an interest in silver and a willingness to share. Know little or nothing about silver? Don't worry! Anyone with a genuine desire to explore the subject of silver and related metal crafts is welcome.



Favorites: (9/09/07) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


REGISTER (click here) How to Post Photos


customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  Flatware/Holloware - non silver Forum
tline3open  Dating Dovetail Seams - Copper Tea Kettle

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Dating Dovetail Seams - Copper Tea Kettle
SusanT

Posts: 104
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 06-27-2007 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SusanT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1436]

I'm trying to date a copper teakettle I've had for decades by way of style and dovetail seams. This is the only metal forum I know of that might be of help. Using the "Search" engine did find another thread talking about copper with dovetail seams but no one ventured any info.

A description:
7" high to top of lid finial, 9" to top of handle, 6�" diameter base, 9�" wide to tip of spout. round dome cover with scroll finial; gooseneck spout has drip lid; �" wide flat handle that raises and lowers; hand-cut irregular dovetail seams soldered with brass around base and side.

I have found conflicting info online on this and a similar copper teakettle - one dates it c1900 and another 1700s. One antique site has this **identical** teakettle and said it was Dutch and dated 1900. I emailed the dealer asking specific questions on size, why Dutch as country of origin, and why 1900. The dealer wrote back giving only the specific measurements and no info why called Dutch and a 1900 date.

Another antique site had a copper teakettle with identical spout, dovetail seams, brass solder, round cover but a different round-shaped body. Description given:

"Spectacular Antique18th Century Georgian Copper Kettle ~ Circa 1730's-40's. Superbly hand hammered with hand-cut dovetailing and soldering. Fine honeycomb hand hammering texture on lid and body. Wonderful, rich patina. Ripple crease in handle from copper sheet rolling prior to cutting shape. Dovetailing joint cuts around base and side are irregular, large and widely spaced, characteristic of 1700's dovetail construction (simple straight seams began to replace dovetail construction during the 1800's). Dovetail side seam runs under and above spout. The seams are soldered with brass, the handle is riveted to body with copper rivets. Gooseneck spout has attractive hinged flap. Both the body and lid are lined with tin, a common practice during this period, to prevent the chemical reactions some foods/liquids had on copper which resulted in a tainted taste. The Kettle measures 8�" tall x 6" wide across the body, 8" wide including the spout."

Is this website correct in dating the irregular large dovetail to the 1700s and in calling it Georgian in style?

Here are pics of my teakettle and of the seams on the bottom and side.

TIA.

--- Susan

IP: Logged

agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem is that this needs an expert in this medium, who has seem hundreds and knows what is old vs. new. As far as I know this type of kettle is still being made in places where coppersmithing is still a living art.

The lap joint is used in copper smithing still and only as an excersise or special circumstance in silversmithing.

Good luck.

IP: Logged

FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. There are large parts of the world - especially Africa and Asia - where pieces are still being made like this, for everyday use as well as tourist trade. And they do turn up in some of the large antiques shows, often by the dozens with no intent to defraud as old.

This particular one does not look, stylistically, like the modern Asian and North African ones that I've seen. The overall shape, spout shape, handle bracket, finial on the lid - all look fairly distinctive, and as a whole are probably diagnostic. But only to someone who really knows their copper pots. Not too helpful, I know, but at least we do confirm the difficulty....

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don’t know if refining “old copper” is like refining “old silver”? But if the results are similar then the “old copper” could have many more trace elements than the modern refined copper and X-ray Fluorescence spectrographic analysis could be used.

Using X-ray Fluorescence spectrographic analysis to reveal that an Silver object wasn’t as old as it appears to be is often done. X-ray Fluorescence spectrographic analysis has been discussed before in these threads:

IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Likewise I am not a copper expert by any means, but as the others have mentioned dating an object such as this that has been widely made around the world for many centuries, using style and feel alone is something that might best be left to the small handful of experts in museums who have handled literally hundreds of authentic and non-authentic antique copperware objects. Copper is so soft and reactive that patina alone would be of minimal use. Also, the relative skills, techniques, and amount of handwork that goes into copperware that is still being made in workshops today makes this measure of very limited use as well.

The most certain way to know the date of production of something like this is to have some exceptionally strong provenance that traces it back in time and place, or to have it have been excavated from a dateable archeological site. Unfortunately, very few objects like this that are not in museums have this kind of pedigree.

In the end you may need to simply decide to enjoy your pot for its intrinsic artistic merits and not ever know if it is 20 years old and made in Asia or Africa or elsewere, or 200 years old and made in Europe or America.

IP: Logged

SusanT

Posts: 104
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SusanT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you one and all for your input! At least I'm not in the minority as to dating this tea kettle - no idea! ;^) As Kimo said: "In the end you may need to simply decide to enjoy your pot for its intrinsic artistic merits..."

I do know this kettle is at least 70 years old for I have had it myself for 40 years and an aunt had it at least 30 years before that. I suspect it probably dates c1900. I doubt reproductions from Africa and Asia took over the market before WWII. My mother thought it might have passed down to my paternal aunt from her grandmother, my great-grandmother, but definitely no proof of that assumption at this time.

Thanks you again for taking the time in giving your opinions.

--- Susan

IP: Logged

ajlewisbrookes

Posts: 5
Registered: May 2007

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ajlewisbrookes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think my first post was lost. My wife inherited a similar object. She asked me to research it. This is what I found. The widely spaced crude Dovetails are earlier than 1860, after that date, they became tighter and smaller, by 1900 the joints were lapped (www.oldcopper.com). Yours appears to be earlier than 1860,judging by the Dovetails. The country of origin and maker is unknown to me.

We were fortunate to have an English registry mark, so we can be sure of it's maker and date.

Blessings, from a novice

IP: Logged

Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 06-28-2007 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What part of the US was this found in? In the upper midwest, there are numerous Scandavian copper objects. These were both brought by early immigrants, made here and later imports. Other ethnic groups also had their own copper traditions and items.

My impression is that copper does not vary much from place to place. And that knowing an origin does help pin it down.

Yours is too small to be a laundry kettle. How much does it hold? Does it appear to have been used on a stove top? Or over an open flame? Does it sit level or is it prone to wobbling? Very old kettles were suspended from a hook over a fire, so that flatness on the bottom was not a major issue.

IP: Logged

jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 06-29-2007 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello!
I ran your post by a friend who has made these observations.
quote:
Based on the pictures available I would identify this kettle as Near Eastern, probably Iranian, and made in the first half of the 20th century or perhaps just a bit earlier. The pot, squat and visually heavy, is somewhat reminiscent of the form of 18th century English pots, but it lacks the overall fineness of construction, especially in the cast pieces, a cast finial, and the neat, careful dovetail work common to that period and place. The comparatively rough workmanship of both the sheet and the casting, the brazing, and especially the finial, fashioned of a simple strip bent into a ring, are all familiar earmarks of 20th century Iranian copper work.

I'd be slow to call it a "fake" however, because there would have been numerous examples of period English pots available throughout the Near East, left over from the British colonial period, and probably widely copied in the copper- and brass-making cities of the region for use by both natives and tourists alike.


Hope this may be of some additional help.
Jersey

IP: Logged

SusanT

Posts: 104
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 06-29-2007 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SusanT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
The widely spaced crude Dovetails are earlier than 1860, after that date, they became tighter and smaller, by 1900 the joints were lapped (www.oldcopper.com). Yours appears to be earlier than 1860, judging by the Dovetails.

Thank you, ajlewisbrooks, for this info!!! This appears to be similar info that one of the sellers of a tea kettle I found online had also. That seller was on a very **reputable** antique site. I went on over to the oldcopper.com site but couldn't find any help.

quote:
What part of the US was this found in?

Dale, the kettle was of New England. My aunt was born in CT and later lived in RI. Her grandmother - my great-grandmother - was born in Woodstock, VT, and later married and moved to CT. Her family roots were of VT, the CT River valley, and dating back to the early 1600s in Plymouth. Darn, no mid-west Scandinavian connection to this kettle that I know of. As to this passing down from my great-grandmother to my aunt, was a supposition my mother purposed over 20 years ago. Of course my aunt could have picked it up in an antique shop back in the 1920s or 1930s. She had a houseful of antiques. All these folks are long gone - I’m it! As I’m involved in genealogy research and with antiques (especially like to research family pieces), I know one thing I’m going to do once I pass through the pearly gates, go around shaking my finger at the ancestors and saying: “Couldn’t you have taken a moment or two and written something down!!!!” frown

quote:
How much does it hold? Does it appear to have been used on a stove top? Or over an open flame?

The kettle holds 3 qts. right up to the brim of the collar and before it starts running out the spout. The sides do not appear to have been subjected to fire; however, there is some black on the bottom. The bottom is relatively flat but may be a bit bowed outwardly.

quote:
Near Eastern, probably Iranian, and made in the first half of the 20th century or perhaps just a bit earlier. The pot, squat and visually heavy, is somewhat reminiscent of the form of 18th century English pots, but it lacks the overall fineness of construction, especially in the cast pieces, a cast finial, and the neat, careful dovetail work common to that period and place. The comparatively rough workmanship of both the sheet and the casting, the brazing, and especially the finial, fashioned of a simple strip bent into a ring, are all familiar earmarks of 20th century Iranian copper work.

Jersey, very interesting! Thank you for taking the time of asking your friend. He/she certainly made good points. If this is from the 20th century shouldn't it have country of origin on it. It was the law of the land from either the 1890s or 1920s - never can remember the dates for country and Made in ... that must be on all imports. I have gone over it with the proverbial fine tooth comb and find no marks, British registry numbers, or anything else. As to "..lacks the overall fineness of construction..", this might be explained by being handcrafted (at least partial handcrafted) in colonial America??? No doubt many pieces were brought back to England from India and the far and near east by the Victorians during that empire's heyday which could date from 1860s to 1900, possibly before the time the country of origin edict was declared through out the land.

I took the cover off this morning (in hopes someone left a note - no such luck) - really had to work to get it off! I bet it hasn’t been off for a good 40 years - I don’t remember ever taking it off myself. The interior of the body and cover are tin lined. Gee, the interior of the body is a mess! It is dull, discolored and looks like quite a build-up of calcium/mineral or whatever from holding water. The interior of the cover still has some of the original tin shine plus a little rust. The inside rim of the cover that fits over the top of kettle was a mess with tin corrosion. The collar/top of the kettle that the cover fits on was a mess also with green junk, worn down to the tin in several spots, and tin corrosion, etc. I have polished the copper of the kettle’s top but can’t reduce the grit, grime and corrosion on the inside rim of the cover. I hate to put the cover back on for may never get it off again. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m afraid to try to grind the inside rim of the cover to reduce the tin corrosion and/or build-up and certainly do not want to grind the copper outside edge of the kettle that the cover fits onto. Would something like Vaseline or Teflon wrapped around the kettle top and then try to slide the cover on damage the copper finish?

Thanks again to one and all for all the info!

--- Susan

IP: Logged

Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 06-29-2007 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sometimes the built up crud yields to polydent or other denture cleaners. Just fill with water, drop in pills and wait a bit. This may need to be done a number of times.

IP: Logged

FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 06-30-2007 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm with Jersey and her friend on this. The lack of a country stamp is unfortunately meaningless; regardless of the law (which I'm not sure of), I've seen hundreds or pieces of metalwork - even made in the last few years, let alone earlier in the last century - with no such markings. There are undoubtedly loopholes, and just plain violations.

That bit about the size of the dovetails may well be true when talking about England/America, maybe even western Europe in general, but it certainly doesn't apply globally. I've seen them on 20C Russian pieces, for example, and I think also on Scandinavian.

I'll let others opine on lubrication. I'd probably be inclined to use a light mineral oil, but any oiling will affect the process of patination.

IP: Logged

vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 06-30-2007 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've seen 4 or 5 very similar pieces over the past few years and with the same curlicue finial to the lid, some of which did not look old at all. Possible a regional style that continues to be made to this day.

IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-02-2007 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first instinct is this is a more recent production - perhaps less than 100 years old.

Your thought that the relative crudeness might be attributed to it being the work of a colonial American coppersmith is not convincing to me since you need to remember the colonial American coppersmiths (and silversmiths) were for the most part fully trained British (or sometimes other continental countries) smiths who had emmigrated to the colonies. Even their apprentices were usually pretty well trained by their masters in the continental techniques of smithing though over time they tended to insert more of their personal flair into their designs. In general one should not equate colonial metalwork with crude metalwork.

The Iranian - Near Eastern line of thinking makes some sense to me. I also agree that marking with country of origin is not anything that is of much help when looking at less expensive objects such as copper.

When you say the inside is a mess, is it just mineral deposits from water or is it possible that the inside was never finely finished?

IP: Logged

SusanT

Posts: 104
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 07-05-2007 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SusanT     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale, thank you for the polydent suggestion! I will give it a try.

Kimo, no doubt your "first instinct is this is a more recent production - perhaps less than 100 years old" is correct.

quote:
When you say the inside is a mess, is it just mineral deposits from water or is it possible that the inside was never finely finished?

Definitely well finished inside. The mess is mineral deposits. I was able to scrap some of it off.

Thank you all for the opinions and suggestions - just what I was wanting! smile

--- Susan

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a


1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.


| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2019 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices