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Coppermill Kitchen, established by Beth Ann Sweeney, is a luxury brand of restored European antique copper cookware and CMK products, Coppermill Kitchen’s private label.
Coppermill Kitchen’s restored antique copper cookware includes unique pieces created centuries ago and can only be found in Europe. Coppermill Kitchen is distinguished by our selection of handmade detail, whether in the maker’s mark, dovetailing, thick gauge copper, shape, or history of each treasure.
It is in the streets of historic European towns where Coppermill Kitchen finds treasures to share. Often these rustic beauties need some love and care and when fully restored, echo of a simpler time long ago. Each restored antique copper cookware product in the Coppermill Kitchen collection is a reminder of its history and painstaking labor and artistry that went into creating them. Our restored antique copper cookware is restored in America.
In 2013 Coppermill Kitchen launched CMK products, inspired by antique and unique pieces that were well received and recreated in America. The CMK product line continues to expand. Today we feature our CMK Single Serving Bowl, CMK Tea Towel Collection, CMK Olive Tray, and our CMK Jubilee Mould. Coming soon are the CMK Ice Cream Bombe and CMK Napkin Ring.
Copper has been used for more than 500 years and continues to be the centerpiece to any sophisticated kitchen today. Although copper can be used simply as elegant décor, master chefs throughout the world have traditionally used copper cookware for its unique characteristics and its ability to produce the finest cuisines.
Copper has a superior heat transmission, which requires less heat to cook. This process preserves the nutritional value as well as the delicate flavors and aromas of each dish. For comparison, stainless steel has a very low heat transmission, which creates hot spots where food will stick and burn to the cookware.
There are several characteristics the Coppermill Kitchen selects before buying our vintage copper, such as thickness, maker’s mark, dovetailed seams, rivets and handles, and the lining.
One of the more important properties of copper cookware is the thickness of the piece. During the Industrial Revolution copper was hammered into sheets by hand. This made for thicker copper than rolled by machine. During the 20th Century, copper cookware pieces started to become thinner to save cost and time. Some manufactures, however, continued to make thicker pieces. The thicker and heavier pieces are of the highest quality and most sought after. Copper cookware that is 2.5 mm and more has the best heat distribution. Today, modern copper production uses a thinner copper material than vintage copper cookware from France and England in an effort to be more profitable. While buying pieces for the Coppermill collection, we purposefully chose earlier periods of copper for their thickness, quality, character, and rich history.
Select pieces in Coppermill Kitchen’s collection have been carefully selected as each has a special story told through its unique maker’s mark. A maker’s mark is a personalized stamp, often used to date the piece, that copper makers would place on their pieces as a way to signify their cookware. A marker’s mark was also used as a way of branding a particular shop from which they were sold or restaurants in which they were used.
One of our favorite maker’s mark and the most renowned is that of the British origin Benham and Froud featuring an orb and a cross. In 1821 the company from which they evolved from made the orb and cross that was placed on top of the dome of Saint Palis Cathedral in London. This was the mark that was used for their emblem from 1855-1924.
Dovetailed seams are painstakingly difficult, which require a great amount of time, extraordinary skill, and master craftsmanship. It is regarded as a true antique. These seams usually go up along each side and around to the bottom of each piece. We love dovetailed copper cookware for its beauty as well as our appreciation of its artistry.
Rivets and Handles
Early copper cookware handles were held in place with rivets made by hand and usually fabricated from iron or steel. Brass handles or metal rivets on a saucepan could also signify a later date.
The lining on copper cookware not only puts on a beautiful finishing touch, but it is also practical. Foods high in acid can form something called copper acetates on copper and should not be ingested. The tin lining acts as a protective layer against this. Most modern manufacturers line their mass-produced copper cookware with stainless steel. The Coppermill Kitchen collection features tin lined copper cookware because tin lining has almost twice the thermal conductivity of aluminum, five times more than cast iron, and twenty-five times more than stainless steel. Despite its sticky properties and its ability to hold on to food, stainless steel is still the most widely used lining in modern copper cookware because it is less expensive to manufacture. The higher quality tin is a non-stick surface and food will simply lift off the surface. Tin lining is also naturally antimicrobial.
Care for your Copper
There are a few suggestions when working with vintage copper cookware lined with tin. When tin lining begins to wear and exposes the copper beneath, it should be re-tinned. Once a copper cookware piece is re-tinned it can last up to 10 years if treated carefully. The thickest of tin, however, cannot withstand the sharpness of metal and should only be stirred or scraped with wooden or plastic utensils. Tin can melt at about 450 degrees so copper cookware should never be left empty on an open flame or it may melt. If you burn food in your tin lined vintage copper cookware, just simply put it in your sink to soak in soap and water and then it will clean off easily.
Coppermill Kitchen’s collection of vintage cookware, which encompasses all of these brilliant features, is the reason I’m so passionate about what I do.