The Best Handmade Copper Pots In America



- [Jim] I've been making

copper cookware for 15 years.

It's a passion for the process of creation

and the tools of creation,

choosing a high-performance tool

that have soul and have meaning behind it,

it changes kinda how

you think about cooking.

Copper has a great heat conductivity,

the heat from that flame is

going to be spread very quickly

around the pan such that

you've got a nice

evenly-heated cooking surface

to cook at the same

rate all around the pan.

A great high-performance tool.

(upbeat music)

The copper that we're

using here is pure copper.

It's a great electrical conductor

as well as a great heat

conductor so it's used in wiring.

It's a very important metal

in how we are existing these days.

The big copper producers

in the world are Chile -

there's a lot of volcanic

activity around there

so they do have a lot of

mines and a lot minerals.

Our blank disc which has been trimmed,

cut out from the sheet of copper.

So here we've got a spinning lathe,

we need to make this piece of

copper, push it over the tool

so the tool becomes the inside.

Every pan that we make has

a different-shaped tool.

This tool is heavy, heavy, heavy steel,

and it's only going to make that one pan.

(gentle music)

So the first thing I wanna do

is center the piece of copper

and we'll get it roughly centered here.

The tooling itself is a two-man job.

The first person is putting the pressure.

The second man has a roller.

It's going back and forth on the work.

It's very much a dance, you

have to be in each other's heads

to be able to spin this perfectly.

Fernando has been working with

me for about 10 years now,

well-entrenched in copper cookware.

I'm a mechanical engineer undergrad,

a Master's degree in

aerospace engineering,

so real-life rocket scientist.

I love to build stuff, I love to create.

Certainly the mechanical

engineering is front and center.

Gonna move down one more set of holes,

continuing the same process

but moving it closer

and closer to the tool.

Last little bit here, very

nice, hold it, hold it slow.

Nice, and stop.

Good, let's change for the other roller.

That was good.

These tools were all made specifically

for spinning these very thick copper pans.

Very hard steel to polish that

because any little nick in there is going

to mark the copper every

single time it goes around.

We're eight feet away from

what we're working on.

Over time, we added

some extra strength here

to really hold it nice and firm.

Nice, and come up.

Nice.

The other roller is more pointy

and it wants to move the metal.

The fatter roller will get

rid of some of these lines

and make it more smooth.

Nice, and down.

Excellent.

Nice.

A little practice makes perfect.

(tense music)

Being that it's handmade,

those spinning lines aren't like a press

where it was just pressed into this shape

with hydraulic press, very

different way of manufacturing.

So this tool here is going to

be locked in with this bolt.

Has a little knife on the

edge to cut the pan to height.

We need a little cutting oil on the tool

to help keep it cool.

(tense string music)

(whirring)

We'll usually finish

the outside of the pan,

we'll use a number of

different sandpapers.

In an artisan fashion,

every piece is gonna be slightly

different than the next.

I was on a vacation in France,

my wife and I found this huge stockpot

and she looked at it and said,

"I love it, but look at the inside."

And it was green, and she said,

"I'm not gonna cook in that."

"If we buy it, you're

gonna have to fix it."

That was the pan that

started the whole thing.

I brought it home and read

about what I needed to do,

tried fixing it, and think I tried

that thing seven, eight times.

And finally the art of

it kind of clicked in.

I put a little ad out there,

people started sending me their pans

and I started finding these

amazing pieces coming back,

and I really didn't expect

to find such history in it.

And I said, "I wanna be able to make stuff

and sell stuff that is

of this same quality."

This is what it should

be, this is what it was.

Cast iron is a very

poor conductor of heat.

The heat from the pan is gonna travel

up the handle very slowly.

What we're going to do next here is take

our cast iron handle,

which has been poured

at a local foundry, and

we're gonna attach it

with these rivets.

We're using the piece of wood as a gauge

to know that that's where the handle goes.

(playful music)

We've gotta rivet three rivets,

the first rivet is the middle one.

We're gonna take that over to the anvil.

So we're gonna heat the

tails of the rivets.

(drilling)

(hammering)

(drilling)

So from here we've got nice

even shapes on all three rivets.

They're laying nice and

flat up against the pan

so no leaking.

The genesis of my business being Duparquet

really came out of the restoration.

I started learning about the brands

that were coming back to me.

The biggest player of the day was DH&M.

Duparquet, a gentleman

named Huot, H-U-O-T,

and Moneuse, DH&M.

That business began about 1855.

The big start for these guys

was getting one of their ranges

into Delmonico's in New

York City back in the day.

With the Depression coming

on in the early '30s,

almost all of these guys

went out of business.

That mark had been abandoned.

I went out and I

re-registered that trademark,

making pieces in the same vein

and same quality as they did.

This is an old Duparquet DH&M piece

that says The Ambassador

Hotel, Ambassador New York.

I'd put this at about 1920.

Gorgeously big rivets about

the size of a quarter.

Classic American cookware from that era.

The teardrop, this was a very French style

of end of the handle for hanging it up.

All of those elements inspired my designs.

It was definitely to

honor the original brand.

Restorations will start out

with something like this.

Having this relined with fresh tin,

polished up on the outside brings it back

to be able to use again.

These are all individual clients

that have sent in their pieces.

Everybody's got a story about

where they got their copper from.

Look at this fish poacher.

A fish would be sitting on this insert

and you'd be able to lift the entire fish.

This is American, early 1900s,

wonderful large saucepan.

Here's another great piece.

This is from the Waldorf

Astoria, when the Waldorf existed

where the Empire State

Building presently is

and it was torn down in probably the '30s.

So this is a great piece

with a lot of history

and a great stamp on it.

To find something like this

to have in your own

kitchen is spectacular.

The next step is to line the pan.

I need to coat it on the outside

with a little bit of whiting,

and this whiting is just ground marble.

So this is just protection on the outside.

Tin is a very soft metal,

it can be bent very easily

and it melts at a very low temperature

so it melts at about 470 degrees.

The lining is there to

separate the acidic foods

from the copper.

Acidic foods in raw copper

are going to leech the copper

off of the pan.

If we took white vinegar

and wiped it on the inside

of a raw piece of copper,

let it sit for 24 hours

and came back the next day,

it's gonna give you that green verdigris

that you know about copper.

You want it to last a long time,

so you want to get a thick

layer of tin that looks great

and it takes a lot of heart

and a lot of practice.

The backsides have

gotten a little tarnished

throughout the process.

Gonna give them a little wash

and then we're gonna be off to a polish.

(gentle music)

We've got two different

polishing compounds

very similar to sandpaper.

This stronger wheel here is gonna be first

and we're gonna be able to take off

all of the little

microscratches that we had.

The compound is more important

than the brushes themselves.

A low-grit sandpaper takes

the material off the pan.

And then the final polish.

So these are softer.

The white one here is a

higher-grit sandpaper,

takes all the little microscratches off.

This really brightens it up.

After a final wash, we'll put a logo on it

and we'll have a pan ready to cook.

(upbeat music)

When I started getting some

press early on in doing this,

a couple of the family

members contacted me

and they were thrilled that

I was making pieces again

under essentially the

name of their ancestors.

I was thrilled to be

able to put that together

and learn a little bit more

about the business from them.

You wish that this thing

could tell the stories

of who cooked in it and

what did they cook in it.

What was life like in these times?

It's a really special pan.

I don't know if these

gentlemen thought that

we'd be doing this 100 years

later and we are, it's great.

I hope 100 years from now

there's somebody out

there finding my piece

and pass down from

generation to generation.

That's to me what these pans should be.

(upbeat tinkling music)

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