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Apr 15, 2010 06:25 PM

Copper Cookware ID??

A local woman is selling a set of copper cookware. I went to check them out for possible purchase as she said didn't know much about them. They are copper with iron handles. There are no identifying marks except that some (all?) of the handles/helper handles have a number stamped into them. The rivets are a silver colored metal, and the interior has the concentric circle/ spun metal look, so I'm guessing they are stainless lined as the tin I'm familiar with is smoother. The pots also had/have lacquer on them. Do "better" copper cookware companies use lacquer? I didn't measure, but my guess is they are around 1.5- 2mm walls, give or take. She has had them for over 10 years, mostly as display, though some have been cooked in.

We did use a weak magnet to see if it would be attracted to the lining, but it wasn't. Is there any simple test to determine if a lining is stainless or tin? Like putting vinegar in it or something simple like that?

Thanks for you help! It will be interesting to learn what you know and see if anyone can ID them. :)

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  1. Have you held these, or only looked at pictures? Are they as heavy as you'd expect for copper? Look carefully at the edges of the pans so you can see where the lining is joined to the copper.

    My first guess is that those are actually aluminum pans that are copper plated.

    If the lining was tin, the rivets holding the handles on would be copper. Thus, the rivets are either stainless or aluminum and the lining definitely isn't tin.

    Grab a good knife and scratch the interior. Aluminum is softer than stainless, and the knife will leave a good scratch if the interior (and thus the whole pan) is aluminum. Just be sure to test in an unobtrusive spot.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ThreeGigs

      I did hold them, and they were heavier than aluminum, for certain. I should probably clarify that the interior is "spun", but the exteriors are smooth and most have lacquer still around the iron handles. Thanks for confirming the lining/rivet connection.

      What do you know about the lacquer situation? Is this common or only on certain pans, or...?

      1. re: dost

        I would say beware of buying something like copper pots unless you can verify where they come from. I have collected Mauviel French copper over the years and have been very happy with it. The best bet is to get French copper-- whether tin-lined or stainless lined. I prefer stainless lining because you never have to have it relined. There is a good deal of copper cookware coming out of Korea which is nickel lined and with a varnish on it and it is intended for decoration rather than cooking. I would be concerned about the potential health-risks involved in cooking with something not intended for cooking. If it's too good to be true it probably is. French pots tend to be marked as are the Italian ones. They will say Mauviel France, Ruffoni Italy etc. I believe that tin lined French pans have a coating that needs to be washed off first. If you are located near a Williams Sonoma or a Sur La Table you can closely examine the high quality pieces coming out of France and Italy and compare them. See if you can take a picture of the set that you were looking at for the sake of comparison.

        1. re: htasch

          I decided against the pans. I'm not much of a "set" person anyway. I think the seller believes these are wonderful, well-made pans. I myself am not so convinced. I ended up purchasing a single pan from elsewhere that truly spoke to my heart. Now I need to look for a trustworthy re-tinner that won't keep my pan for six months, AND will do an excellent job (unlike a previous tinning job by the Metal coating company). Is that really so much to ask? :D

          It's so great to read the helpful knowledge that is shared!!

          1. re: dost

            There is Fante's in Philadelphia, but what I would do is write the home and garden editor of your local newspaper...they will have recommendations.

            1. re: E_M

              Thank you- What a great recommendation!

      2. re: ThreeGigs

        ThreeGigs, I'm puzzled by your statement that if the lining were tin, the rivets would be copper, since that doesn't seem to be the case with my tin-lined 2 mm copper pan, made in France, with the traditional riveted-on heavy iron handle. Inside the pan, the rivet heads are coated with tin; and on the outside, the rivet ends (or whatever they're called) appear to be iron, or at least some silver-gray metal. Seems unlikely to me that the parts of the rivets would be made of different materials, so I'd guess that they're all iron. How can one tell?

        1. re: Miss Priss

          The clue was "there are no identifying marks".

          I'm willing to bet yours are marked "Fabrique en Francaise" (and are probably Baumalu). I believe they use some sort of Monel alloy rivets for stuff made in Villedieu that isn't Mauviel or hand-hammered. It *has* to be something special because getting tin to reliably stick to stainless steel is a rather problematic proposition. Thus most makers stick to tried-and-true copper rivets for their tin-lined pans.

          1. re: ThreeGigs

            Interesting--thanks! My pan is, indeed, made by Baumalu. I actually have a couple of them, but haven't used them yet. The tin linings look very thin, but the pans were so inexpensive that I'm reconciled to the idea of having them re-tinned almost immediately.

      3. I'm betting these are aluminum-lined pans made by a company in Ontario Canada. Neither good nor bad, but not worth much of a purchase price.

        It is also possible that the linings are indeed tin. The tin could be applied over tooled striations in the copper, or the wiping marks of the rosin-coated rag might just LOOK concentric.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Are you saying that Baumalu pans are not very good? I just bought a few and the copper seems amazingly think compared to the Mauviel I have seen ..While the tin is thin.. compared to the Ruffoni I have ( tin twice as thick as the Baumalu) does that make one pot Better then the other? I am concerned now.
          How do you rank them. My Baumalu says "made in France" or some such thing. I don't have the best eyesight but I could the that. Now I'm fretting....

        2. I would def say they are machined alumium with copper coating - I got done over buying a (5) set of these once (my first copper purchase) from a seller in france - i went by gauge and not weight! and when I sent them back to france the seller ignored the post office customs request and they got sent back to me in NZ! when NZ post wanted cash for the 3rd trip back I abandoned them (over 200 GBP later) probably ended up in an auckland auctionhouse for another sucker to buy!
          Excuse the long story but the short of it is stay away from them - only usefull for display. Buy individual pans of quality.
          SORRY JUST SAW HOW OLD ORIGINAL POST WAS - oh well its a usefull tip i guess