National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Copper Kettle Copper Kettle
Rendered by Samuel W. Ford (artist), c. 1939
watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 33 x 32.9 cm (13 x 12 15/16 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 9 of 17

Teakettles were the most popular items made of copper. Domestic copperware was scarce during British colonial rule because the smelting of copper ore was restricted. But, as the number of facilities for the production of sheet copper increased, coppersmiths produced greater varieties of household utensils. This kettle, dated 1799, was made by shaping a copper sheet into a cylinder and then hammering the metal to the desired form. Although the design of copper teakettles was derived from European sources, the outward flare of the body is distinctly American. The curve of the handle, and domed lid, and the roundness of the kettle's body are in contrast with the sleek appearance of the gooseneck spout. Coppersmiths were skilled at their craft and often signed their works. The flat handle of the teakettle provided a convenient surface for the craftsman's mark. This kettle is unmarked but has been engraved instead with the names of its owners and their birth and death dates.

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