National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Cookie Cutter Cookie Cutter
Rendered by Franklyn Syres (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 26.7 x 23.2 cm (10 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 5 of 17

Ironware cast at the foundry or wrought by a blacksmith was heavy and cumbersome. In contrast, the lightness of tinplate made it a popular metal for plain and decorative household utensils. Tinplate was made from thin sheets of iron coated with molten tin. This combination of metals is rustproof, with the strength and rigidity of iron but the malleability and lightness of tin. This tin cookie cutter was a common item made by Pennsylvania German tinsmiths. It may have been used by a housewife or by a gingerbread baker. The horse and rider pattern shown here was popular. Other common patterns were deer, stars, eagles, and the traditional gingerbread boy. The figure, which provided the cutting edge, was shaped of thin tin ribbons that were soldered to a flat base. Because cookie cutters were made by the local tinsmith or by amateur craftsmen, the simple but imaginative shapes display a true folk art quality.

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