National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Tin Coffee Pot Tin Coffee Pot
Rendered by Carl Strehlau (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 41.5 x 33.5 cm (16 5/16 x 13 3/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 10" wide; 10 1/2" high
Index of American Design
1943.8.17979
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 7 of 17

Because tin is unable to withstand hard use, most plain domestic articles have not survived. In contrast, decorated tinware, commonly presented as gifts and reserved for display, remains in relatively good condition. Some tinware was decorated by painting or by punching designs into the surface. Made about 1830, this Pennsylvania German coffeepot was made from flat sheets of tin hammered in separate sections over molds. The decoration was raised by dots punched in from the back creating an embossed effect. The punched sections were then shaped and soldered together. In the Pennsylvania German manner, a stylized floral and geometric pattern decorates the pot. The pot is finished with a reeded spout and a black wooden knob. The scroll handle, also of black wood, suggests forms associated with the handles of pewter and silver pots. However, in this case, the handle is crude and out of proportion to the body. Though the tinsmith copied styles prevalent in the finer metal crafts, his work was obviously more akin to that of the folk artist in simplicity of conception and execution.

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