Saturday, November 7, 2015

11/7/15 Report - Copper Finds - Kettle and Sheathing. USS Constitution. Tips For Identifying The Age Of An Old Kettle.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of
Old Copper Kettle Found On The Treasure Coast
After the Revolutionary War,  Paul Revere started a copper foundry and made bolts, spikes and nails for ship building.  He added other items to his product list and produced bells and canons.

REVERE Mark On Kettle
Here is the Revere mark on the piece that held the handle.  The piece attached with rivets.

The kettle looks old to me, but I've read that the Revere's company did not make cookware until much much later.  

Kettle parts were prominent in the archaeological record in many places, including a battle site in Wayne County, Michigan dated 1770 - 1813.

See for example, Timothy McGuire's book, An Identification Guide to Recovered Colonial and Revolutionary War Artifacts (2013).

Here is an excerpt from McGuire's book

Brass and copper kettles were widely used in the Colonial and Revoutionary War Period.  After much use, they would crack and start to leak.  A patch would be cut from a scrap kettle and riveted over the crack.  Heavy recycling was the norm...

When a kettle finally failed, it was cut up and used for many different purposes.

Many scrap pieces and trimmings from kettles were found and are shown in the book.

I don't know the date of the kettle yet.


A lot of you have found pieces of copper on shipwreck beaches.  Some are small and some are larger.  Some show holes from square nails or round rivets.

Pieces of Copper Found On Treasure Coast Beaches.
One beach that gives up a lot of copper pieces, both large and small is shipwreck beach but I think much of it is coming from a wreck that is not a treasure wreck and is also later than 18th century.  I don't know that, but several clues lead me to that conclusion.

Of course not all copper comes from a shipwreck.  There are other and later sources.

Back to the Revere company.  It was the Revere company that made the copper sheathing for the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, which was launched in 1797.


Here is an excerpt from a web site that provides some history and some good tips on identifying the age of copper kettles.

Early kettles were made of thick sheet copper hammered out by hand.  Before about 1850, most seams were folded over and hammered together; after this date, they were usually soldered.

Look at the riveting. Old rivets look their age, and you should be wary of sharp new work...

...Copper kettles were built to last, and one that was splitting at the seam wouldn't have been discarded, but would have been laid aside for the travelling tinker to repair...

Here is the link.


No change in beach conditions.

Happy hunting,