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Login Name Post: PC Cookware        (Topic#221809)
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-05-08 12:31 PM - Post#577562    


If you look at the various catalogs selling period correct gear there are a variety of kettles, etc. I think I just assumed the folks selling these articles checked all this out to make sure it is PC but then again you never know for sure.
So..........
Does anyone have any images of the cookware the mountain men say 1820-1840 used, not replica- but images of the originals. This would include kettles, tin cups, frying pans, etc. Thanks.

 
BrownBear 
Cannon
Posts: 13739
BrownBear
06-05-08 03:38 PM - Post#577642    

    In response to crockett

This looks like fruitful ground to explore. They've got Hudson Bay copper kettles on this page, too. Looks like a first hand visit is in order, too.

 
Pichou 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1523
Pichou
06-05-08 03:39 PM - Post#577643    

    In response to crockett

None of the catalogs tell the truth. None of the people who make stuff make only PC stuff. They do make some PC stuff, but not all of it is PC, and not all of it is 200 BC thru WWII.

There are some good images out there, but I'll have to dig...

OK, try http://www.autrynationalcenter.org
Research-> online collections-> search

use kettle, pail

I'll look for more later. I know Paul Kane has some camp scenes.

There's all kinds of good stuff here (slow link)
http://www.autrynationalcenter.org/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=link;dtype=d;key=294...


 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-06-08 10:39 PM - Post#578171    

    In response to Pichou

Thanks all, the HBC set at the MFT. You have to remember that the MFT deals with the entire trade, not just Rocky mountain men pre-1840, so that's one reason I asked the question. On the kettles, I feel pretty safe on using what's available but the frying pan is a different matter, I have no idea what a true pre-1840 frying pan used in the mountains may look like.

 
Kansas Volunteer 
45 Cal.
Posts: 634
06-07-08 11:27 AM - Post#578314    

    In response to crockett

The HBC cooking gear at the Museum of the Fur Trade is quite expensive, or at least was 10 months ago when I was there.

 
Fergetful Jones 
40 Cal.
Posts: 371
06-08-08 09:20 AM - Post#578561    

    In response to crockett

I don't believe frying pans were used. If you read the journals, you will find that they used sticks, rocks, & the fire itself. Boudins were cooked directly on the fire. One account has buffalo ribs thrown on the fire, & after pulled out the trappers just cut off slices. Lot of references to kettles, & several references to boiling their meat, just as the Indians did.

 
Bountyhunter 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1249
06-08-08 10:18 AM - Post#578590    

    In response to crockett

My people never threw anything away.....OK? So I still have a building at home that is stocked with things that the old ones had. That goes back to my grandfathers grandfather and before, so we are talking at least as early as the 1850's. The early cookware seems to be sheet iron. The skillets were maybe 8 or 9" and about an inch and a quarter deep with a rolled handle. Very light weight. My grandfather, before he died, built this building, and sorted all the old stuff out and put it on shelves and marked it as to who it belonged to. So, we do have a bit of stuff that we can document in our family back to mid 1800.

At least in our family, I did not see cast iron or graniteware appear until probably the generation of 1885 or 1890. The stuff that belonged to their parents and grandparents were pretty plain. Also...my people were on the move to homestead in the west during that time, so weight was a definite consideration. The sheet iron skillet would maybe weigh 3/4 pound compared to many times that for a cast iron. They were basically French Canadian/Miami from the NE Indiana (Fort Wayne)region and traveled to Central Kansas. They were basically well to do, and homesteaded a lot of ground and lived in sod houses until they got new barns, then homes built. They were industrious and bought new things after they got settled in.

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-10-08 08:13 PM - Post#579374    

    In response to Fergetful Jones

Forgetful Jones- actually I have been creating a data base on pre-1840 mountain man gear taken from inventory lists and diaries/journals and frying pans are definately pre-1840. Mountain man Warren Angus Ferris speaks of digging a grave with an axe and frying pan to scoop out the dirt. I have a bunch of other references if it's important to you I'll look them up. I think green coffee beans were roasted dry in a frying pan and then put in a leather bag and hammered into grounds.
In any event, I have no idea about what a pre-1840 frying pan looked like. Did it have a socket handle? If so, was it square or round, etc?
On the enamel ware, if I recall- not pre-1840. Sheet iron/steel is probably the material
There is also mention occasionally of a cofee pot but I am told this was just a regular kettle with a notch in the lid to facilitate pouring liquid.
On the kettles, I guess the issues are the seams, lip around the rim, and the way the bail is attached, etc.

Edited by crockett on 06-10-08 08:15 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Pichou 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1523
Pichou
06-11-08 10:40 AM - Post#579522    

    In response to crockett



Sheet iron, forged handle. Common fur trade item.

 
Anonymous 
06-11-08 03:57 PM - Post#579629    

    In response to crockett

Not sure who makes this stuff or where else its available, but this is some of the best stuff I've seen for the Western fur trade era:

http://www.nps.gov/archive/fous/tradegoods.html

Sean

 
Pichou 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1523
Pichou
06-11-08 06:45 PM - Post#579663    

    In response to Sean

Yeah you could nit pick, but it is a impressive inventory. Waaaaaay ahead of most places. A few make better, but only bits and pieces, not the whole fur post!

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-11-08 08:04 PM - Post#579698    

    In response to Pichou

I have seen that painting before (Empire on the Bay?)but I didn't know if the painting itself was pre-1840. If memory serves me, I think the image was supposed to be of a NWCo. outfit but someone on another form claimed the NW Co. never painted the ends of the canoes, that the practice was the HBC.
This is one of those things where the images "are probably" correct and one could spend a lot of time trying to find a documented artifact known to be pre-1840 and used in the mountains or at least around St. Louis. In any event part of my question was based on whether cookware design was the same among the British/Canadians and Americans or the Americans used something slightly different.
Catlin claims on his return trip down the Missouri the outfit (3) had a plate, frying pan, and kettle and each man used one of the vessels to eat out of, the goods being divided up after cooking.

 
Pichou 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1523
Pichou
06-11-08 09:51 PM - Post#579757    

    In response to crockett

That painting is more like 1860, but the frying pan is typical of the ones they used much earlier. Same style in Neumann's Antique Country Furnishings, which has a cut off date of 1820.

No you're right painted canoes are post merger.
The details in the painting are exceptionally good, just late. Some things are the same for earlier some are not.

Great examples of packing crates BTW. There are 5 in the painting, all simple 6-board boxes. No WWII reinforcements like all the repro boxes have. 2 are painted blue, one has straw sticking out of it.

 
Sir Michael 
45 Cal.
Posts: 841
Sir Michael
06-12-08 04:45 PM - Post#579968    

    In response to Pichou

Any one have a picture or description of a "Flanders Kettle" in Iron? I've been lead to believe that this a picture of one in Tin.


If this is an accurate picture of British Army camp kettle then the question I've had for some time about cooking meat on the camp kettle lid has been answered.

I've looked high and low and can't find the web site I got it from. However I did find some interesting information in Wellington's orders for the army in 1815. It seems that some of the Tin camp kettles issued were too small. They only held 7 pints. These small camp kettles were required to be turned in and 12 pint kettles were to be drawn from stores.



 
Dennis Miles 
40 Cal.
Posts: 116
06-12-08 04:53 PM - Post#579974    

    In response to Sir Michael

I have been getting by for near 20 years with just a brass trade kettle by Goose Bay. That is at organized doins, hunting camps and up to 3 weeks wandering the Big South Fork with one other fella. But that is what I do and your mileage will vary.

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-14-08 11:13 PM - Post#580763    

    In response to Sir Michael

Well I think I may have uncovered an area a lot of us (myself first and foremost) have just sort of glossed over. It's understandable that everyone wants to get all the "cool" stuff right like guns, knives,buckskins, etc but I just assumed the cooking items sold by the catalogs had all been checked out as being PC. It seems what we have are HBC items that are probably pc but may be only for a voyageur or HBC trapper, and not be correct for an American persona and then military goods. Well, something to work on.

 
Anonymous 
06-15-08 09:13 AM - Post#580852    

    In response to crockett

Dave,

Those kettles on the Ft. Union site appear to be as good as any I've seen for the Rockies. They are not the small HBC trade kettle, but instead are 1 gallon and up. This is more like what they would've used as cookware was an item for a party, more than an individual. Parties were broken into messes of up to say 8 men who camped and cooked together.

That said, I have a small tinned kettle of similar pattern that I got several years ago. Can't remember from who right now. It probably wasn't the common article for the time, but I don't usually get out in parties of 8 or more.

One other thing. In the most recent MFT Quarterly, there was a letter from an NDN agent in Wisconsin where he requested heavier tinned kettles and nested sets of them, hence smaller sizes were available at least in some places. He also noted that the NDNZ used brass kettles.

Sean

 
Mike Ameling 
45 Cal.
Posts: 855
06-18-08 07:03 PM - Post#581981    

    In response to crockett

A few humble comments:

Frypans did exist and were used. But they usually were sheet iron and with a long handle for holding/cooking over a fire. Cast Iron frypans were fairly rare before the early to mid 1800's.

What we now know as a Dutch Oven really only came into use around the time of the Civil War. Some variations of what were called "bake kettles" did exist before that, but good examples and/or descriptions are lacking. And some were specifically referring to sheet iron.

There is a French version of the pre-cursor to the Dutch Oven - called a Tourtiere. Made of brass or sheet iron, it had a bowl or "wok" type bottom on three legs to set over coals, and then a tall straight sided lid to set down over the top. The lid also had a forged lip around the top so that you could pile coals on top for baking. I made up several copies and sent them down to the Colonial Trade Fair and Rifle Frolic this spring with some friends. They reported that they worked well. I now need to get back to make up several more for people who are interested. I'll add in a pic as soon as photobucket is available again - currently not up.

Trade kettles. Most of the brass trade kettles being offered by vendors out there are too tall in relation to their diameter - when compared to originals. And the cast-brass bale lugs are mid to late 1800's style. Jim Kimpell of Highhorse Trading and a few others have been converting those Crazy Crow brass and copper kettles to make them more like the originals. They cut the height down around 1 1/2 inches, re-roll the top rim, add "dog-ear" sheet brass/copper bale lugs, and then replace the bale with a smaller sized one. It makes them far closer in size/shape/look to the originals. Those current new ones are based on an 1851 patent for brass pails. CC has just started selling a copper one with the more correct dog-ear bale lugs, but it's still the wrong height in comparison with its diameter. They are calling it their British Copper Trade Kettle. All in all, it's a pretty good kettle, and few would know or notice the height difference.

Those military issue tin kettles were your classic straight sided tin or sheet iron pails. They were made in several sizes, and also were a civilian trade item. They are very similar in size/shape to modern straight sided milk pails by Behrens. The "details"? The modern ones have a rolled/crimped bottom seam - just like a can of beans. They should have a flat bottom that laps up the side a bit and is then soldered in place. Plus the modern ones have a funky bumped out bale lug riveted to the sides. It should be a simple tin strip riveted on the side and bent out and up for the bale. The modern lid that comes with it is also not correct. And the side seam is late 1800's machine rolled/crimped.

Various trade goods inventories talk about "tinned" kettles as well as "sheet iron" kettles. So they could be made of "tin sheet" (sheet iron hot dipped in tin) or of plain sheet iron that is then either completely hot-dipped in tin, or just tinned on the inside like a brass kettle. Making the kettle from sheet iron and then "tinning" it saves on the extra cost/expense of the tin on the iron scraps. Plus you have the option to just "tin" the inside instead of the whole kettle.

Using the lids from their kettles as frypans shows up in a number of places. Unfortunately, what exactly those lids are made of has been lost to time. Sheet tin? Sheet brass? Cast iron? They just didn't write it down. But using a cast iron lid does work well. The problem is documenting that they carried along a cast iron kettle.

Yes, the actual cooking pots used is an interesting subject to explore. Way too many people use cast iron items that really should be left to the mid to late 1800's time periods. And so much of their cooking was for small groups - like the military mess of 6 to 8 people. It kind of conflicts with a lot of our modern solo image and hiking/trekking.

Just a few humble rambling thoughts to share, and best used in conjunction with your own research.

Mikey - yee ol' grumpy German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands


 
Rod L 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1418
Rod L
06-19-08 02:27 PM - Post#582188    

    In response to Mike Ameling

You might take a look at this for a hot-dipped sheet iron kettle. He makes them without the brass ears, now--more correct that way, too.
http://www.cg-tinsmith.com/images/Photos/3ktls.jpg

I'm anxiously awaiting mine, I'll post a review when I get it.

Rod


 
Mike Ameling 
45 Cal.
Posts: 855
06-19-08 07:17 PM - Post#582257    

    In response to Mike Ameling

Here's a couple pics of those Tourtieres that I made based on originals from France. These pre-date the "dutch oven" for baking over an open fire with extra coals put on top of the lid. They run on back well into the 1700's, possibly even to the 1600's. These are forged sheet iron. Many of the originals were of stamped/spun brass. Some of the brass ones didn't even have attached feet. You put them on a trivet over the coals, and then put more coals on top.







That shiny object inside the one is a standard 9 inch disposable pie plate - to show the size. (One of these days I should replace that junker digital camera of mine with a good one.)

The "field reports" from this spring down at de Chartres said that they worked great. They made several tourtes and some biscuits. They also used the bottom to brown up some steak and onions for the stew.

Now I just need to get several more made - for those who requested to be put on the list.

Mikey - yee ol' grumpy German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands



 
Mike Ameling 
45 Cal.
Posts: 855
06-19-08 08:02 PM - Post#582272    

    In response to Sean

  • Sean Said:

One other thing. In the most recent MFT Quarterly, there was a letter from an NDN agent in Wisconsin where he requested heavier tinned kettles and nested sets of them, hence smaller sizes were available at least in some places. He also noted that the NDNZ used brass kettles.

Sean



In the books Voices From The Rapids and Where Two Worlds Meet they show a nesting set of 14 brass trade kettles recovered from below a rapids/falls on the Pigeon River (I think thats the right river). The set was lost from an overturned trade canoe. 14 NESTING BRASS KETTLES!!! The smallest would have held aroung a pint, the biggest about 2 gallons. So there was quite a variety of sizes available.

And those brass or copper trade kettles came tin lined and unlined, with the earlier ones more likely to be unlined.

Just remember that most modern repro's being sold (like from Crazy Crow) are too tall in relation to their diameter when you compare them to originals. These current ones are based on that 1851 patent for a brass pail which was taller. And those cast brass bale lugs are also from the 1850's, and should be made from sheet brass/copper as those dog-ear type bale lugs. CC now offers that copper British trade kettle with dog-ear bale lugs, but they left it too tall - just like their brass ones. It's better, but that slightly shorter size would have been much better.

I've converted a few of their brass kettles by cutting down the sides about 1 1/2 inches, and then adding an IRON rim with built in bumps for bale lugs. This pushes the time period back through most of the 1700's and on back into the 1600's. Hmmm ... more things I need to get back to making more of.

And iron-rimmed copper kettle - unlined.


An iron-rimmed brass kettle - tinned.


Upper left is a Jim Kimpell conversion, the others are iron-rimmed ones I did.


And here is my conversion of CC's Rev War Copper Kettle with frypan lid - to make it more like the originals recovered from the Rainey Lake Indian village site - late 1600's to mid 1700's.


Several of the tinsmiths are now making sheet iron/tin kettles using hot-dipped tin. Once you've seen and used real hot-dipped tin, you will see why it used to have such a good reputation. Most currently available tin-ware is made from modern electro-plated tin. The tin coating on it is very thin, and rusts/scratches through fairly fast. Some tin items being offered are now being made from stainless steel sheet - unpolished. It is far tougher (more dent resistant), and is hard to tell the difference when compared to real tin ware. Most people would not be able to tell the difference - especially after it has some "use" on it.

Lots of options available out there if you look. But, in the end, it's all a matter of personal choice. And the level of accuracy you wish to achieve.

Mikey - yee ol' grumpy German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands



 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-19-08 10:59 PM - Post#582360    

    In response to Mike Ameling

Well everything being said here is good but let's remember that my original question pertained to what the mountain men used. The nesting kettles, 14 to a "nest"- that appears in several of the inventories of goods shipped to the mountains. Now I thought all the kettles were the same size and angled such that they nested into one another. The nesting being an advantage as it saved space in shipping them. I never thought about the kettles being of various sizes. If these kettles nested into one another where are the lids? Were there any lids? On the HBC ware, the sides look straight, such that they would not nest into one another.

 
Mike Ameling 
45 Cal.
Posts: 855
06-20-08 09:16 AM - Post#582440    

    In response to crockett

Lids for kettles are mentioned, but very few originals have been found. So we have to ... interpret ... what they might have been. And few inventory lists show lids for kettles. Most were sold/traded without any lid. The few mentions in journals of kettle lids being used as frypans usually are associated with large kettles - as in 2 or more gallon capacity. And in GROUP cooking situations instead of individual use.

Both the classic tapered-sided brass/copper trade kettles and the tin "pail" style kettles show up in use and trade for the mountain men. The brass/copper ones tend to be more prominent earlier, and the tin "pails" later - in general.

When you nest the tin "pail" kettles, you have to decrease the sizes a little more to fit them together - do to those bale lugs. The nesting brass/copper kettles already have slightly tapering sides, and can stack together right up to the rim - so they can be pretty close to the same size or just slightly smaller. A stack of the same sized brass/copper kettles does stick up a little higher than those of graduated sizes. But you can still pack more of them into a trade goods bundle than the tin "pail" type.

But those pesky lids - the details of their shape/size has mostly been lost to history.

Just my humble thoughts to share, and best used in conjunction with your own research.

Mikey - yee ol' grumpy German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands


 
Pichou 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1523
Pichou
06-20-08 01:33 PM - Post#582514    

    In response to Mike Ameling

By saying tin kettles tend to be later, when are you talking?

I see tin kettles in trade lists for all of the British and American eras. They are extremely common.

They are straight sided, and nested by size. Lids are much less common in inventories than the kettles.

The MOFTQ article says:

"Their tin kettles are of the poorest quality, & too many small ones in the nests. They prefer some of brass, but chiefly because the tin is so poor and thin. The traders bring only the best of tinware--why can't the government agents purchase the same?"

MOFTQ 44:1, p. 9.



 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6195
06-20-08 09:04 PM - Post#582651    

    In response to Pichou

The nesting: I got that from the x-mission site, Trade List of John McKnight 1822; it mentions 2 nests of tin kettles, 14 in a nest. I don't think all kettles were nesting or they would not list those that were nesting. Anyway, it seems that if there were 14 kettles per nest (if I am reading that correctly) then the shape of the kettles must have been smaller on the bottom than the top, or tapered, so they could fit into one another. If there were 14 kettles and they were straight sided- like some of the modern 2 pot camping sets, then the sizes would have been from extremely large to extremely small, or so it would seem- in order to get 14 kettles into one nest.
In any event, on the details of cookware, were the edges usually rolled? Did the kettles have a seam on one side and around the bottom? were the bails attached in a standard pattern? Those are some of the things I am trying to find out about? Thanks to all.

 
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