Wednesday, 15 February 2017

18th Century Tin Kettles.

“GYPSIES” by J. Harris, London 1788.

In a previous post on this blog you will find a list of Indian trade goods, and in that list it states: "Brass & tinn Kettles large & Small". But of course these sizes are relative. The large tin kettles are almost as big as a water pail, so the small tin kettles are simply small in comparison to a pail, but not necessarily small enough to carry in a knapsack.
There are modern tinsmiths selling small tin kettles which they say are "based" on examples found in museums. By this they mean they are made to look roughly the same as the example in the museum. They may not be made of the same material, and they are often not the same size or shape.

Extant Tin Kettle This Early Specimen was Recovered From a Well at Fortress Louisbourg Smaller Size : 6” Tall by 8 3/4” Wide 3 Panel Body Construction with Single Riveted Flat Ears for Attaching the BaleCapacity: 1 Gallon, 1 Pint c. 1719 - 1768(Fortress Louisbourg NHS, Parks Canada)
This tin kettle is dated 1719-1768, but note that it is wider than it is tall. 6 inches tall is fine, but it is almost 9 inches wide. 

Tin Kettles or Pails with Flat Rectangular Crimped Dog Ears Found at Fort Ligonier & Reconstructions of the Same As Pictured in Neuman and Kravic’s “Collector’s Encyclopedia of the American Revolution” Heights Excluding Bales and Ears: 9 1/4” and 7 1/4” (Fort Ligonier Collection).

These look basically the same as ones being sold now, but again, look at the sizes. In this instance the width is not mentioned and it can be difficult to judge the width by the depth.
A Small Post Revolution British Tin Kettle Round Double Riveted Tin Ears, Iron Bale, and Tin Cover Sporting an Iron Ring Handle Provenance : 1st Foot Guards c.1800-1810(Armémuseum, Stockholm Sweden)
A smaller tin kettle that we are more used to seeing, but look at the date, it is 19th century.
Brass Sheet Metal Kettle, Likely FrenchFrom the Wreck of the Machault Sunk in the 1760 Battle of Restigouche in the Bay of Gaspé in Quebec Provincec. 1755 - 1760(Parks Canada)
So, if your period pre dates the American revolution, and you are looking for a small kettle to carry in your knapsack, I suggest you use one of the tin lined brass or copper kettles being offered by some of the present day traders.
A modern made tin lined brass cast trade kettle. Not the best example of what is available today, but it is closer than using the wrong size of tin kettle.

RECOVERING THE TINSMITH’S ART Tin artifacts are among the most fragile items from the site, but substantially perfect replicas can be copied from the scraps, using historic craft skills.

If anyone finds any more primary documentation in regards to pre American Revolution tin kettle sizes & shapes, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

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