Q: I purchased this copper pitcher from a person who kept detailed records of what he had and when and where he bought or received it. His index card in the pitcher stated it was a museum quality gift from a friend. There is a faint mark on the bottom that looks like “Villecieu.” I would be grateful for any information about this pitcher.
A: The backstamp is “Villedieu” and means the pitcher was made in Villedieu-les-Poêles, a village in France that was the center of copper making. Copper and brass pots, pans, tools, and other items were made. The French name of the village translates to “God’s Town of the Frying Pans.” At one time there were over 100 copper workshops in Villediue. There are only two workshops and a bell manufacturer in the town today. A study by the French Academy of Sciences made in 1761 found many of the older workers were deaf because of the loud noise made by continually hammering copper, and “the hair of those who are fair-haired takes on a greenish colour; but they suffer no inconvenience.” Copper pitchers like this are not rare but are decorative. A large pitcher like yours can be found for under $100.