Hi everyone, Sorry for the wall of text
Finally got some pictures for people
In April of last year (right before COVID became a complete mess where I was), I purchased two saucepans, a 22cm and a 28cm, marked Gaillard paris. I had been reading about copper on Chowhound and cruising for nice pans. Some people here dated these ones to between the 1930s and 1950s for me. They looked like they were in good condition, and showed signs of high quality like sharp beveled bottoms, they looked like they’d been stored away and unpolished for many years and had thick, black, polymerized oils and carbon on the bottoms. I was hoping they would be ~3mm thick. I learned that they were rarer pans than I thought. When I got them, I was stunned
The 22cm pan measures 2.8mm at the rim and likely 3mm in the base. Not only is this a great thickness for cooking, but this pan is not unwieldy but perfectly balanced. Recently I got it retinned and polished by Jim Hamann at East Coast Tinning, this pan deserved a proper rejuvenation!
I was so happy I decided to purchase the 28 as well, because it ended up being even thicker–With my digital calipers, it measures a whopping 3.8mm at the rim, and likely even thicker in the base! I still don’t have a real weight on it in grams, it maxes out my scale which goes to 15lb. It definitely has the original tin, the pan is more or less pristine, and heats evenly, even on the crappiest coil burner!
These pans have some of the nicest craftsmanship, the nicest hand touches…. the extra-fort thickness, the smooth cast handles, the beveled bottoms, the beautiful planishing… The two pans were more than likely originally purchased together, and they weren’t ready to be separated just yet. I think they complement each other and give each other context.
These two saucepans are the pans that compelled me to look for more tin-lined pieces. And I’ve since been lucky enough to add two more pans to my tin-lined copper batterie.
Another Gaillard piece–a 26cm saute pan that measures 3.3mm at the rim and thicker in the base, with multi-leveled beveling on the bottom, a buttery grey ‘pewter-y’ cast iron handle, and matching interior rivets and stamp to my saucepans. The bevels have softened near the nose of the pan from years of normal use. It’s also stamped with an owner's initial, ‘G’. The person I bought this pan from sold three pans with this G stamp, two thick saute pans from Dehillerin and this beautiful one by Gaillard. I’m so happy to have this pan. Like my saucepans, it’s very special to me, and as my only saute pan, a very important tool in my kitchen. Thanks for keeping it real, G!
And my most recent acquisition from a few months ago is the Oval gratin, 42cm and stamped 'L. ALTIER 3 Rue Pauquet'. I can’t confirm this but I read somewhere that L. Altier was a supplier to restaurants of high end cookware. I think it looks exactly like Betsy’s 40cm oval gratin by the esteemed Jacquotot. Alexrander suggested that these were perhaps not only made in the same workshop, but by the very same craftsman.(!) I bought it because I loved its brass ring handles and shallow flared shape, and because I saw it had a nice beveled bottom, flush internal rivets, beautiful planishing, nice old tin, and the rim looked thick. The seller told me it was the thickest piece of copper they’d ever found. Its high thickness is what makes it really exceptional, measuring an average of 3.3-3.6mm at the rim. The pan is well-used but in great shape. I use it often, it’s great to cook with, and the old tin releases food very easily. I’m no expert, but I think the tin could be original. If this is the same pan as Betsy’s, she dates hers to somewhere around 1922 or the 1930s. What do you think, Betsy? Sister pans?
My last tinned pan is the first copper pan I got, a 3mm 16cm Made in France saucepan. Great little saucepan. It’s got tough competition, but, it kind of matches. :)
For the last two years, I’ve been trying to assemble a batterie of real workhorses. I think a lot of people that declare these things sort of get laughed at when they end up with ECI or All-Clad, but this is my declaration, too, and I'm really not f*cking around! If I could’ve had one piece of advice, it’s be patient, because the more you learn, you will constantly discover what you think is better than your last best idea- your batterie on paper will constantly be reinventing itself to fit your cooking needs. Let this process take place on paper, before buying a bunch of stuff. It’s true the best way to get a feel for a piece of cookware is trying it, but you can’t get them all, and you don’t have to get them all. Try what you can, keep reading, and you’ll notice that by next year, your written list will likely look completely different, and you’ll be glad you didn’t buy all that Mauviel 150. When you’re on a cookware craze, use the acronym I’m officially coining, STOP
Take some time
Overpaying is for chumps
Play with the shapes and sizes on paper or in your head
These are the first three saucepans I have EVER bought, in any material
This is the first saute pan that I have EVER bought
And the same goes for the gratin!
So thank you Chowhound for teaching me, I’ve learned that assembling a great batterie is not as simple as having a credit card and a Williams Sonoma nearby! Like chess, it takes patience, determination, resourcefulness, timing, and guts!
And now, enjoy the pictures!
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