Copper in the Arts

August 2015

The Copper Legacy of Jacob Bromwell

By Robyn Jasko

Jacob Bromwell Copper CupJacob Bromwell Copper Mug and Cocktal Shaker.

Photo courtesy of The Jacob Bromwell Company.

Established in 1819, Jacob Bromwell is the oldest kitchenware and housewares company in North America, with deep roots in the copper industry. The creator of several icons like the flour mill, the original popcorn maker, and the copper flask, the company’s diverse range of products have become part of the American legacy. Each piece is still proudly handcrafted in the United States in the same tradition Bromwell himself used when he founded the company almost 200 years ago.

Born in Virginia in 1785, Bromwell was a frontier entrepreneur, who started the first wire-weaving and housewares business, calling it The Bromwell Brush & Wire Goods Company. Bromwell's company began crafting 19th Century cutting-edge products like shoe and scrub brushes, corn poppers, sifters and other pioneer housewares and goods that were soon a necessity of the era. Crafting each piece by hand with a meticulous eye for detail, Bromwell grew the wire goods company to become one of the largest in the country, with over seven factories, billing itself as having the largest capacity in the country.

Today, Jacob Bromwell continues to produce their goods in America, with manufacturing facilities in Indiana and Vermont. Their modern yet rustic line of products appeal to a wide range of consumers, including homesteaders, hunters, hipsters, and Hollywood A-listers. Although their products are sold worldwide, the company is dedicated to keeping production local.

“We believe that where a product is made is just as important as the product itself,” says Sean Bandawat, President. “At a time when most housewares companies have moved their production offshore, every Jacob Bromwell product is still handcrafted right here in America, with material sourced domestically. It's the way we've done it for nearly 200 years.”

Copper has played an important role in Jacob Bromwell and the craftsmanship of their products over the last two centuries. They even have an entire collection devoted to copper, featuring pioneer-style goods like flasks, tobacco tins, copper mugs, coffee pots and more.

“Copper is one of the most beautiful, versatile, and sacred metals in existence,” says Bandawat.“When it is clean and polished, there is a beauty and elegance to a copper product that simply cannot be achieved with other types of metals. Copper also ages beautifully and forms an attractive patina over time.”

Their bestsellers include the Great American Flask, The Vermonter Flask, Old West Shot Glasses, Collector’s Copper Cup, Original Popcorn Popper, Signature Chestnut Roaster, World Famous Grater, All-American Flour Sifter, and Classic Tin Cup. Historically-significant, their products have become icons of 19th-century domestic Americana.

Jacob Bromwell Copper FlasksJacob Bromwell Libery and Pure Copper flasks.

Photo courtesy of The Jacob Bromwell Company.

The company also released a limited edition oxidized version of the copper flask with their signature green patina hue similar to the Statue of Liberty. This aesthetic was painstakingly achieved through a natural process of 30 years of aging and oxidization at the Jacob Bromwell Vermont workshop. Artists then apply their proprietary clear coat to seal the patina from changing and locking in the finish for life. Each flask is completely unique, and features parts of raw copper occasionally showing through.

“We are a few months away from releasing a series of ‘artisan edition’ flasks that will feature uniquely aged and weathered finishes," revealed Bandawat. "Each flask will be individually hand numbered as part of a limited edition and will be unlike anything else available on the market. We are extremely excited about it.”

All of Jacob Bromwell products tell a story and some have become icons in their own right, showcasing the beauty of American copper craftsmanship.

“We fabricate a number of items out of copper," says Bandawat. "Copper is a very unique metal and when you look at it, it also tells you a story-- different textures come out. A raw sheet of copper really becomes a piece of art in the end."

Every Jacob Bromwell product has a unique creation process and their copper product are by far the most intricate and labor-intensive products they create. Almost all of their copper items feature “hot-tinned interiors”, which is difficult and intensive process.

“Considered to be a long lost art, hot-tinning is a manufacturing process pioneered by our company nearly 200 years ago,” says Bandawat. “As a highly-skilled process, we take sheets of tin and apply it through a process of heating directly to the copper. Hot-tinning makes each piece unique and historically-correct to the original design, and also ensures that your product is FDA approved and 100% food and beverage safe."

Their attention to detail has helped Jacob Bromwell become one of the largest manufacturing companies in the country. 

Handcrafting Copper goods at Jacob Bromwell.Each piece from the Jacob Bromwell collection is handcrafted in the USA, using the same process for the last 200 years.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Bromwell.

"All Jacob Bromwell products are handmade with pride in the USA, and guaranteed for life," says Bandawat. "It’s the way we’ve done it for nearly 200 years, and it’s the way we will do it for the next 200 years.”

All of their materials, including copper, are sourced from the USA--mainly from Vermont. They focus on what they call ‘authentic materials’ – mainly tin, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, wood, iron, and leather.

“By using these materials, Jacob Bromwell products remain 100% authentic from the day they were created,” says Bandawat.“We find beauty in the handmade rather than the perfectly modern, mass-produced products.”

Resources:

Jacob Bromwell Company, 8605 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 78384, Los Angeles, CA (800) 683-2626

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