Coffeepot an 18th century art form in silver


The coffeepot, or more specifically the most elegantly crafted forms of the coffeepot, has been around for a long time.

During the 18th century coffee was served at formal affairs in plain tapering cylindrical pots made in silver about 10 inches or so in height, to be later replaced by octagonal forms.

Coffee was secondary to tea as a popular beverage, and rather expensive. Only the well-to-do could afford to indulge in coffee drinking, and serving utensils especially for coffee were manufactured to suit the affluent sensibility.

Diverse forms.

As coffee houses were established in England, the designs for the coffeepot were very diversified, from very plain to quite elaborate, with French coffeepots going toward the elaborate.

Slowly craftsmen began to engrave the servers with ornate designs, some with fine finish, others delicate engravings combined with some relief forms.

In America silversmiths began to replace the straight sides with a bellied form as the plain finish evolved into ornate styles.

By mid-18th century English coffeepots began to appear in the coffee houses and in formal settings in the bold rococo forms replacing the more conservative fine engraved designs of France.

This form was characterized by the S-shaped spouts and stylized leaves in the design.


At this time American folks were taken by the pear-shaped pots, with or without ornate floral decoration.

Pewter began to be employed for the less affluent market. All coffeepots and metal utensils began to be marked on the bottom by the manufacturer. Many of the coffee servers were also engraved with the purchasers sign, name or initials. This fended off the threat of the theft of their most prized possession.

Due to the sturdy and excellent workmanship in the coffeepot construction quite a few have been preserved. Often the only part damaged or replaced is the handle. Many specimens of the mid-to latter 18th century coffeepots still exist today.


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