Author Topic: Russian or German hammers for coopers  (Read 1899 times)

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Offline Branson

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Russian or German hammers for coopers
« on: January 05, 2014, 08:18:31 AM »
Well, I've put in over 100 hours researching the coopers stuff for Sutter's Fort.  Long story a little shorter, it turns out the missions were "secularized" (read, sold off) beginning in 1833, and there are no records to tell where their coopers tools went (I have a strong hunch, though).  But it appears that the Spanish tradition tools are irrelevant anyway.  In 1841 Sutter bought the coopers tools along with the rest of everything at the Russian Fort Ross.
No record documents what these coopers tools included -- the inventory only says "cooper's tools."

But what would these Russian cooper's tools have looked like?  Did they look like French tools due to Peter the Great's modernizing program, since he was so influenced by the French?  Or did they look like German cooper's tools because Catherine the Great and her close association with things German?

Videos of Russian coopers look like they grabbed anything they could find and cobbled up the rest, probably thanks to the Soviet's inability to adequately produce for the marketplace.   Looking at all the variations of the hammer and sickle emblem, the hammer is most often a very stylized blacksmith's cross pein, and less often a more realistic rendition of the same tool.  Unlike the French cross pein, the pein is at the dead bottom of the hammer head. 

Anybody have any ideas here?  Is there a similar German cross pein of the mid 1800s?  If I can't find an example through the museum in Sitka, it will have to be a best guess.

Still, I want for myself one of the Spanish cooper's hammers.  Somebody makes them somewhere -- the ones in this video are in daily use and are not antiques:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsAbaf1YXy4 


Offline johnsironsanctuary

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Re: Russian or German hammers for coopers
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 10:18:13 AM »
I found this on ebay this morning. Portugal is like a Spanish suburb, isn't it?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-COOPER-HAMMER-/281234154298?hash=item417adca33a
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Offline Branson

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Re: Russian or German hammers for coopers
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 07:31:12 AM »
I found this on ebay this morning. Portugal is like a Spanish suburb, isn't it?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-COOPER-HAMMER-/281234154298?hash=item417adca33a

That's a cooper's mallet more precisely.  What I'd like to find is a steel hammer.  There's a close-up in the video at 1:10 that shows the hammer and the all metal driver favored by Spanish coopers.  Like the mallet on eBay, the heads are arched.  It's my impression that the Spanish pattern here is not much changed from the same tools pictured in early Renaissance drawings.  A more conservative tradition.  Billman has sent me a couple of photos of early French mallets (Billman has been extremely helpful in this quest!!) that show the same arc.