Monday, June 29, 2015

Picquot Ware

I've been a bit obsessed with this British deco kettle design for years. Probably after seeing it on the pages of UK Country Living in some staged rustic kitchen. Burrage and Boyd of Northhampton began making cast aluminum vacuum cleaners in 1932. In 1938 they branched out with the sycamore-handled K3 kettle, and in 1951 renamed their new range of coffee and tea products Picquot Ware for marketing reasons. From 1939-45 they switched over to ammunitions. The company stopped production last year for financial reasons (new, the K3 is $275). I scored this one (from the 50s or 60s) on the weekend at a vintage kitchen jumble sale. Woot! With the right care, these can be buffed up to a high shine (due to magnesium they added), but for now I'm enjoying the patina.


Peter Freeman said...

The affection that people have for Picquot Ware is astonishing, and also gratifying. After a number of years when the design was unfashionable, people have recognised these items for what they are - design classics, made by craftsmen. And I can say this with certainty because I knew some of them : one of them was my father, who was the foreman at Burrage and Boyds and spent his entire working life making these things. I sometimes went to the foundry to take my father his lunch, and I saw the casting process for myself. Working conditions were far from ideal, and the casting could be a dangerous operation; but these were craftsmen and they took pride in what they did.

Burrage and Boyd closed down in 1979, but since then there have been several attempts to keep production of Picquot Ware going. The post-Northampton history of its manufacture is complex and I won't try to go into it here.

Quite an interesting discussion about Picquot Ware kicked off in the follow-up comments to a blog that somebody did a little while back. I provided a lot of information there, if you're interested - links below.

Mia Hansen Vancouver, BC said...

Thanks for sharing this, Peter. I would have found the factory and fabrication process fascinating.

I had to line up to get into the estate sale (where I knew the kettle was), and by the time I got in, the hordes were grabbing up all the Finnish cast iron wear that is so in style now, and "my" kettle was still waiting for me untouched. Luckily, people didn't know what they were looking at! Although I'm sure it would have got snapped up had I not got there as early as I did. It's now one of my most treasured objects. So the work and suffering that went into it is still being appreciated.

One day I will try polishing it...