Fun offsite tours in Bucyrus, Ohio

There are many new offsite tours on the Alumapalooza 6 program! Among them: a visit to the last remaining manufacturer of hand-hammered copper kettles, in Bucyrus, Ohio.

kettle 2D Picking and Company—established in 1874—was once the Jacob Geiger-Daniel Picking Hardware Store where a certain kind of apple butter kettle was in high demand during the summer and early fall months of the 1800’s. Recognizing a boon market, the hardware store partners imported two able coppersmiths from faraway Pennsylvania, who trained the store tinsmiths in the fine art of copper hammering.

The D Picking kettles were a hit with customers, but the lagging apple crop of 1880 prompted Mr. Picking to expand his copper line. Soon, the shop was busy hammering Swiss cheese kettles, copper timpani shells used to make kettledrums, and later, popcorn kettles for making caramel corn. kettle 3

Today, hammered copper items are used primarily for decorative purposes. Bowls, old fashioned coal hods, shovels, wastebaskets, skimmers, ladles, and flat-bottom kettles of all sizes are available for purchase. (The miniature cheese kettle—made entirely by hand—is a great souvenir.)

kettle 1You’ll have the rare opportunity to visit the workshop, where you’ll see products created just as they were in the 1800’s. You’ll also drop in at Cooper’s Mill—where apple butter is cooked in 50-gallon copper kettles over a wood fire, and small batch jams are made from original recipes—AND see an antique farm machinery museum, all during this fun and fascinating excursion.