This article about a set of vintage Copco cookware was one of the very first posts I added to my site in its fledgling years. And to this day it remains one of the most read topics here. You guys have no idea how happy that makes me because it means you’re contemplating adding some awesome mid century cookware in your life. Researching the history of Copco gave me real appreciation for the original version of this cookware, and I hope you find the content helpful. If you have any information to add or questions, I’d love to hear your thoughts or own personal experiences, so please leave them in the comments!
The History of Copco Cookware –
Chefs covet their vintage Copco cookware. Unlike what’s being produced today, the original version from the mid century is highly prized for its durability, easy clean-up, and fantastic ability to conduct heat evenly. Me? I love that it is made from food-safe materials, unlike what’s being produced today. But just what makes this original version different from the Copco products being made today? After finding my own awesome set at a flea market one lazy afternoon, I decided to do some research.
Copco began business in 1960 creating enamel coated cookware on the island of Mors in Denmark. Mors was known for its high-quality cast iron which gave Copco’s cookware superior durability & heat conduction. For its design, Copco charged designer Michael Lax with this task. Lax’s modern sensibilities is what gave each piece the clean lines and the minimalist practicality you see. But before we get to the beautiful design, let’s first discuss the quality craftmanship so you will understand the difference between what was produced then and what is produced today.
In addition to using the best cast iron available, original Copco cast iron was coated in an enamel process that produced a durability to chipping and wear far superior to anything else being made. This enamelling also gave Copco its colorful good looks, easy clean-up, and even heat distribution. But most clever of all was Lax’s beautifully functional design. For that, Lax designed the lids of the pots to serve dual purpose as casserole dishes (so practical!). Additionally, he designed the handles from durable/water-resistant teak which eliminated having to deal with a hot handle.
Superior heat conductivity, dual functionality, and easy clean-up. It’s all of these features that make the vintage Copco a favorite among chefs. Unfortunately, the new product you see today is no longer produced under these high-quality standards.
Copco now produces its cookware in China and no longer adheres to the strict quality standards it once did. And that’s unfortunate because it’s by far a cook’s favorite – even over La Creuset & Staub. What you will find in today’s market is a version being produced in China by Mario Butali, but it’s of much lesser quality. So finding the original pieces in good condition are what you want.
And you can still find original pieces in excellent condition on Etsy and other online sites (or at second-hand shops). Just be sure to only purchase ones that have the logo you see above. The main thing to look for are pieces that still have their porcelain coating intact with minimal chips or scratches.