A Cooper Is A Highly Skilled Craftsman

Master barrel makerIn the past, the profession of a cooper was essential for supplying containers for storing and shipping products for manufacturers. A cooper is a craftsman that made and repaired wooden vessels. Containers crafted by a cooper were known as casks. The casks were usually round, made of thin wood slats and held together using steel bands. A popular use of these casks made by a cooper was to store whiskey. A cooper also made buckets and barrels, along with many other vessels used for storage.

All items that a cooper made was generally referred to as a cooperage. The cask is a piece the cooper made that contains a bulge in the middle like a barrel, but a barrel differs technically because it is a measure of the size of the cast. Therefore the name “barrel-maker” should not be used with the name “cooper.” The shop where a cooper makes the casks is also called a cooperage.

This occupation of a cooper originated in Rome a long time ago, previous to the Christian era. It expanded and prospered during medieval Europe. The cooper membership reached its peak in the last part of the 19th century. After this jobs for a cooper diminished quickly following World War I, because other materials such as steel replaced the cooper crafted wooden vessels that had been used in the home for churning butter, eating utensils, cooking and storing food, plus other items.

Today, people with the last name of Cooper can be certain that some of their relatives of the past had a great deal of skill and worked as a cooper in the traditional craft of cooperage making whiskey casks and other items such as tubs and butter churns.


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  3. […] A cooper is a person who makes barrels.  The location where the wooden oak barrels are coopered is the cooperage.  The cooper is a trained artisan who hand cuts and shapes the wooden staves that are held together with metal rings to create a vessel that is a bulging cylinder.  A fire is maintained in the cooperage to provide the heat needed to bend the wooden staves into the shape needed for the barrel.  The cooper will add the precise number of metal rings over the staves to ensure the staves remain in place.  Becoming a respected cooper takes years of training and practice.  Most learn the trade by serving a long apprenticeship under a respected cooper. […]

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  5. […] Coopers, who make the barrels, pay higher prices for the wood, but demand higher quality than even fine furniture makers.  As a result, oak barrels are usually expensive.  However, oak barrels are not always appropriate for all varieties of wines.  While many great wines, including those from Burgundy, Bordeaux and California may command a great enough price and require sufficient aging to justify the more expensive oak barrels, less expensive wines and those made with more delicate and lighter grape varieties, including Chenin blanc, white Zinfandel, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, some Sauvignon blanc and a few red grape varieties, including Gamay are bottle for consumption while still fruity and young.  Aging such wines in oak barrels would reduice tehri fruity appeal and the cost could not be justified.  Therefore, the wines are aged in stainless steel, using cool temperatures for a short period of time. […]