Does anyone know what this pot is used for?

Elaine 82
by Elaine 82
This a copper pot with hinged lid, like a lunch box I bought it but do not know what it may have been used for or why it was made. Any ideas?
copper pot with hinged lid and clasp
top of the closed pot with handle
open pot, inside
bottom inside with 4 round indentations
markings engraved in the copper on the front by locking device
  18 answers
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Oct 18, 2014
    @Elaine 82 after some research i came up with three purposes and they all looked the same did not find a pot exactly like yours is used for eggs,snails, or pears nice find whatever it is xx
  • Shari Shari on Oct 18, 2014
    My guess would be that it was used to cook something. With the latch, it almost reminds me of a pressure cooker. It is possible the 4 round indentations in the bottom could be not so much for what was put inside but more for making it sit level. I don't really know. This is the closest thing I could find to yours: I also found this Portuguese cataplana pan but when I searched for pictures of others, there wasn't much deviation in the cataplana pans' style/look so I doubt that is what your pan is.
  • Joedean Small Joedean Small on Oct 18, 2014
  • Julie J Julie J on Oct 18, 2014
    There is a group on Facebook where you can post pictures too: Maybe someone there knows...
  • Lynn Lynn on Oct 19, 2014
    hi elane,it looks like a pot that you could hang over an inside fire used for soups and stew
  • Adventures In Junking Adventures In Junking on Oct 19, 2014
    Looks like a poaching pan - eggs and escargot and such.
  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Oct 19, 2014
    I think it's a vintage copper lunchbox. Many were made to be stackable, but without seeing the bottom of yours, it's hard to tell if yours is one that's also made to be stackable.
  • Barbara Thomas Barbara Thomas on Oct 19, 2014
    I know I'd use it for biscuits/rolls at the dinner table because it's so beautiful!
  • Elaine 82 Elaine 82 on Oct 19, 2014
    The bottom has the reverse of the depressions seen on the inside, So it looks like 4 oval legs on the bottom, They are not deep ovals on the inside or bottom.
  • Elaine 82 Elaine 82 on Oct 19, 2014
    I looked up the other suggestions egg or escargot poacher but the lid is hinged, not removable with a handle on the top.
  • Elaine 82 Elaine 82 on Oct 19, 2014
    Looking at pictures. It maybe a chapatti bread box from turkey, or India. I was looking at the lunch box hint.
  • Elaine 82 Elaine 82 on Oct 19, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Jen Jen on Feb 23, 2015
    I have a pot very similar to this item. I bought it brand new at a yard sale a few years ago for my collection of copper pots. It came with an instruction sheet, which I still have inside the pot (I never used it). I can send over all the info on my pot if you'd like.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jen Jen on Feb 23, 2015
      @Elaine 82 I believe they are correct, I did read the instructions after I purchased it and it did have a recipe I believe but am not certain, it's' been awhile. I work out of state but will be home tomorrow night so I will take a look at the instructions and let you know then what I find.
  • M. M.. M. M.. on Aug 01, 2016
    looks like what one would boil a Christmas pudding in, inside a tea towel, but this may be a reproduction and not food safe..
  • Pat Pat on May 15, 2017

    Just saw jasper white and simply Ming steam clams mussels and chorizo want to sell yours?

    Called a cataplana

  • Gale O'Neal Gale O'Neal on May 15, 2017

    Yes, Pat is correct it is a Cataplan pan: see below and here is a recipe to try in yours! CHORIZO AND MUSSELS CATAPLANA STEW


    • 2 pounds cleaned mussels
    • 1 pound cleaned squid, sliced into ½-inch rings and tentacles separated
    • ½ pound chorizo (roughly 2-3 sausages), sliced
    • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes, or generous 2-3 cups fresh diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup dry white wine (optional, but encouraged)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ cup chopped parsley stems (optional)
    • Chopped fresh herbs to garnish, such as parsley and chives

    *Before cooking, ensure that your cataplana pot is free of lacquer and completely dry.


    1. Heat olive oil in cataplana on medium-low heat. Add chorizo, sauté for roughly 6-8 minutes until the oil in the pan is an orange-red hue. Remove chorizo and set aside.
    2. Saute onions until sweating, about 8 minutes, before adding garlic and chopped parsley stems, if using. Season assertively with salt and pepper. Adding the garlic after the onions have had a chance to release some moisture will prevent the garlic from burning.
    3. Cook onion mixture until very soft and translucent, about 15 minutes on low heat.
    4. If using, add wine and let reduce by half.
    5. Add tomato and bay leaf and let simmer on low for 15-18 minutes until thick and reduced by roughly a third. Taste constantly and season as necessary — the key is to let all the flavors meld together. If mixture looks too thick or needs additional time to cook, add water or vegetable stock in ½-cup intervals and continue to cook until flavor tastes fully incorporated.
    6. Add chorizo, mussels, and squid to the cataplana. Gently stir to incorporate evenly.
    7. Using oven mitts, close the top lid and seal the cataplana using the latches on the side. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until seafood is cooked. Alternatively, you can place the cataplana in the oven to finish cooking. It is oven-safe to 400°F.

    Remove from heat and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Carefully open the cataplana — beware of steam. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

    comment photo
  • Lars Walliin Lars Walliin on Nov 12, 2019

    Might be a bit late for reply, but it feel like a duty to inform you that this pan most likely is a very rare example of a cataplana pan. The common cataplana´s is made in a simpler maner and not as robust as yours (can tell be the hammered surface, that yours is made out of thicker copper than the traditional portuguese made pans). This is a true keeper!

  • Vicki Daniel Vicki Daniel on Feb 28, 2022

    It is an old Indian or Turkish mining lunch box / pot. :) or you can call it a Chapati