Friday, February 17, 2012

Coffee Tales

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American William Will 1742-1798 Pewter Coffee Pot

In the mid-1600's, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, a location later called New York by the British. Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World until 1773, when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George. The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee.

William Will was born in Germany, near the Rhine river. His family came to New York City in 1752, when he was 10. His father was a pewterer, as were his brothers. He appeared in Philadelphia, with his brother Philip, in 1763. The pewter maker married there & also served as an overseer of the poor, a sheriff of Philadelphia, an officer in the army, & in the General Assembly of the state. He died there in 1798. A local newspaper reported, "On Saturday morning departed this life after a lingering indisposition, which he bore with Christian fortitude, Col Willim Will, in the 56the year of his age; a native of the city of Nieuwidt in German; and on Monday, his remains were interred in the burial ground of the German reformed congregation attended by the members of the German incorporated society, and a very large number of respectable citizens."

In colonial America during the life of William Will, artisans made pewter articles by either casting the liquid pewter into molds, which were usually made of brass or bronze; by turning on a lathe; or by hammering a flat pieces such as large dishes, trenchers, or chargers into shape. Almost all pewter prior to 1800 was cast in molds. Molds were expensive; & immigrating pewterers, such as William Will's family, usually brought their molds with them from England or Germany.

For more early morning coffee tales, click here.
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