Full Chisel Blog

April 13, 2013

It is a Glue Pot, not a Cast Iron Ink Well

Went with a friend yesterday to a local Antique Mall and had not intended to make a purchase.  I did examine a pair of scissor type candle wick trimmer but determined it was plate and had a couple of missing feet, a nice trimmer none the less.  I passed.

I finished going through the booths and was waiting on my friend when I spotted the little lidded cast iron glue pot in a locked glass case.  I couldn’t see the price tag, so I had one of the people open the cabinet.


Still a little old hide glue left in the bottom of the pot.  There is some remnants of tinning on the inside of the glue pot itself.  The water jacket has some surface rust but no pitting.


It was a little pricey, did get 10% off the tagged price, but I couldn’t get any more off even when I told them it wasn’t a ‘cast iron ink well’ as marked.  But this one is the first one I have seen [I have only seen 2 in person and 2 or 3 more photographs] that had its delicate opening handle on the lid.  All I have seen and the one I already own have the handle broken off.


I believe that it is marked L,F & C, although the last letter may be a G.

I do plan on selling my old one, the very one featured in Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications I will be offering it for sale with a copy of the book.

The best source of reliable ground hide glue in various gram strengths is Tools for Working Wood.




  1. Steve,

    May I ask what you paid? For reference? I’m not really sure what they are worth. I am currently using an electric copper glue pot. But would love one of these for authenticity.


    Comment by pete van der Lugt — April 13, 2013 @ 11:40 am

  2. I wonder if anyone can come up with reproductions of this little glue pot?

    Comment by Gary Roberts — April 13, 2013 @ 11:46 am

  3. Do you think there would be enough of a market for them? I’m trying like hell to find a little niche for myself. I’d give it a try if it were something people would buy. Now a days, it would seem that something easy to heat the pot with would have to be part of the equation. Fires aren’t common in shops now a days.

    Comment by pete van der Lugt — April 13, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  4. This pot can be heated with an alcohol torch [lamp], a charcoal brazier or a candle, although the last produces a lot of soot.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — April 13, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

  5. Here is a photo of a similar design with an intact paper label for “Family Glue Pot” – patented April 16 1872.

    The designer of this glue pot was Thomas C. Howes. If you look at his three patents from the 1870’s you will see aspects of that pot design, specifically the cast studs for attaching the wire handle. The final form for the lid is seen in the last patent.


    Once his patents expired in the early 1890s the design was copied by multiple companies. I have seen photos of similar pots marked by The Buffum Tool Co. of Louisiana Missouri “Swastika Brand” as well as The Fanner Mfg. Co. There are lots of photos of these online.

    Comment by Jeff Burks — April 13, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

  6. It seems that all you would need is a single element electric burner to heat up the double boiler. Possibly the heating elements used to heat and bend plexi might work? Or the tried and true college single element cook stove?

    No open flames and thus no worries of insurance companies getting bent eyes. Or, a basic alcohol lamp.

    Comment by Gary Roberts — April 13, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

  7. Hello,
    recently discovered a metal glue pot as pictured- it has a handle, insert,pot in excellent condition- also have a paddle that was in the pot .it is made of wood. am interested in knowing the worth of this pot, definitely from the late 1800″s would appreciate an answer

    Comment by Jeanne Oyer — August 30, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

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