Pewter Handled Pot Mystery Solved!

Known as a French Sustenteur, Pot a bouillon or Marmites Americanes (American Pot).

We located an interest pewter pot while shopping in Paris in 2010 and we wrote a blog about the mystery “What is it? Pewter Container with 2 Lids” in June 2010. We’ve finally solved the mystery and it doesn’t involve leeches!

Styles of American Pots

We’ve discovered that the pots with screw lids are called Sustenteur and were popular in France in the late 18th century. They were created as a piece of medical equipment to help heal stomach problems. They work as pressure cookers and they were used to prepare either meat or vegetable broths. The meat and vegetables were cooked in hermetically sealed pot for hours in a water bath, thus providing a germ-free broth for people with delicate stomachs.

Inner lid with screw top

You’ll notice the holes in the base of the pots. When oxygen escapes from the boiling water, it makes bubbles and the holes allow the bubbles to escape, so the pot does not tip over. The handle allows the pot to be easily removed from the water bath and carried.

Given that they are air-tight, the sustenteurs were also used as tobacco jars, tea caddies or coffee containers.

Since finding our first one, we’ve managed to find two more!

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