Coppersmith's trade has been known in our lands since ancient times. Its development and technique perfecting bears the imprint of the socio-economic relations in Bulgarian society.
During the Bulgarian National Revival, with the distinguished differentiation among the metal-working crafts, coppersmith's trade specialized in kitchenware and ritual vessels. The reason for this is hidden behind the fact that copper is the softest and the most malleable among all the metals, that folk crafts use. Besides, copper has the highest heat conductivity. Thus, on one hand, copper is especially applicable in vessels, that are in touch with fire, and on the other hand it often fashions the articles quite specific shapes - tall stems, long handles, broad bottoms.
In contrast to silver and gold however, copper oxidizes easily, which leads to another peculiarity in manufacture - tinning or silver-plating the whole vessel or those of its parts that get in touch with the food or liquid.
More important copper-smith's tools are: a bellow, a "mulija", a "tsitsija", mallets, hammers and spools. In ancient times coppersmiths cast the copper in bars themselves, which were then hammered into sheets from which the vessels were made. Later, in the XIX century, these copper sheets were imported from Istanbul (capital of the Ottoman Empire). Copper sheets are used for making the walls - "pelivro" of the vessels, as well as their bottoms. The walls and the bottoms are then fashioned to the required shape by hammering out. Nest comes the assembling. According to the technology of manufacture the hammering-outs are reinforcing the article. They are done with such hammers and in such an order that they turn into a part of the adorning technology. Only after that are the other extra adornments made by means of spooling, applicating or cutting the edges. In coppersmiths there are three types of decoration - functional, cut and engraved, the latter including inscribing, which is mostly deductions and moral admonitions.
One of the features of the Bulgarian coppersmith's trade is that it sticks strictly to the principle of advantage of shapes as well as of decoration. The practicality of an article is more important than its artistic value.
Coppersmiths make all kinds of articles for everyday necessities: "sinij"-s (baking dishes), trays, "pavur"-s (brandy flasks), "djezve"-s (Turkish coffee-pots), "kotle"-s (cauldrond), "sahan"-s (shallow copper bowls), "tas"-es (bowls), "ibrik"-s (ablution jugs), "kana"-s (jugs), coffee, wine and brandy sets as well as ritual vessels - baptismal fonts, collection plates, etc.
In our museum the coppersmith's trade is presented in the house with a workshop of the Gabrovo coppersmith Triphon Kanev. It is a copy of the