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  1. #1
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    Red face What does a COOPER do?

    I have someone on the 1881 census who was a cooper. Am I right in thinking they made barrels?

    Thanks

    Alison

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    Hello Allison

    Just so, and a very skilled trade it is too.

    Shire Publications have a very interesting and informative booklet Coopers and Coopering, by Ken Kilby, well worth 5.99.

    Colin

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    Red face

    Thanks Colin

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    You might find this link useful in future for other old occupations:

    www.
    rmhh.co.uk/occup/f.html

    I have it in my 'favourites' for quick reference.

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    Thanks, Davran

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    Default What does a Cooper

    I worked at Fosters Brewery for about 8 years in the Elect Dept. The Cooper's shop was next to us. When I say shop, its a huge area like an aircraft hanger. This is back in the 1950s. Many Coopers worked there.

    Its a very noisy trade cause theyr'e hammering all day. The tools they use are very queer looking things. Most of them are like home made tools.

    Its a very highly skilled trade. When the barrels are formed and ready they roll them over a line, like railway lines but very narrow. The barrels roll to a spot and are stopped. Then they place the hole in the side of the barrel pointing down. Then a narrow tube rises and enters the barrel and a jet of boiling pitch is sprayed inside the barrel. After that the barrel moves further down the line and turned to a position so the molten pitch drains out of the barrell.

    Aftert that the barrels are branded with a hot iron and numbered.

    About every three months the Coopers used to make these one gallon miniture barrels. These had chromed rings and varnished. They are fitted with a tap and a stand. These barrels used to be raffled every three months and more at Christmas time. Youv'e seen these things in the shops. The first year year I was at the Brewery I won one of these. Still at home but never filled it with whisky.

    Towards the late 1950 the Coopers shop started to close down because the stainless steel barrels came on the market. It was sad to see this special trade fade away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rove View Post
    ... The tools they use are very queer looking things. Most of them are like home made tools ...
    Many of them, particularly the wooded ones, may well have been. I don't know about coopering specifically but in the days of wooded planes, etc, one of the tasks of apprentices in the woodworking trades was to make themselves a set of tools which they took with them when they became journeymen.

    Colin

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    Here in Bundaberg, Queensland ("Rum City") there is still a cooperage manufacturing wood barrels by hand. Happily they are situated right alongside the rum distillery

    regards
    Maureen

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    My ancestors were coopers in craster northumberland, as you now know its barrell making, where was your ancestor from ? , a coastal area ?

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    Default Dublin

    The Guinness factory in Dublin has a wonderful Visitor Centre with a great deal of audio visual information about the Cooper's craft.
    Sunpat

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