The Paul Revere House  

Revere Copper Products, Inc. traces its history back to the copper rolling mill that Paul Revere established on the banks of the Neponset River in Canton, Massachusetts, a venture close to Revere's heart.

It is fitting to celebrate Revere's achievements in copper. By the late eighteenth century, sheets of this "valuable & necessary Metal" were urgently needed to sheath the hulls of ships being constructed for the U.S. Navy. Motivated by patriotism and profit, Revere was determined that his government should not have to import copper sheet that he himself could make. During his twelve years as a foundry owner, beginning in 1788, Revere taught himself the "secret" of working copper and making it malleable and, by 1800, he boasted that "I have made the most improvements in that Branch of Metallurgy of any man in this State, if not in the United States"(Paul Revere to Harrison Gray Otis, March 1800).

By December 1800, inspired by this confidence and willing to risk his financial security for the public good, Revere wrote that he had "engaged to build me a mill for rolling Copper into sheets which for me is a great undertaking.."* By 1802, Revere wrote that he was carrying on "tolerably well" with his "Mill in the Country, where I role Copper into Sheets, make Bolts & Spikes &c," adding that "I and one of my Sons are the only persons in America that can do that business" (Paul Revere to Thomas Ramden, November 1802). Revere also claimed that his copper product was equal in quality to that of his English competitors.

Driven by an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, Paul Revere began his copper rolling mill at age 66 with a willingness to experiment, learning by trial and error. "We are gaining experience," he wrote in 1803, "I have had & now continue to have the whole to feel out, for I have not been able to get any information from any persons. Should I live and be able to take care of the Business for seven years to come I should not get to the Zenith" (Paul Revere to Joshua Humphreys, December 1803). Whether Revere ever, in his opinion, reached the "Zenith" we will never know, but he was constantly refining his operations and had made $25,000 worth of improvements to the works by 1807. For all of his trouble, Revere earned the encouragement of the federal government, his biggest customer, and the respect of his peers.

After the patriot's death in 1818, his son and partner, Joseph Warren Revere, ran the thriving business, known as Revere Copper Company, until his death in 1868. Several Revere family members, John Revere and then his two sons William Bacon Revere and Edward H.R. Revere remained active in the company. The company continued to grow and prosper through the nineteenth century, merging with several other copper and brass concerns. In 1928, six companies merged to become General Brass Company, then Republic Brass Corporation, and finally, in 1929, Revere Copper and Brass Inc. By 1938, James M.Kennedy, in the Rome manufacturing plant, by then a Division of Revere, had invented the ingenious copper-clad cookware, "Revere Ware," born of the same spirit of innovation that had motivated Paul Revere himself. With continued growth, in 1951 at the time of its 150th Anniversary, it was the oldest and largest independent copper fabricator with divisions throughout the country.

Today, Revere Copper Products is an employee-owned company with two facilities, its headquarters in Rome NY and a plant in New Bedford, MA. While the company no longer makes or owns "Revere Ware," it produces a wide range of copper and copper alloy mill materials. The endurance of this company serves as a reminder of the copper work that Revere knew and loved so well and of the value of the name Revere as an indicator of high quality, reliability and ingenuity.

* Quoted in E.H. Goss,The Life of Colonel Paul Revere, Vol. II, p. 559. All other quotes are from the Revere Family Papers collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society and are used with permission.

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