Cooper BY: Miller

What is a "Cooper?"

Have you ever heard of a "Cooper"? You will be surprised how important they are. Without them, colonial people would be missing many different materials. Why? Because coopers make casks to help with trading on boats. Nowadays, coopers are most commonly known as "barrel makers", and they can turn things such as hogshead into everything from churns to tubs. They also crafted many different type of casks. But that's not all, there is much more to learn about the importance of coopers in colonial times.

Types of Coopers

For example, did you know there are many different kinds of casks? Barrels are just one of them. In fact, barrels are made by only "tight coopers". Other different types of casks as well. The "tight cooper" crafted white clear oak staves that split from the heavy center of the tree. They fit one wood or iron bar which was called a stave to another, and connected them to make casks for liquids from milk, to wine.

Coopers often put wine in these casks.

Usefulness of Coopers

A lot of colonial coopers did their work on plantations to produce the large amount of hogsheads that are needed to ship tobacco from Virginia all the way to Great Britain. Some different coopers did their jobs in towns such as Williams-burg, morphing slaves and hoops into many different things such as butter churns and tubs. Coopers have also been found in merchant and military vessels, since casks where so common aboard many different ships.

What goes into casks?

Coopers also crafted many different casks which held substances such as, flour, gunpowder, tobacco and other commodities. Casks also served as shipping containers and could hold many different liquids.


As you can see, coopers are very important. And without coopers, we wouldn't be where we are today, because without casks, we couldn't trade with Britain, or any other colonies.


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