Antique Brass Russian Samovar

Antique brass Russian samovars symbolize Russian culture and hospitality, and were traditionally used to boil water for making tea. In the Russian language ‘samovar’ means ‘boils itself’. Read our guide for more facts & information about Anti

The samovar culture is still alive in Russia and worldwide, owing to Russian emigrants who have been retaining the culture in their homes. Crafted with various designs, ranging from simplistic to utility creations, antique samovars portray ornate metal work, handcrafted by metalworkers from Tula. Today samovars are predominant in Russia and countries of central Asia and Eastern Europe. They are even used in trains, where hot water for tea is kept in samovars.

History of brass Russian samovar

The origin of the samovar dates back to the 17th century, when tea sent to Russia from Mongolia was used as a medicinal drink by nobles. During those days, ‘Sbiten’ used to be the main drink in Russia, and tea made with medicinal herbs and honey, boiled in water, was competing with it. Samovar kitchens invented in Tula and Urals in the following century had one portion that was exclusively used for tea-making.

Early brass samovars, which are valuable antique pieces today, were produced in Urals, Tula, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The earliest samovar factory was set up in 1778 by Nasar Usitsin at Tula. Tula, famous for gunsmiths, had the infrastructure for making samovar, including mines and skilled expertise. Various metals such as brass, silver, bronze, copper and stainless steel are used in making samovar, though brass samovars still offer a lot of antique collections. Samovar making reached a peak in Tula during the later half of the 19th century.

Unique antique brass samovars from Russia

Though used as domestic utensils, brass samovars were ornamented with engraved or embossed images and patterns and viewed as art works. The astonishing creativity and conservative design coupled with durability draws the attention of people worldwide. Tula samovars are found throughout Russia. Exhibitions and fairs offer brass and other samovars in several shapes namely, pear-shaped, vase-shaped and wine-glass shaped.

Working of traditional samovar

A traditional brass samovar consists of a brass urn and a spigot, and water is heated and dispensed to make hot beverages, particularly tea. Coal or other fuel, packed through the middle region of the urn within the chimney, is used for heating and a flue on the samovar’s top sends out the exhaust. They were first crafted to boil and keep water warm all through the day with the aid of the heat-conducting metal. However, today electrical heating elements are used in samovars. The Russian method involves the preparation of highly concentrated tea, known as ‘zavarka’, in a tea pot which is poured in cups and diluted with hot water from a samovar. Tea is never brewed inside the samovar, but in a separate teapot.

Rare antique Imperial Russian samovars

Russian samovars of the imperial period form excellent collectibles and usually contain the maker’s mark, and at times the date and place, at the bottom. Antique appraisers can officially evaluate the value of brass antique samovars, which are superior to those made of iron. Several brass samovars were handcrafted by Jewish immigrants at New York’s Allen Street during the last two decades of the 19th century. During the Great Immigration, the street was called ‘Brass Town’, as numerous metal craftsmen, who were Jewish immigrants from the Russian nation brought the tradition.

Antique brass Russian samovars are highly valued for their traditional importance and ornate craftsmanship, depicting the innate creativity of those days.