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Silver Plate Duck Press by Joseph Heinrichs

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Silver Plate Duck Press by Joseph Heinrichs

- Item No.

Item Details

  • Height:
    15 1/4 Inches
  • Period:
This curious silver plate mechanism, crafted by the renowned Joseph Heinrichs, is known as a duck press, or press à canard, and was once an indispensable element of French cuisine. Used for squeezing the juices out of a duck carcass in preparing the traditional dish canard au sang, this screw-type appliance was both efficient and easy to use. The cast metal frame, fabulously standing on two duck feet, was meant to be secured to a work surface, and with the double-latched silver-plate container, was built to last. At one time, no respectable French restaurant would be without one of these grand devices, but today, even new presses are hard to find outside of the finest establishment. An antique example such as this, with its elegant appearance and superior construction of cast iron and nickel plate, is even more scarce and highly sought after by those with a most discerning palette.  

Joseph Heinrichs became well known during his 40 years in business for training his metal smiths for manufacturing and working with some of the heaviest gauges of copper on the market.  Opening in New York City in 1897 and later expanding to Paris, Heinrichs was one of the most prominent copper, silver and brass manufacturers of the time. The firm produced items of copper with silver accents for most of the major retailers, including signature pieces for Tiffany's, and for some of the top hotels, restaurants, steamships and railroads of the day. Because of the extensive training that his smiths underwent, Heinrich kitchenware was of a far superior weight, craftsmanship and patina. 

Attached to wood stand  

  Stamped "Jos. Heinrichs/ Paris + New York/ Silver Soldered"

  15 1/4" high   

  Circa 1900  

  A duck press was a permanent fixture in every respectable Parisian kitchen and was considered a necessary tool of French haute cuisine. This wonderful example is exceptionally large and finely crafted, and would have been found only in the most exclusive establishments. Pressed duck is a French specialty in which the legs and breast are removed from a medium rare roasted duck, and the remainder of the bird is compressed in a duck press to extract the juices. These juices are mixed with wine, butter, peppercorns and truffles, and then flamed with cognac to produce a delectable sauce which is served over the breast and legs. In finer restaurants, the canardier would perform the extraction and flambeau right at the dinner table.

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Price: $18,500
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