The word “cooper” originates from the barrel makers of Illyria and Cisalpine Gaul, where wine was stored in wooden vessels called “cupals,” and the maker was a “cuparius.”
Organized coopers’ guilds originated in Rome well before the Christian Era. They grew and flourished throughout medieval Europe and reached the apex of their membership in the late 19th century, before dwindling rapidly in the years following World War I, as other materials, first metals and then synthetics, replaced the wooden vessels formerly used throughout the household for washing, churning, eating, cooking, and storage.
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