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A History Of Pewter

Due to the lack of written chronicles in the period known as the Dark Ages, there is a veil over the inception and history of Pewter manufacture and usage in Europe.
However, we know that by the 14th Century AD, Pewter was being widely used in place of wood and pottery for tableware and other household purposes.

The composition of early Roman Pewter ware was variable to say the least, and it commonly contained as much as 20% to 30% of Lead. There are, however, serious problems when using objects with a high Lead content in the Pewter, as the Toxicity of the Lead renders it undesirable for drinking vessels or liquid measures.
Lead also causes Pewter to tarnish readily and to blacken with age, which gave rise to the image of Pewter as a ‘dull grey metal’. Furthermore, Lead is both cheaper and denser than tin, and therefore gives a false appearance of value for money. Throughout the Middle Ages, it was one of the main aims of the Pewterers’ Craft Guilds,to limit the Lead content of the metal they used by imposing penalties on Members who debased their alloys.

Craft Guilds sprang up throughout Europe, as Craftsmen banded together to protect their Craft secrets, to uphold production standards and to regulate social conduct.
Typical of the disciplines imposed on the Members of a Guild, is the system employed by the Worshipful Company of Pewterers of London. They were formed in 1348, and received a Charter granted by the Sovereign in 1473, which empowered the Company to seize and destroy Pewter below a certain standard, and also to impose fines and other penalties on its Members for failing to uphold the Craft. From 1503, an Act of Parliament required Members of the Company to register their ‘Touch-marks’, which were ‘to be recorded on Tablets of Pewter’ and kept at the Hall of the Guild. The use of a Maker’s Touch-mark on his products served not only to safeguard the Craftsman, but also enable the public to have confidence in the quality of the product.

The Association of British Pewter Craftsmen have also adopted the device of ‘Touch-marks’ or Trade Marks, which are restricted to their Members, and indicate compliance with the Standards and Objects of the Association. These Registered Designs that may appear on literature and labels, as well as stamped on individual Pewter-ware, supplement any Maker’s identifying or Trade Mark
and form an additional Guarantee of Quality. Another concern of the Association of British Pewter Craftsmen, is to regulate the purity of their alloys. They are re-enforcing their efforts, by supporting the introduction of National Standards to define the composition of modern Pewter alloys.
Throughout its long history, both the designs of Pewter and the precise composition of the alloys used have varied from time to time. At one stage it was common to distinguish between ‘Fine Pewter’, which was an alloy of Tin hardened with Copper in definite and recognizable proportions, and ‘Common Pewter’, which had a proportion of Lead. In Britain in the middle of the 16th Century, a Fine Pewter with a bright finish was developed, which was an alloy of Tin with a small quantity of Antimony and no Lead. This became known as Britannia Metal. It was harder than ordinary Pewter and amenable to spinning techniques.

The last few decades of the 20th Century, saw a remarkable resurgence of interest in Pewter. Its production moved from the small scale aspect of the past, into a modern industry.
Long established Pewterers are still to this day expanding and modernizing their methods, whilst upholding their traditions of fine workmanship.
New entrants into the industry are introducing new marketing and manufacturing methods, in order to cater for the wishes of a new generation of purchaser.

Website Pewter World

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The new trend of Pewter products

 

Ever thought of something tangible, crafty enough for use and can also be kept as a treasure? Or
maybe an item that portrays an awesome lot of meaning than it appears.?
Consider objects fabricated from pewter. Some items give lasting memories than others not because
they are pricey and speaking apparently about cost, pewter made merchandise are inexpensive as
compared to merchandise made from its comparable counterpart, Silver, or maybe because they are
time-venerated and represent tradition. You probably be wondering what form of materials/metals is
pewter fabricated from or maybe made of. Well, pewter is a malleable alloy composed of majorly tin,
with copper, antimony and bismuth represented in minute percentages and usually lead free for present
day use. Pewter has history, which could serve as a guide for where we are coming from and wherein we
are headed. Pewter has been used in the making of housewares since time immemorial, first piece was
found in an Egyptian tomb as far back as the 1450 B.C. used in the ancient world by Egyptians and later
the Romans. In Europe, it was an ostentatious item that was only for the affluent could afford, its
popularity in the household and tavern however dwindled due to the fact that it contained lead and also
attributable to the arrival of porcelain which was taken into consideration as a replacement for the
noxious pewter in the making of household wares. In latest years, the lead constituent of pewter has
been done away with as only the purest of tin ore is now used to produce pewter with the minute quantities
of lead removed in the refinement process.
Pewter products present with features a number of which include:

  • They are less pricey as compared to wares made from silver.
  • They are quite difficult to break due to its copper and antimony constituents.
  • They are effortlessly formed into special designs because of its malleability and somewhat low melting point.
  • The present day pewter contains no lead as such doesn’t get dark appearances and can be burnish to enhance its attraction.
  • These products are exceptional and would continue to be reckoned with as they are object seldom found around.
  • It bears a warm, hand crafted appearance.

Today, product designs made of Pewter is back and better, Pewter world ( www.pewterworld.co.uk ) takes us
back in time, helping us relive the past, getting us in touch with tradition, appreciating the creative
work of art with the advanced quality of pewter containing no lead, made in Sheffield by expert craftsmen.
Fine, and quality tankards that no longer give metallic tang whilst used to serve drinks, portable Hip
flasks which could be engraved with touch marks, unique Goblets that stand out at dinners, social gatherings
and children’s gifts of amazing crafts and a selection of Pewter jewellery from Scotland and Cornwall.
Other Pewter products available include Certificate holders, Decanters, Key rings, Picture frames, Shells,
Tableware, Vases, Trophies, Hip flasks, Drams, Letter opener, BarwareGift boxes,
Glasses, Flutes, Plinth’s, Quaich’s, Shaving and Trinket Boxes.
They are time-commemorated products yet meeting the needs of the current generation. Antique but not obsolete.

 

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