At Inkerman, we use pewter in a number of our products so we thought it might be useful to give some background on what pewter actually is and how to look after it.
What is Pewter Made From?
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy. Traditionally it is made from 85–95% tin, mixed with approximately 5-10% antimony, 2% copper, bismuth. Currently, copper and antimony both act as hardeners. In the past, lead was used as a hardener. However, lead began to be removed from the production of the alloy in the early 20th century due to high levels of toxicity discovered in the metal. Subsequently, it was completely removed from pewter production in 1974.
History of Pewter
People have been making pewter for a very long time. Examples of pewter artefacts can be found in museums and collections that date back to Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Celts. Until the end of the 18th century, the only method of manufacturing pewter was by casting and the soldering of components. However, now pewter is often spun. Since the alloy is too soft for tools or weapons, there was no real Pewter Age like there was a Bronze and Iron Age. However, pewter has other qualities that make it ideal for making products such as jewellery and other items including eating utensils, tableware and candlesticks.
What Makes Pewter So Popular?
- Affordability: Since pewter contains mostly tin, the alloy costs less than gold, platinum, and even silver. Most pewter jewellery and other products are valued for their beauty and workmanship more than for the cost of the metal.
- Versatility: Because pewter is rather soft, it allows craftsmen to create distinctive and complex designs. Pewter pieces are often quite admired for their artistic merit and craftsmanship.
- Durability: Again, the softness of this alloy means that owners need to take care of their pieces. Pewter will not tarnish like silver and other metals, however, it does mark more easily. Therefore, good care of pewter products is essential.
How Do You Keep Pewter Products Looking New?
- If it has become dull, simply clean with a metal polish using a soft cloth.
- Always polish in straight lines for the best results.
- Wash it by hand in hot soapy water and dry it with a soft cloth.
Here at Inkerman, we have our very own range of exclusive pewter products made solely for us in workshops in Sheffield. These products are made up mostly of tableware, including Jugs, Hip Flasks, Drinking Cups, Table Mats and Coasters to name just a few.
To discover our full collection of pewter metal products click here now!