Pewter is a metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin, with the remainder consisting of copper and antimony, acting as hardeners, with the addition of lead for the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. The word "pewter" is probably a variation of the word spelter, a non-scientific name for zinc.


Use of pewter was common from the Middle Ages up until the various developments in glass-making during the 18th and 19th centuries. Pewter was the chief tableware until the making of porcelain. Mass production of glass products has seen glass universally replace pewter in day-to-day life. Pewter artifacts continue to be produced, mainly as decorative or specialty items. Pewter was also used around East Asia. Roman pewter items are very rare, although some are still in existenceFact|date=October 2008.

Unlidded mugs and lidded tankards may be the most familiar pewter artifacts from the late 17th and 18th centuries, although the metal is also used for many other items including porringers, plates, dishes, basins, spoons, measures, flagons, communion cups, teapots, sugarbowls, beer steins and cream jugs. In the early 19th century, changes of fashion witnessed a decline in the use of pewter flatware, but increased production of both cast and spun pewter tea sets, whale-oil lamps, candlesticks, etc. Later in the century, pewter alloys were often used as a base metal for silver-plated objects.

Today, pewter is mainly used in decorative objects, namely collectible statuettes and figurines, replica coins, pendants, etc.

Other facts

Modern pewters contain little or no lead, which has been replaced with antimony or bismuth. Older pewters with higher lead content tarnish faster and heavier, and oxidation gives them a darker silver-grey color. When modern pewter does become tarnished, it is more easily cleaned than "classic" pewter.

Contrary to urban legend, the use of lead-containing pewter tableware was unrelated to the mistrust of tomatoes as a foodstuff in Northern Europe during the 16th century [ [ Medieval History: The Bad Old Days] ] .


ee also

*Britannia metal
*English pewter
*Spin casting - a common method for mass producing pewter castings.

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  • Pewter — Pew ter, n. [OE. pewtyr, OF. peutre, peautre, piautre: cf. D. peauter, piauter, It. peltro, Sp. & Pg. peltre, LL. peutreum, pestrum. Cf. {Spelter}.] 1. A hard, tough, but easily fusible, alloy, originally consisting of tin with a little lead, but …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pewter — [pyo͞ot′ər] n. [ME peutre < OFr peautre, akin to It peltro < ?] 1. any of various alloys containing mostly tin with varying percentages of antimony, copper, lead, etc. 2. articles made of pewter adj. made of pewter …   English World dictionary

  • pewter — mid 14c. (implied in pewterer), any of various alloys having tin as their main constituent (the usual form is one part lead to four parts tin), from O.Fr. peautre (12c.), from V.L. *peltrum pewter (Cf. Sp. peltre, It. peltro), of uncertain origin …   Etymology dictionary

  • Pewter — ist: eine Zinnlegierung, siehe Hartzinn ein Farbschlag der Perserkatze, siehe Fellfarben der Katze Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichneter Begriffe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pewter — Pewter. См. Певтер (Сплав олова). (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • Pewter — (spr. Pjuht r), so v.w. Britanniametall …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pewter — (spr. pjūter), eine Legierung, aus der in Kambodscha Münzen hergestellt werden (s. Britanniametall) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pewter — (engl., spr. pjut r), s.v.w. Hartmetall (s.d.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • pewter — ► NOUN ▪ a grey alloy of tin with copper and antimony (formerly, tin and lead). ORIGIN Old French peutre …   English terms dictionary

  • pewter — /pyooh teuhr/, n. 1. any of various alloys in which tin is the chief constituent, originally one of tin and lead. 2. a container or utensil made of such an alloy. 3. such utensils collectively: a revival of interest in pewter. 4. Brit. Slang. a.… …   Universalium

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