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Pewter Crafts

Pewter Crafts

Step by step pewter craft projects

Pewter Dress
Pewter dress

Follow Joan Launspach's instructions and learn how to create a stunning dress using pewter.

Pewter Key Ring
pewter key ring

We love the look of these pewter keyrings. This step-by-step makes learning how to make pewter keyrings a breeze!

Articles on Pewter


What is pewter?

Pewter items are often found in churches. 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. 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. 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. Although some items still exist, Ancient Roman pewter is very rare.

Unlidded mugs and lidded tankards may be the most familiar pewter artifacts from the late 17th and 18th centuries, although the metal was 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, such as collectible statuettes and figurines, replica coins, pendants, etc. Certain athletic contests, such as the United States figure skating championships, award pewter medals to the fourth place finishers.

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


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