History of Pewter

A Brief History of Pewter

Pewter has been around in one form or another for many years.  Here at The Pocket Hip Flask Company we sell lead free English pewter hip flasks.  This high quality food grade pewter is safe for storing your liquid in your new hip flask.

Pewter is still a rather unknown metal to many and although it is used for many things in many ways, for some Pewter is just being discovered. And loved I may add.

History of Pewter, Pewter Hip FlaskLets’ start with what Pewter is – : Basically it is a metal alloy which traditionally is made mostly from tin, around 85% to 99% with the remainder being made up of copper and antimony. Occasionally depending  on the use, it may contain lead however this is less and less common these days.

Pewter is a wonderfully versatile metal with quite a long history dating back to 1450 BC where the first ever piece was found in an Egyptian tomb. Other than Egypt the earliest recorded used was in the bronze ages and then after that, Pewter really came into its own and was used for many things.  From what I can gather in the 15th century there were 3 different grades of Pewter, each with a different use.

There was Fine Metal Pewter which was the posh version that they used for posh tableware for the upperHistory of Pewter, Pewter Hip Flask classes and was made up of 99% tin and 1% copper. The copper was used as a hardening agent.
The next type was what they called trifle Pewter and was used for holloware which was tableware such as your jugs and sugar bowls etc. Again, used by the upper classes who could afford it. The trifle Pewter was made up of the fine metal pewter with a 4% lead content.
The last but by no means least type was called ley Pewter and was used to make anything that was not to contain food or drink. The lead content of ley metal was much higher at 15% so you can see why you wouldn’t want to use this for anything that you might want to eat or drink from!

All three of these methods were used right up until the 20th century with very little or no modification. As times changed and it was realised that lead was hazardous to health if ingested, it was decided that lead would no longer be used in most cases especially not for tableware’s!

Pewter Today

History of Pewter, Pewter Hip FlaskTo be honest, these days, Pewter has been mostly replaced when it comes to tableware. It would seem that a mix of ceramics and porcelains have take its place. Fear not though, there is still plenty of Pewter around from pewter hip flasks to cufflinks and the likes.

The ratio of tin to copper and antimony will change depending on the use. The more tin used,  the softer the Pewter will be, of course there is no lead used in pewter nowadays.

People seem to think that Pewter is a cheaper substitute for Silver however, that is not the case. Due to the versatility of Pewter, people often choose this over silver as it is easier to work with. Consumers are also in love with Pewter too as depending on how it is cast, it can be polished to a nice and bright silver colour with the most incredible shine. Or, you can have it as a duller matt shade of silver. Either way they look wonderful!