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English pewter

While the term pewter covers a range of tin-based alloys, the term English pewter has come to represent a strictly-controlled alloy, specified by BSEN611-1 and British Standard 5140, consisting mainly of tin (ideally 92%), with the balance made up of antimony and copper. Significantly, it is free of lead and nickel. Although the exact percentages vary between manufacturers, a typical standard for present-day pewter is approximately 91% tin, 7.5% antimony and 1.5% copper.

From the 15th century onwards, the composition of English pewter was carefully protected by the Worshipful Company of Pewterers in London. The Company required that the finest quality English pewter contain at least 94% tin, with the balance made of other metals including lead. Lead was removed from the composition in 1974, by BS5140, reinforced by the European directive BSEN611 in 1994.

Until the end of the 18th century, the only method of manufacture was by casting and the soldering of components. From the last quarter of the 18th century, improvement in alloys and techniques allowed objects to be made from pewter by stamping and spinning.

  • Victoria & Albert Museum: Pewter History
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "English_pewter". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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