Pewter - (Metal)

Pewter - (Metal) An alloy of tin with an admixture of another metal usually lead, but sometimes brass or copper. This alloy can be worked by casting, also by turning and hammering. The Romans made pewter of high quality and design. In medieval times the tableware of kings and the nobility was of pewter. In England the Pewterers' Guild was officially recognized in 1348; by the end of the fifteenth century pewter had almost superseded treen (wooden platters); in 1504 marking was made compulsory (the rule much flouted, of course), standards of `London quality' were set. There was much pewter produced in France, Germany and Switzerland from the fourteenth century onwards; the English product is plain compared to most Continental pewter. Though earthenware came into common use in the seventeenth century, pewter held its own till almost the end of the eighteenth century; but Britannia metal (q.v.) killed the art, which, by 1850, was almost extinct, though certain articles such as tankards and measures continued (and continue) to be made.

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