Our pewter is an alloy of tin, antimony and copper, tin being the main component at 92% (or in some cases 95%). Tin in its pure form, whilst being the fourth most precious metal in common use today, is too soft for practical use. Copper and antimony are therefore added as hardening agents. The Association of British Pewter Craftsmen stipulates its members pewter is made up of a minimum of 90% tin, the remainder being composed of antimony and copper, and that a minimum of .026 gauge metal is used ensuring an adequate quality and weight is achieved. Pewter is available in a variety of finishes all ideal for the production of giftware, being highly practical and durable whilst also being easily engraved. Tin is a plentiful natural resource and tin mining has little or no impact on the environment. Tin is the fourth most precious metal in common usage after platinum, gold and silver. It is bright and attractive and extremely versatile. The first known record of a pewter article was the discovery of a bottle in an Egyptian tomb believed to date back to l45OBC. It is a flask shaped utensil with hinged lid and two handles, and when analysed was found to be comparable with early 19th century pewter. Pewter was introduced into Britain around the 2nd century A.D. by the Romans but it wasn't until the 13th century that significant production began. By then, pewter was beginning to be widely used for items such as chalices, pilgrim badges and other ecclesiastical items. From the fourteenth century pewter manufacture grew rapidly and almost every market town of any size would have a pewterer in its craft guild. In 1474 the London Pewterers 'purchased' from King Edward IV a royal charter for the legal control of pewter manufacture - the birth of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, which is still going strong to this day. In these early times pewter contained lead which gave the metal the dark appearance associated with old pieces. Today's lead free pewter is capable of being brightly polished which gives it its long lasting appeal. Further developments took place until, by the seventeenth century there was scarcely a household in Britain that did not possess some items of pewter; plates, bowls, candlesticks, buttons - everyday items. Tableware and holloware accounted for the majority of pewter manufacture from then until the late nineteenth an twentieth centuries when other materials took over the role of pewter. It seems strange that now only the tankard and Spirit Flask are the major items of pewter in manufacture, although in recent years there has been a noticeable trend in development of products away from these. Highly polished appearance which does not tarnish or discolour easily. It is a solid material, not plated, which is important when engraving is required. It is extremely competitively priced against products of similar appearance. Made in Britain, using skilled craftsmen who employ traditional methods handed down through the centuries. Each piece is individually made - no two pieces are identical. Pewterware manufacture can be divided into two categories - cast and spun. Manufacture is commenced from a variety of sizes of sheet, circles or special blanks, and craftsmen are employed in five main areas in the manufacturing process. Metal smithing This is where we solder together the component parts e.g. the handle to the tankard. Temperature is critical - if it is too cool the solder will not flow, too hot then the product itself will melt. Spinning Here the metal is placed in a lathe and spun very quickly. Using a variety of tools, the craftsman moves the metal into the shape required over a form called a chuck. Buffing By applying to the product on a rotating mop a mixture of oil and an abrasive powder, similar to pummice, solder lines and abrasions can be smoothed away giving the product a one-piece look. Polishing This operation of app lying via a rotating cotton mop a polishing compound gives the product its lustrous, long lasting appearance. Casting Using a wide variety of metal or rubber moulds we can produce items such as handles, badges and figures. Today's pewter does not tarnish and will keep its lustre with a minimum of care. It should be washed in hot soapy water and dried with a soft cloth. Never put pewter items in a dishwasher. If through neglect it has become dull, clean with a metal polish prior to washing. Always polish in straight lines, not in circles, for best results. Finally, remember, in buying a piece of pewterware today our customers are buying just one small part in a tradition which dates back centuries. By Act of Parliament in 1503 all pewter manufacturers were required to strike their maker's mark on their wares. This was to enable identification to be made when checks were carried out at local fairs, London pewterers recorded their marks on thick flat plates kept at Pewterers Hall, where they can still be seen to this day. Today Wentworth Pewter has its own five part touchmark which can be found on almost all products manufactured. 1) ARW - the initials of our company 2) 92 or 95 - denoting the percentage of tin in the metal 3) ABPC or Seahorse - shows membership of the Association of British Pewter Craftsmen, the seahorse is applied to pieces of a superior weight 4) Crossed Arrows - part of the City of Sheffield Coat of Arms 5) EPU 301 - our membership mark of the recently created European Pewter Union It is not practical to place touchmarks on small items such as thimbles, but the quality of the pewter and the craftsmanship is of the same high standard.