How It's Made
What is Pewter?
Pewter is one of the oldest known alloys, dating back to the Bronze Age. Fine pewter is a tin based alloy consisting of at least 90% tin and one to three percent each of silver, copper, bismuth, and antimony. At ASL Pewter, we use only 100% lead free pewter for all our casting and turning, making all of our pewter suitable for use with food or beverage. Historically, lead was added to pewter to extend the tin and lower the cost, or simply because a supply of tin was not readily available.
Does Pewter Tarnish?
Pewter does not tarnish in the same way a copper or silver will. The metal will oxidize at a slow, even rate, which results in a rich patina. This patina is considered a valuable enhancement to your pewter, and shows the piece has been lovingly used.
How is Pewter Made?
There are several processes that go into the production of a piece of fine pewter. These processes include casting, turning, and fabricating.
Casting of figural pieces, handles, finials, and other decorations involves melting the metal and pouring it into molds. The traditional molds were made from wood, stone, clay, sand, or metals like bronze or iron. We use these materials as well as modern molding compounds.
Turning is the art of taking a flat disc of pewter and, with the use of a lathe, making a bowl, plate, or cup. The flat piece of pewter is pushed into shape over a wooden form, using wooden tools.
Fabricating refers to all the ways pewter pieces are assembled or altered, including soldering, cutting, pressing, polishing, and finishing. All these processes are done by hand at ASL Pewter, much as they were accomplished centuries ago.
Our Unique Designs
All our masters are original to ASL Pewter, and copyrighted by us. Our designs are all functional and inspired by history, legend, and culture. At ASL Pewter, we make our own molds using masters that are carved from a variety of substances. We also make all our wooden forms for turning, making our plates and bowls unique to us.
Care of your Pewter
After each use, wash your pewter in warm, soapy water, rinse well and dry it immediately with a soft cloth. Do not put pewter in the dishwasher or microwave. Pewter dishes cannot be used over an open flame or in the oven. With this simple care, your pewter will give you years of use and enjoyment.