FINE pewter has never contained lead. Technically, when the alloy contains anything other than tin, bismuth, silver, copper, or antimony, it is no longer pewter, but simply a pot metal. At ASL Pewter, our pewter is 100% lead free, making it suitable for food & beverage use.
We purchase our raw materials from USA based companies. For our cast pieces, we purchase pewter in ingots to melt down, and for our spun pieces we utilize pewter discs of varying diameters.
For our patrons who prefer a more primitive look, we offer our Museum Finish. We prepare the surface of the pewter and give it an instant patina. The resulting finish is a soft dark grey. Remember, this is a surface finish – it can be uneven and the white metal is underneath.
Below on the left are pieces with our Polished Finish. The picture on the right shows the Museum Finish.
Caring For Pewter
One of the great joys of pewter is that is it easy to care for. Pewter does not need to be polished as it does not tarnish as silver does. Rather is begins to very evenly patina, or darken, over time. This adds character, beauty and value to the piece.
Pewter does not need to be polished – just wash with warm, soapy water and dry with a soft, dry cloth.
You should not put pewter in the dishwasher (those detergents can be very abrasive, and the temperatures can get very hot), nor in the oven. Since pewter melts at 465°F, you will damage the piece. Finally, as it IS a metal, do not use it in the microwave.
We make all of our pewter pieces in our foundry, utilizing a variety of techniques including:
- Casting – Casting is the oldest form of metal work. It involves melting the metal and pouring it into a prepared mold – literally, it’s pouring liquid in a hole! At ASL Pewter, we cast in antique and vintage molds and also in modern molds we make in-house.
- Metal Spinning – Spinning is a process that is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt. The technique as we know it today began in France in the 1780s. We take a measured, flat disc of pewter and move it into a desired shape over a wooden form on a metal spinning lathe. The lathe we are using was first put into service in 1873 and it was water-powered and belt-driven. We are the first to put electricity to it.
- Welding – Welding is the joining of two pieces together. We use wire made of exactly the same alloy as our casting and metal spinning alloy, going pieces with our micro torch heat source. For instance, welding is how stems and goblet tops are put together, how handles are added to mugs, and how we embellish our pieces with decorations.
- We make use of a large selection of antique and vintage molds that date from the 1650s and are made of bronze, brass, stone, gunmetal or aluminum. We’ve acquired these molds from antique dealers, auctions and museums.
- We create modern molds from silicone and rubber compounds to cast our original designs.
- We cut our own wooden forms for metal spinning to the shapes of our drinking vessels, bowls, trays and serving pieces. All of our spun pieces start with flat sheets of pewter that are spun into shape over those forms on a lathe.
History of Pewter
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