Pewter sauce boat with unknown touchmark, English, 18th century.

Image number: 10305819

Pewter sauce boat with unknown touchmark, English, 18th century.

Pewter is a soft alloy consisting of 80-90% tin, and 10-20% lead. It is easy to engrave, and unlike silver, is resistant to tarnishing with age. It sometimes includes small quantities of antimony to add hardness, or copper if a softer alloy is required. During the Middle Ages pewter was used to make practical items such as plates, bowls and drinking vessels, and objects made from it were highly prized. Pewter made by British craftsmen had a particular reputation for quality. In the 18th and 19th centuries alternative materials such as glass and China superseded pewter for making utensils for everyday use, and today it is generally only used for decorative wares.

Image number:
10305819
Credit:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
28 October 2003 11:36
Image rights:
Science Museum