Pewter Flatware

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Pewter flatware gives a traditional look to a table setting. Some think of pewter as the poor man's version of silver, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pewter is a precious metal, just as silver is. It is an alloy made from at least 90 percent tin, with small amounts of copper and antimony added to it. Its deep luster and rich, silvery color have made pewter a desired part of homes and kitchens throughout Europe and America for centuries. And, unlike silver, pewter resists tarnishing to be functional and low-maintenance for many years of everyday use.

The Lineage of Pewter Flatware

Pewter utensils have been in use since the first pewter was made in Rome about 1500 B.C. This metal was found to be soft enough to be easily worked into delicate shapes, yet strong and durable enough to last for many years. The first pewter was made with high concentrations of lead, with wonderful results for the look of this fine metal and disastrous consequence for human health. In the 17th century it was discovered that lead is poisonous, and it was banned from the production of pewter.

Copper, antimony and bismuth replaced lead in pewter flatware. This made pewter not only safer but also stronger and more durable. Thus, the newly regulated pewter industry was able to produce utensils for common use and distribute them widely to people of all classes. The result was a tradition that lives on to this day. Pewter is still used for fine flatware, recognized for its elegance and easy care.

The look of pewter still captivates those who appreciate fine home accessories and dinnerware. Pewter flatware sets give the table setting an air of distinction not found in any other metal. Pewter produces forks, knives and spoons of rare elegance and style. Its unique look and feel remain timeless, a testament to the beauty and mystique of this centuries-old alloy.

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