pewter
Three Feathers Pewter Logo
Three Feathers Pewter
Handmade Pewterware
12 East Jackson Street
Millersburg, Ohio 44654-1214
United States
330-674-0404 Phone / Fax

Email Us

Established 1984
Business Wholesale Inquiries Welcome
Tableware

 

About the Pewter Craft

 

Pewter, the second alloy known to man, is one of the most versatile and beautiful metals in use today. This tin based alloy can be cast, cut, formed, fused and spun. Using a lead-free alloy developed in the late 1790’s, Three Feathers Pewter ® creates functional pieces in the Early American style, including plates, goblets, spoons, bowls, and candlesticks as well as buttons from various historical periods and jewelry of traditional symbols and shapes. The designs have won numerous awards for their beauty and simplicity and have been chosen by Early American Homes magazine for excellence in craftsmanship.
         
Pewter, as an alloy, can be traced back through over 5000 years of history to the time of the Bronze age. The earliest pewter, a combination of tin with a small percentage of copper and a significant portion of lead was used in the Orient for decorative and religious vessels. The Romans knew and used pewter to a considerable extent and had developed a great deal of expertise in its working. Besides utensils, the Romans used pewter for coins and seals of office. By the Renaissance most European nations were well advanced in the working and use of pewter. Pewter Guilds were formed in various European countries as early as the 1300’s.
        
Early pewter was primarily cast in a variety of mold materials or hammered and formed from ingot. In the late eighteenth century, with the development of a pewter alloy containing antimony (sometimes called Britannia) the technique of spinning pewter disks over wooden forms was developed. This process may be witnessed at the Three Feathers Pewter ® studio where disks are spun and formed into a variety of shapes over hard maple forms produced by and for Three Feathers Pewter ® in various historic designs.
              
As Three Feathers Pewter ® develops our own spinning forms, we also make our own molds and do our own casting in the studio. Many of the cast pieces are done by a direct molding process from historic originals or are developed through research and hand making of an original using either the lost wax method or acid etch engraving. These pieces are then placed in a centrifugal mold for casting. Cast pieces are finished by hand then combined with spun parts by fusing to create the beautiful pieces on display and available for purchase.

 

 

~ What are the U.S. Federal Guidelines on pewter? ~

 
The United States Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries reads as follows:
 
§ 23.8 Misrepresentation as to content of pewter.
 
(a) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise represent all or part of an industry product as "Pewter" or any abbreviation if such mark or description misrepresents the product's true composition.
 
(b) An industry product or part thereof may be described or marked as "Pewter" or any abbreviation if it consists of at least 900 parts per 1000 Grade A Tin, with the remainder composed of metals appropriate for use in pewter.

 

 

~ What's the difference between Pewter and Britannia? ~

 
"PEWTER"
          
Pewter is an alloy of TIN and other metals, commonly Lead (for malleability), Copper, Antimony,   Bismuth and occasionally Zinc (all as hardeners).  Historically there was no Silver in the alloy.  The term "Poor Man's Silver" was a comment on those who would polish their pewter to make it look like Silver.  The first pewter was used over 5000 years ago for coins, jewelry and vessels such as bottles, plates and drinking cups.  In the Colonial Period in North America, there were many pewterers carrying on the European traditions of making fine plates, bowls, drinking vessels, and "any uncommon Thing in Pewter in any Shape or Form as shall be Ordered".
         
Not all old pewter contained lead as is sometimes believed.  There were different classes of pewter with the finest using only Tin, Copper and Antimony.  Tavern tankards, pitchers and flagons as well as plates did contain lead which made the pewter more malleable so that dents could be easily repaired.  Pewter jewelry was commonly used by those who could not afford Silver and gold as well as by Native Americans who could melt and cast their own pewter pieces over camp fires.
        
Three Feathers Pewter uses "Crown" formula pewter - 93% Tin - 6% Antimony - 1% Copper, developed in Great Britain during the late 18th Century.  It does not now, and never did contain Lead.

 

"BRITANNIA"
         
defined in: American Pewter: by J. B. Kerfoot; Bonanza Books, New York, 1924
        
"...'Britannia' was a trade name given to a superfine grade of pewter by some English makers along about the middle of the eighteenth century.  That it then differed little if at all from other tin-copper-antimony alloys in occasional use can be seen by taking the fourth formula in the above list (reproduced below), calculating it for one hundred fifty parts of tin instead of for ninety parts as given, and comparing the result with the ninth formula.

 

We then get the following:
TIN COPPER ANTIMONY
Plate Pewter (3)............... 150 (92%) 3.33 (3%) 11 (6%)
Good Britannia Metal........ 150 (92%) 3 (3%) 10 (6%)

 

"It looks as though the name may have been more of an advertising dodge than indicative of a metallurgical innovation.  And it may not be altogether a coincidence that this advertising mane was adopted just at the time when pewter's monopoly of the tableware business was being first seriously threatened by the growing use of china."

 

 

~ The Care & Cleaning of Pewter ~
How do I care for my Pewter?
        
The first rule in caring for Pewter is USE IT. Handling gives Pewter its distinctive patina. Like your fine crystal, after each use, gently hand wash your Pewter in mild soap and warm water, followed by gentle towel drying. An occasional cleaning with an ammonia based glass cleaner will remove any soap film. We do not recommend putting your Pewter in the dishwasher. Don’t use your Pewter as a food storage container, and always line your Pewter with glass or plastic if you intend to use it for plants or flowers. With very little care, your Pewter will retain its beautiful luster for many years.

 

 

Can my Pewter be repaired?
          
Surface scratches and minor blemishes can be removed using 0000 steel wool or a moistened "Scotch-Brite"* pad by blending the scratch into the satin finish. Other repairs such as dents and accidental bends are best left to a skilled artisan.

 

 

~ Finding the Origin of Your Pewter ~
How do I find out what company made my Pewter?
         
Many who have inherited, been gifted with or collected pewter over the years would like to know what company originally made their pewter.  Most pewter pieces have a "makers mark" or "stamp", usually located on the bottom.  Those "marks" can be research on the internet, through your local library and through pewter clubs and organizations.

 

 

How do I find out how much my old pewter is worth?
        
To find out the current value of your pewter it is suggested you take your pewter to a Licensed Appraiser.

 

* "Scotch Brite" is a trademark of the 3M Co.

 

A List of Some Well Known Pewter Companies

 

 

Bowls
Candle Holders
Desk Accessories
Goblets & Cups
Knives
Napkin Rings
Plates & Trays
Sets
Spoons
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Barware
Barware
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New Items
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Celtic
Celtic Items
pewter
Gifts
Ladies Gifts
Men Gifts
Baby Gifts
Kids Gifts
Wedding Gifts
Anniversary Gifts
Housewarming Gifts
Nautical Gifts
pewter
Buttons
Buttons 2-Hole 4-Hole
Buttons Animals
Buttons Celtic
Buttons Decorative
Buttons Military
Buttons Plants (Stylized)
USA Button
Knitting Buttons (Thin - Lightweight)
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Jewelry
Bracelets & Cuffs
Earcuffs & Nose Ties
Earrings
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Pendants
Pendants Animals
Pendants Asian
Pendants Celtic
Pendants Crosses
Pendants Native American (style)
pewter
Pins & Clasps
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Miscellany
Chatelaine Accessories
Coins
Pipe Tampers
Toys & Games
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Ornaments
Ornaments Animals
Ornaments Food / Plants
Ornaments Halloween
Ornaments Insects
Ornaments Objects
Ornaments People
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Retail Price Lists
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About the Pewter Craft
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