Tin as Pewter is
one of the oldest metals known to Man. He has made use of it for about five
millennia. Tin alloyed with copper gave its name to the Bronze Age. In the Middle
Ages, when there were still rich ore deposits in the mountains, pewter
tableware displaced the earthen and wooden plates and dishes from castle and
farm keeps. Thus, the use of Pewter at the dinner table has been well known
Today in many
restaurants, meals and beverages are again served on pewter. You should try
it at home! Give pewter plates and dishes a try in the traditional way: with
sausage and sauerkraut, bread and cheese, and roasted meat. Beer and wine
from pewter cups and mugs tastes wonderfully fresh and cool. Pewter enhances
the flavor. And delightful smells from coffee and tea waft from the pewter
cups, which hold the heat for quite some time.
The pewter ware
on your table will create a festive atmosphere and will of course make you
the talk of the town! Tin plates and tin cups have a unique tone and will
bring comfort and warmth into your home.
High-quality Pewter carries the handicraft seal
large pewter assortment, it is not easy to make the correct choice. In order
to help the customer make an educated purchase, the Pewter Guild has created
a mark of quality, the Handicraft Seal.
guarantees that the pewter product is appropriate for food and drink and
follows the recommended manufacturing process (DIN17810). It guarantees that
the products conform to the highest standards. Our Master workshops strive
for such high quality.
With this seal
the buyer can be assured they receive a high-quality and consistent pewter
product. The seal indicates a product you can trust – always look on the
bottom of your purchase. That is where you will find the handicraft seal of
the Pewter Guild!
Good Pewter, a value for generations
If one knows that
cans, baking and cooking utensils are plated, one easily realizes that high
quality pewterware is useful for meals and beverages. Pewter does not smell
nor leave an aftertaste.
the last few years some foreign manufacturers tried to offer so-called
“pewter utensils” as cheaply as possible and utilized materials that did not
correspond to the requirements of the German food and consumer articles law.
The designation regulation RAL- RG 683 (Committee for terms of delivery and
quality assurance) meant that the term “pewter” may be only used with a
minimum content of 90% tin. Less than 90% and the product may be designated
“pewter alloy”, and it cannot be used for the manufacture of utensils.
Our guild is
committed to DIN standard 17810 and sets a substantially stricter standard
by actually excluding any mixture of harmful materials.
Tin has a natural
flat-silvery color. In the course of the time and utilization a darkening
occurs from air oxidation. Connoisseurs prize this natural patina, since it
radiates a pleasant warmth. An artificial, chemically caused patina can
create a prematurely antique appearance. While this does not by any means
increase the utensil value, it does go to a personal taste.
manufacturers do not mass-produce items for sale. Yet, our customers can
secure specific patterns years later. If you want to complete your service
and/or its collection piece by piece, then the addition is usually not a
is a special gift for many occasions, as with a monogram or a personal
engraving for honours, anniversaries, and weddings. Such things provide
value and beauty from year to year, awakening memories and bequeathing a
proud family asset from generation to generation.
marks and stamps
In the 14th and
15th Centuries, the marks of quality were etched into the finished Pewter by
certified examiners. The city character and the appropriate master character
were usually stamped together. Later the pewter casters marked their
products themselves, and the guilds realized the need for alloy regulations.
By this time, special
quality characters were developed for good pewter, e.g. the marks with Rose
and Crown and starting from the beginning of the 18th Century the now
recognized Angel Stamp. This angel, usually with balance and sword, should
represent the ore angel Michael - a symbol of justice.
With tradition in
mind, pewter manufacturers continue to use the old marks along with the
Firms initials or names as labels. The use of the angel stamp is not
controlled, so unfortunately manufacturers attach this indicator to goods
which only contain only a plating of pewter. Such articles are often
presented as "Pewter ornament" or "Pewter decoration". However, this is not
permissible under regulation RAL-RG 683.
Therefore, in the
year 1973, the Pewter guild created their hand-made seal as a new character
of high-quality Pewter.
One sees in
today’s shop windows and shelves Pewter from strange manufacturers and often
in confusing combinations of style and variety. Handles and covers of
several kinds of style are combined. Rightfully, the fastidious customer
demands style continuity as well as good quality.
As with all
handcrafted products, Pewter has been subjected to changes in style. However
a strict temporal separation is not possible, as one sees with architecture
preparation of the molds was complex and expensive, Pewter casters used
their forms for a very long time, so that the transitions often flow into
new styles. Some our expert craft studios have a rich assortment from
earlier centuries. Therefore, the original styles can also be reproduced
today. Thus, our masters maintain a purity in style even as they maintain
and restore antique pewter pieces. In the last few years Master studios of
note – in cooperation with well-known designers - have created functional,
imaginative, and up-to-date pewter designs.
In order to get a
better sense of typical style characteristics, the following overview should
help. And of course our guild enterprises are more then happy to advise you.
Gothic- Smooth compact forms with usually broad spaces, base is a
little partitioned, beside bulbous drink and gift containers other
table-ware is not well-known, ornamental art limited to just handle
Renaissance- Initially, adorned with figure-like and ornamental
reliefs, later smoother bases and wide-rimmed plates often with rich
engravings. Typical is the so-called "Nürnberger noble tin".
Baroque- smoother and stricter forms, few were adorned, e.g. with
hammered “Punzenmustern”- body partitioned by frugal but powerful rib-like
Rokoko- Forms similar to baroque, however more simple, lively, and with playful
wavy, asymmetrical ribs- silver table-ware themes are often quite similar.
Empire- Classicism and
so-called ‘Louis Seize’ with strong outlines, a bit dependent to the Antique
ones, French influence, with etched Frieze banding, ribs of Akanthus, rings
of Oak leaves, pearl lacing, fruit and flower pendants, can be partly
Fundamentally similar to Baroque and Empire, however much simpler and
without ornaments. Very tasteful table-ware.
Historicism- Also called ‘AltDeutsch’ or ‘Makartstil’. Basic forms
taken from many crafting styles, but primarily the Renaissance, and usually
present with Relief ornamental art, often engraved with representations of
Jugendstil- Also called Art Nouveau. Body is often
asymmetrically decorated with light plastic graphic decorations. A realistic
plant and animal collections which served as handles. Multiple forms and
shapes from noteworthy artists of the time. Typical is the so-named Kayser
Present Day- Starting from approximately 1920 very strict, nearly
geometrical forms, clear, business like, functional, most frugal ornamental
art. Surfaces sometimes irregularly roughened up, simple polished decoration
through various colored tones (e.g., high polish, matte or dark gloss)
Canning and Pewter Caster Guilds
Pewter is found
in the oldest literary documents of mankind. Homer mentions it, and the
Roman poet Plautus writes in his comedies that meals were served in pewter
containers. However, only fragments of this type of pewter have been found
in excavations. The first whole pewterware originated from the 2nd to 4th
Century AD. These were found in England, where the most productive Tin mines
of Europe were found. Pewter became certified in the 9th Century (along with
gold and silver) as material for church decor. Starting from the 14th
Century, pewter as tableware became more generally accepted in middle-class
At this time the
first guilds for artists, unions, offices and mines were mentioned. A reason
for the trend was the necessity to protect against the competition which
resulted from the craftsman in serfdom or from large numbers flocking from
the villages into the cities. There were already unions of craftsmen though
they were this combinations of several related occupations (smiths, bell
caster, clockmakers and in the textiles).
When and where
the first independent pewter caster or cannery developed cannot be proven.
The eloquent preacher Abraham A Santa Clara (1698) could express: "the work
and the handicraft of these people are very clean, good and useful, but of
there beginnings, even they do not know.