Pewter Care

All About Pewter: Care, Cleaning History

The more you handle and use pewter the more it will develop a distinctive, warm patina. Most users and collectors enjoy allowing it to age gracefully so it becomes unique to them.

Best Ways of Cleaning Pewter found at Stowe Craft Gallery.

After use you may clean pewter with warm soapy water, rinse, then allow to air dry. Towel drying with a soft cloth is fine, too. It is dishwasher safe but some people prefer to handwash. Why? The heat and detergent can be too much for some pewter. Pewter is softer than steel and depending on how you load your machine, other items in your dishwasher could dent it. We put our Tin Woodsman Pewter in the dishwasher on gentle cycle and have never had a problem in 15+ years.

If you do wish to restore shine and luster to your pewter, a gentle scrub with toothpaste and a soft cloth (or soft toothbrush!) works fine. There are also specialized pewter cleaners available.

Care of Pewter

Pewter is a relatively soft metal. That means we recommend you keep it away from heat. Pewter should never be used in an oven, microwave or on the stovetop and should not be exposed to a direct flame. Use your spoons and cups for scooping and measuring. But do not use them to pry open a stuck lid.

History and facts about pewter:

Pewter is not a naturally occurring metal but rather a man-made alloy comprised of a number of elements but primarily tin. Tin is the fourth most precious metal, ranked just after gold, silver, and platinum. The reputation tin gets as cheap comes from so called "tin cans". Tin cans are in fact mostly made of steel with a very, very thin coating of tin.

Pewter is one of the world's oldest man-made metals, having been worked into objects of art by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as early as the 2nd Century A.D. Significant production began in the 13th Century, and by the 18th Century the English had made pewter widely available as an alternative to gold and silver for drinking vessels and hollow-ware. America had it's own "Pewter Century" between 1750 and 1850 when many great New England artists worked in pewter.

Pewter and bronze are related; pewter is mostly tin, with a small amount of copper (and other ingredients), while bronze is mostly copper, with a small amount of tin. Historians think pewter was invented when the quantities of metal in the alloy were reversed by accident.

Did you know that the glass bottom pewter tankard was developed (by the English) so that a soldier could see his enemies approaching while drinking his favorite brew?