The first known use of pewter, a mixture of tin, copper, and other metals, dates back to around 135 B.C., making it one of the earliest manmade alloys. By varying the ratio of metals, pewter can be engineered to have different properties, making it highly versatile. For example, adding copper makes the alloy stronger, while antimony makes it more lustrous. Pewter was used for eating and drinking vessels until the Industrial Revolution, when mass-produced glass, china, and electroplated metal products took over the market. However, Hampshire Pewter has revived the pewter-making process and offers tours of its working factory.
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Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Material Science, Industrial & Manufacturing
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Fun Fact:During the Roman Empire, pewter was made with a high percentage of lead. Because of its resistance to corrosion, it was widely used for water pipes. The only drawback was that the lead dissolved in the drinking water, poisoning many of the citizenry. It wasn't until the late 1700s that lead was phased out and replaced by other metals.