Friday, December 12, 2008

pewter Hild

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Medieval stocking stuffers! What a cool idea. (Via Heavenfield.) Pewter whatchamacallits from Aebba Art Gallery. I've always been very fond of pewter--though I hated polishing it when I was a child. It was always my job before Christmas: rub rub, polish polish, tuh. It was the old-fashioned kind of pewter, too, with lead; hand-hammered. Beautiful in candlelight. I hadn't given it much thought, but I wonder if Anglo-Saxons used pewter much. I know there was a lot of tin in Britain. That and a smidge of copper and antimony (and lead) are all you need. I don't know how people got antimony, though I do know its sulphide is kohl. So if the women were into cosmetics, no doubt they had access.

No, I'm not going anywhere in particular with this. Just noodling. These things would make awesome Christmas tree decorations...

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  1. Oh I don't know, could make an nice little wignet to have hanging around the office or computer space all year around.

    I've never polished pewter. What is it polished with?

  2. Yes. All-purpose danglies :)

    I don't know what we used. It came in a tin. It smelled, and felt kind of greasy on the cotton wool wads we used. Silvo (the less abrasive version of Brasso), perhaps? Basically ammonia and hydrocarbons.

    Oh, the damage I probably did to my health...

    But you can also make a paste of salt and vinegar and flour, paint it on, leave for a while, rinse off and polish with a soft cloth.

    Both are designed for stripping off the patina of the old-style pewter, to make shiny and bright. These kind of ornaments might be best left alone, or washed in mild soapy water once a year and dried.


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