Malaysia as we know is the second largest producer of Palm oil. It is also famous for a rare metal alloy called Pewter. The Royal Selangor in Malaysia is the largest manufacturer of Pewter in the world.
Pewter was used as actual utensils in the past during the British era. It eventually became a decorative object like gifts, souvenirs etc. owing to the use of lead in it.
So what exactly is pewter?
Pewter is a ductile metal alloy, which contains 85–99% tin, with other components like copper, antimony, bismuth and sometimes lead and silver is also used. Copper and antimony act as hardeners while lead is common in the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint.
Here are some interesting facts about Pewter:
1. The word pewter is probably a variation of the word spelter, a term for zinc alloys.
2. Pewter was first used at the beginning of the Bronze Age in the Near East. The earliest piece of pewter was found in an Egyptian tomb from 1450 BC.
3. The Selangor Pewter was founded in 1885 in Kuala Lumpur by Yong Koon, where he handcrafted pewter objects like incense burners and candle holders for ceremonial use of Chinese homes and temples.
4. The Royal Selangor is named after the Malaysian Royal family who purchased personalised gifts from the dealer. They ended up granting them their exclusive pewter makers and thus, Royal Selangor.
5. The world’s largest pewter tankard (a form of drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical, drinking cup with a single handle), recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, was made by Royal Selangor in 1985 to commemorate its centenary. It is currently displayed at Royal Selangor headquarters in Setapak, and is 1.987 meters tall, weighs 1,557 kg and has a capacity of 2,796 liters.
6. Pewter was the chief tableware until the making of porcelain. Pewter artifacts continue to be produced, mainly as decorative or specialty items.
7. Today, pewter is used in decorative objects, mainly collectible statuettes and figurines, game figures, mugs, aircraft and other models (replica) coins, pendants, plated jewellery and so on.
8. Pewter medals are awarded to fourth place finishers in athletic contests like skating.
9. Royal Selangor pewter items are found worldwide in select stores and online stores which runs in nine currencies.
10. Pewter is affordable and needs little maintenance and the very nature of the metal insures a timeless design.
The royal Selangor pewter factory and museum is located in Kuala Lumpur and is open for public and is free of cost. Visitors can buy the pewter artifacts in the retail store in the same precincts.
These were a few interesting facts about Pewter.
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