Britannia metal

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A silvery-white metal alloy containing Tin (94%) with Antimony (5%), Copper (1%) and small amounts of Bismuth and Zinc. Britannia metal was developed in England in the mid-18th century as a substitute for Pewter. It is brighter, harder and more corrosion resistant that pewter. After 1825, it was the only kind of pewter used to any extent (Mayer 1969). Britannia metal was used in utensils, cookware, tableware, tankards, and teapots. It was also used as a base for electroplated silver. Silver-plated britannia metal is stamped with quadruple plate or with EPBM (Electro-Plated Britannia Metal).

Synonyms and Related Terms

EPBM; pewter; white metal; Britannium; Britannia-Metall (Deut.)

Hazards and Safety

Skin contact may cause irritation or lesions.

Additional Information

R. Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row, New York, 1969.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 596
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Caring for your Collections, Arthur W Schulz (ed.), Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , New York, 1992
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979

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