#1
Old 08-23-2012, 07:01 AM
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Is Pewter Safe?

Well, I am on the road again, and I will not be able to check this thread for another thirty hours.

In any case, last night we went to dinner to City Tavern in Philadelphia. (What? You've never been?) All very colonial including costumes and 'recreated' menu items. We had an excellent cooler made with cider and Spanish wine.

The drinks were served in pewter mugs. They were, I supposed chilled beforehand. Still I was impressed (in a drunken way) how cold the mugs kept our drinks.

But is pewter safe? I seem to remember it is an alloy of silver and the dreaded lead. Perhaps modern pewter is some sort of modern adaptation?
#2
Old 08-23-2012, 07:12 AM
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http://ehow.com/facts_5731869_pewter-safe_.html
Quote:
Composition

Pewter is a metal alloy consisting of at least 90 percent tin and a mix of other metals like copper, bismuth and antimony as hardeners.

Lead Content

Lead was once a major component of pewter but it has been banned as an ingredient for many years. When lead was used to produce pewter, it may have caused many illnesses as it leached into food.
So there is likely no silver or lead in your pewter.
#3
Old 08-23-2012, 07:19 AM
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Thank you.
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#4
Old 08-23-2012, 08:17 AM
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Many places selli ng pewter items (usually Colonial recreations) make a point of saying that their pewter is lead-free, because a lot of people know that pewter contained lead. In fact, that composition listing by Telemark might be accurate for current pewter, but I was taugfht that in Colonial days pewter was an alloy of tin and lead. No one mentioned other metals.
#5
Old 08-23-2012, 10:00 AM
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http://astm.org/Standards/B560.htm

All modern pewter is free of lead. But I'm sure there are many pewter items still out there with some lead content. I suspect historical groups serving food in traditional garb are aware of the issue and use modern items that are lead-free.
#6
Old 08-23-2012, 10:03 AM
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Even with a trace of lead, unless the food is highly acidic, you are unlikely to be harmed. But lead crystal decanters? Keeping wine in them is a bad idea.
#7
Old 08-23-2012, 07:33 PM
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There are also many reproduction "pewter" mugs used for historical reenacting that are simply heavy cast aluminum and not pewter at all. These look good and are cheaper than lead free pewter. I'd bet most colonial style restaurants and taverns use the aluminum ones.
#8
Old 08-24-2012, 04:51 PM
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I have returned safely to Saudi Arabia. Thank you all for your comments.
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#9
Old 08-24-2012, 09:56 PM
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Someone forgot to tell us what "modern" pewter consists of. Personally, I'd like a pure tin cup.
#10
Old 08-24-2012, 11:24 PM
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Most things that you think are pewter are probably not pewter. Even if they say they are.

For 20 years, I thought my pewter tankard was pewter until I became curious enough to google the letters EPNS on the bottom. Electro-plated Nickel Silver.
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