Antiques: Metal wares info


What was made by the craftsmen working in the basic metals and alloys, such as pewter, copper, brass, iron, and occasionally bell metal, forms an interesting section on another phase of household decoration with antiques. Pewter was, of course, far less expensive than silver and held its vogue until the advent of silver electroplating.

Practically everything made of silver was made also in pewter, as were other objects not common to the precious metal. Thus the scope of available pewter objects is large and can hardly fail to include something of interest to the average collector.

In the days of pewter, household heating and cooking were accomplished almost entirely with fireplace fires and for each a pair of .andirons was essential.

They might be handsome ones of brass or crude and sturdy ones of iron, but either type was craftsman-made and into each the maker put his feeling for line and proportion. And they were so well and honestly made that even after years of hard use they are as serviceable as ever.

This usefulness plus beauty is undoubtedly why collectors turn, if possible, to antique andirons when equipping a fireplace. Some of these old andirons were undoubtedly imported, but more were made in America. With the brass handles that American cabinetmakers from the William and Mary period through the American Empire period decorated chests of drawers, desks, and other pieces, the story is different. Practically all of them came from the workshops of the brass founders of Birmingham, in England. Known in their day as "cabinet mounts," they were small things easily shipped to far-distant places.

Besides, the craftsmen of Birmingham made better brasses and for about a hundred and fifty years enjoyed what amounted to a monopoly in this phase of brass founding. Therefore, an account of when, how, and in what patterns they made their cabinet brasses has its definite place in any book concerned with antiques and their collecting.

Basic antiques

Finding antique

American fireplace
American mirrors
Baltimore furniture
Common clocks
Queen Anne furniture
Romantic furniture
Sanderson & Salem
Secret drawers
Small sideboards

Glass American
Glass knobs
Sandwich salt dishes
Vermont glass company

Look of antique

Metal wares
Antique Andirons
Birmingham brass
Pewter, Brass, Copper

Chinese influence
Penny banks

Porcelain, Earthenware
Adam Caire
Antique dishes (Dutch)
Yang Stai

Prints & Paintings
Advertising lithographs
Robert Fulton
Samuel F.B. Morse

Drawers & Beds
Furniture hardware
Pewter, Silver, China
Tables & Chairs

Silver & Imitations
Huguenot silversmiths
Silver towns
Women silversmith

Textiles & Needlework
Pennsylvania panels
Quilting bee
Rugs hooking