High-quality pewter carries the Seal of Craftsmanship
A symbol you can trust:
The Seal of Craftsmanship from the Pewter Craftsmen’s Guild
With today’s assortment of pewter products, it’s not easy to make the right choice. In order to help customers distinguish high-quality pewter, the Pewter Craftsmen’s Guild has created a mark of quality: the Seal of Craftsmanship.
The Seal of Craftsmanship guarantees safe usage of pewter for food and beverages by using metal alloys in adherence with DIN 17810 standards.
The seal provides assurance that the item is solid cast and manufactured according to time-honored craft tradition.
Master workshops strive to maintain stylistic purity for all designs.
Customers can rest assured that pewter with the Seal of Craftsmanship is not an inferior, mass-produced good.
Pewter Craftsmen’s Guild
Pewter is mentioned in the oldest literary documentation, including the works of Homer. The Roman poet Plautus writes in his comedies that food is served in pewter vessels. Fragments of pewter articles from antiquity have been found in excavations. The oldest intact pewter items originate from the period A.D. 200 to 400. in England, where the richest tin mines in Europe were found.
In the 9th century, tin was designated alongside gold and silver as an appropriate material for church use. In the 14th century, pewter tableware became common in bourgeois homes. The first craft guilds were formed during this time. The reason for solidarity was rooted in a necessity to protect economic interests that were threatened by serf laborers and indentured servants.
The objective of the pewter guild was primarily to ensure the compliance with alloy laws and administer the “pewter test,” which had previously varied from city to city. Quality was demonstrated by a recognizable stamp of approval.
To become a master craftsman, one had to be born of legitimate parentage, show Journeyman certification, provide proof of a Journeyman’s tour, demonstrate ownership of property as well as pass the Master Craftsman examination. This consisted primarily of creating three different types of pewter objects, including the successful production of cast shapes. Journeymen who wished to marry the widow of a Master Craftsman were given priority – because the Guild would otherwise be responsible for her livelihood. After passing the exam, the young Master was required to entertain the entire Guild with food and drink.
Through strict guidelines that often applied to private life, the Guilds were able secure the status of the craft for centuries. Until the middle of the 18th century, these guidelines were still in place across Germany. The Napoleonic era resulted in a gradual dissolution of the Craft Guilds. Commercial liberalization of the 19th century caused their final demise. Increasing industrialization forced craftsmen to unite once again, and guilds were re-formed. Today’s Pewter Craftsmen’s Guild is a direct descendant of the original tin makers guilds.