Another aid to decision on the merits of pewter, suggested by Mr. Masse, is to draw it across a sheet of white paper. If the proportion of lead in the alloy is greater than it should be a mark will be made of greater or less distinctness, according to the preponderance of lead in the alloy. What the same expert calls the " knife test" also gives good results, for when a sharp knife-point is drawn across the metal the sound it makes will, to a certain extent, determine the quality of that metal, a sharp crackle being pro-duced on good pewter, whilst on bad the passage of the knife is scarcely perceptible to the ear.
Mr. Masse also describes a test applied in France - the placing of a soldering iron on the pewter. If the pewter is of fine quality, a white spot will appear, but if of inferior alloy, a brown stain, with a tiny white speck in the centre, will be produced. The less white the lower the value of the specimen.
To enumerate within the limits of a short essay all the articles that were made in pewter, or to describe the various shapes and decoration adopted, would be impossible; but it may be stated that those for domestic use include porringers, both eared and plain, tankards, colanders, beakers, salts, spoons, forks, punch-ladles, platters, dishes, ewers , and basins.
Amongst examples of old English ecclesiastical pewter are chalices, with or without handles, some of the former having a tube fixed to the side through which the wine was sucked up; patens; monstrances; pyxes; flagons; amphorae, or vessels for holding the sacramental wine before consecration; burettes, or small bottles for the same purpose, later called cruets, font-ewers, or font-basins, with a very few actual fonts; sepulchral chalices in common pewter; ampulla?, or vessels for holding incense or the oil consecrated for administering extreme unction; alms-dishes, and various tokens such as those distributed to intending communicants and collected by the verger before the celebration of the Holy Sacrament; palmers-shells, or scallops, and various badges commemorative of visits to shrines.
Toys of various kinds were also made in pewter, and an extremely pathetic interest is attached to specimens of them which have been found in ancient tombs, for, in those days, it Was customary to bury such toys with their youthful owners, in the same way as it was customary to place pewter chalices, etc., beside the bodies of priests and dignitaries of the Church.