This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
This is an alloy of tin and lead only, or of tin with antimony and copper. The first is properly called pewter. Three varieties are known in trade:
From tin, 79 per cent; antimony, 7 per cent; bismuth and copper, of each 2 per cent; fused together. Used to make plates, teapots, etc. Takes a fine polish.
From tin, 79 per cent; antimony, 15 per cent; lead, 6 per cent; as the last. Used for minor articles, syringes, toys, etc.
From tin, 80 per cent; lead, 20 per cent. Used for measures, inkstands, etc.
According to the report of a French commission, pewter containing more than 18 parts of lead to 82 parts of tin is unsafe for measures for wine and similar liquors, and, indeed, for any other utensils exposed to contact with food or beverages. The legal specific gravity of pewter in France is 7.764; if it be greater, it contains an excess of lead, and is liable to prove poisonous. The proportions of these metals may be approximately determined from the specific gravity; but correctly only by an assay for the purpose.