Britannia metal

a white alloy of tin, antimony, and copper in varying proportions, sometimes with small amounts of zinc, lead, and bismuth, used for tableware and as an antifriction material.
[1810-20]

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alloy
      alloy composed approximately of 93 percent tin, 5 percent antimony, and 2 percent copper, used for making various utensils, including teapots, jugs, drinking vessels, candlesticks, and urns, and for official maces. Similar in colour to pewter, britannia metal is harder, stronger, and easier to work than other tin alloys; it can be worked from sheets, like silver, or spun on a lathe. The alloy is first mentioned in 1769, as “Vickers White Metal,” but it was during the 19th century that the advantages of britannia metal were appreciated. The alloy was much-used as a base for silver plating. In the 1820s the English firm of Kirkby Smith & Co., Sheffield, Yorkshire, tried to plate britannia metal by fusing it with a sheet of silver. The process proved to be both expensive and unsatisfactory and was soon abandoned. After about 1846, and following the experiments of Elkington & Company, Birmingham, Eng., britannia metal was produced as a base for objects silvered by electrolysis. The good conducting qualities, together with its cheapness and ductility, made the alloy ideal for this purpose. Perhaps the best-known manufacturer of britannia metal is J. Dixon and Sons, Sheffield, whose name, initials, or bugle mark are found on a large number of pieces.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Britannia metal — is a pewter type alloy favoured for its silvery appearance and smooth surface. The composition is approximately 93% tin, 5% antimony, and 2% copper.It was first produced [ The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Micropædia (2002, 15th edition)] in 1769… …   Wikipedia

  • Britannia metal — Britannia Bri*tan ni*a, n. [From L. Britannia Great Britain.] A white metal alloy of tin, antimony, bismuth, copper, etc. It somewhat resembles silver, and is used for table ware. Called also {Britannia metal}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • britannia metal — n. [also B m ] an alloy consisting chiefly of tin, copper, and antimony, used in making tableware: it resembles pewter but is harder …   English World dictionary

  • Britannia metal — britaniškasis metalas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis 90–92% Sn, 8–9% Sb, 1,8% Cu lydinys. atitikmenys: angl. Britannia metal rus. британский металл …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Britannia metal — noun Etymology: Britannia, poetic name for Great Britain, from Latin Date: 1817 a silver white alloy largely of tin, antimony, and copper that is similar to pewter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Britannia metal — noun an alloy similar to pewter • Hypernyms: ↑alloy, ↑metal …   Useful english dictionary

  • britannia metal — noun an alloy of tin with copper, antimony; somewhat like pewter …   Wiktionary

  • Britannia metal — hard white alloy comprised of tin copper and antimony (commonly used to produce tableware) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Britannia metal — noun a silvery alloy consisting of tin with about 5–15 per cent antimony and usually some copper, lead, or zinc …   English new terms dictionary

  • Britannia metal — Britan′nia met al or britan′nia met al n. mel a white alloy of tin, antimony, and copper, sometimes with small amounts of zinc, lead, and bismuth, used for tableware and as an antifriction material • Etymology: 1810–20 …   From formal English to slang

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