An additional piece of text describing the ‘tinware’ history and how it applies to the show for the foreword:

Pure tin is an expensive and soft metal and it is not used alone, however its non-rusting qualities make it an invaluable coating. Early tinplate consisted of sheet iron coated with tin and then run through rollers, it was produced in factories in Great Britain using a process little changed from the 14th century. Britain enjoyed a monopoly on this manufacture until the late 1800’s and their tinplate was packed and shipped around the world, it was a malleable metal easily worked with the simple tools of the early tinsmiths.

It is important to know that the tinplate used by earlier tinsmiths is not available today – it really is extinct. Today tinplate has been replaced by galvanised steel – zinc coated steel, a rust resistant metal with a far greater strength and lighter weight, entirely designed for the needs of the building industry. The gradual evolution of this product from around 1890 to the present day, has been in response to numerous technical innovations, the changing needs of the manufacturer and the market demand.

Interestingly the word ‘tin’ has become so much a part of our colloquial vocabulary that we use erroneously to describe many variants from the tin shed (galvanised steel), to the tin roof (corrugated steel) even an aluminium dinghy is called a (tinny). In the new objects made for the exhibition I tried to replicate some of the wonderful working qualities of that early tinplate, which is no longer available today.

We have employed copper sheet in these works as it is malleable and easily worked and as tin has a low melting temperature – a gas torch is hot enough to melt the tin which can then be spread over the surface of the copper. Included in the item inventory is a sample piece of copper which we have ‘tinned’ as well as the steel wool we used to drag the molten tin over the surface of the copper – this is just what we did. It is not what old tinsmiths would have done, they would have purchased their tinplate from Britain.

“Basic to the workshops of this period 1778–1908 were the smith’s small charcoal stove or brazier for heating the soldering irons, called coppers, as well as the divider, compass and scratch awl, all essential to striking his patterns onto the shiny tinplate, and the patterns or templates for specific tin articles. These templates were often passed down from one generation of tinsmiths to the next. Each set or nest, usually several pieces for any one form, was put on its own wire loop and hung with dozens of others along the shop’s walls.”
To Cut Piece and Solder: The Work of the Rural Pennsylvania Tinsmith 1778–1908′ Jeanette Lasansky. pp 8.
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