Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Distinguishing pewter from aluminiun

How does one eyeball a pewter item from Goodwill or a flea market.
There are lots of discarded beer mugs and medallions from these
sources. The metal seems soft enough but does not tarnish as in
traditional lead based pewter. How does one tell if it is aluminium
instead of pewter.

This should be very easy - if you put it in caustic soda, aluminium
will dissolve with much evolution of hydrogen. But this isn’t much
use when you’re digging through things at a fair. Aluminium has only
about a quarter of the density of lead, so it will feel very light in
comparison. If you handle a real pewter one you’ll soon get an idea
of the weight and it should then be easy to tell them apart.

Clive Washington