The History of American Pewter Pitchers

11th Jan 2023

Pewter Pitchers are a Part of American History

Pewter pitchers have been used in homes and restaurants across the U.S. for centuries, and the craftsmanship of these pieces has made them popular among collectors.

The history of American Pewter Pitchers begins in Europe

The first pewter pitchers were produced in Europe, where they were used to serve wine. They were also used to provide water for people when traveling, especially on boats and ships. The name "pewter" comes from the Old English word "petor", meaning "pottery." Pewter pitchers were highly sought after during colonial times in America because they were durable and easy to clean.

1800s Pewter Pitcher

Pewter Pitchers were used for many things by early Americans

In those early days of America, pewter pitchers were used for all kinds of things—from drinking water to storing food in. Pewter was a great material for these purposes, as it didn't absorb odors or flavors like other materials like glass and metal do.

First American mass-production of pewter pitchers began in mid-1800s

Pewter pitchers were first mass-produced in the United States in the mid-1800s when materials became more available and were not so tightly controlled by the British. It was in 1883 that John Bigelow and his brother-in-law, Benjamin Waterhouse, started the American Pewter Company. They were able to produce pewter pitchers at a low cost, which made them very popular.

The American Pewter Company faced a lot of competition from other companies that were trying to produce pewter pitchers as well. The company was eventually bought out by another company called Corning Glass Works in 1887. In 1899 the company changed its name again and became known as Corning Glass Works Company. Today the company is known as Corning Ware and is best known for value priced ceramic cookware and service items. They have not produced pewter in many years.

The popularity of pewter pitchers carried through early history and into the nineteenth century

Pewter pitchers were popular in the early American history, from colonial days, through the nineteenth century. They were used regularly for serving water, milk, and other beverages in the home. Pewter was also popular because it was easy to work with and could be formed into many different shapes and sizes, including tankards of many shapes and sizes to go along with the pitchers. Pewter smiths would make pitchers and other serving pieces by pouring molten pewter into wooden molds that had been carved out by hand. That method is still used today by many artisans and pewter manufacturers across the globe.

Colonial Pitcher

Pewter pitchers find their way from the home and into restaurants and bars

The popularity of pewter objects in America continued from the 19th century into the Victorian era when they were produced in large numbers by various manufacturers. During this time period, many people started using them for serving water at parties or social gatherings. They also started being used more frequently in restaurants and bars by waif staff, because they did not break if accidentally dropped onto hard surfaces, as glass would have done under similar circumstances. Pewter pitchers also weighed less than glass so they could be carried around more easily by one person without causing strain on arms or shoulders.

Many of the same styles of pitchers can be found today, including here at Thomas Dale Co.

Pewter artisans are still among us today, and many of the same early American pewter pitcher styles are being used in the home and for service in restaurants and bars across the U.S. You can find several classic pewter pitchers at Thomas Dale Co., where we like to keep the popularity alive with a selection of handcrafted, heirloom quality pewter goods from both American and European pewter smiths alike. You can shop our selection of pitchers or contact us today for more information.