Metals are a natural and abundant resource that is both malleable and extremely durable, which makes them suitable for all manner of practical purposes. Pure metals, such as copper, iron, lead and tin, and various alloys including brass, bronze and pewter have been used around the world for thousands of years. Metals have played a significant role in the development of human civilization, with bronze and iron used to make early tools and weapons. Drinking vessels and utensils for making and eating food have been fashioned from metal since ancient times. Pewter and spelter were inexpensive alternatives to more precious metals.
Humans have used metal objects to help and assist then in their daily endeavours. Before electricity, creating fire and light was a major problem and as a consequence a whole industry, terminology and paraphernalia accompanied the ritual of lighting the fire and making light. Metal has played a major part in cooking through the ages and even today we us a range of metal items when preparing, cooking and serving food and drink. However the shape and types of metals used has changed over time and some are no longer used today. Jelly moulds, ale warmers, bed warmers, wax jacks, chamber sticks, taper sticks, snuffers and trays, trivets, footmen, sadirons, fenders and firedogs were all items in everyday use that our ancestors took for granted that today makes an enjoyable collecting area.
There was no requirement for makers to mark their work made from base metal. As a result, much of the output and history of many makers remain unknown, whilst for others, their history has been put together from old catalogues, published information and similar.