is a pewter
favoured for its silvery appearance and smooth surface. The composition is approximately 93% tin
, 5% antimony
, and 2% copper
It was first producedThe New Encyclopædia Britannica, Micropædia
(2002, 15th edition) in 1769 or 1770, under the name of "Vickers White Metal", by the Sheffield manufacturers Ebenezer Hancock and Richard Jessop.
After the development of electroplating
with silver in 1846, Britannia metal was widely used as the base metal
for silver plated household goods and cutlery. The abbreviation EPBM
on such items denotes "electroplated Britannia metal". Britannia metal was generally used as a cheaper alternative to electroplated nickel silver
(EPNS) which is more durable.
Some authorities and collectors think this "white metal
" sometimes formed a base for early experimentations in mercury
and tin or latten
metal plating in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
One notable use of britannium is to make the Oscar statuettes
handed out each year at the Academy Awards. The 8½-pound statuettes are Britannia metal plated with gold.
Britannia metal should be distinguished from Britannia silver
, a high-grade alloy of silver
Britannia metal is also called Britannia Ware.