[Sca-cooks] Bronze Cookware

H Westerlund-Davis yaini0625 at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 31 00:44:39 PDT 2010

 At the risk of sounding too much like a blacksmith </;o) there are texts that 
have been found dating back to 1440 that  lists basins, a colander, chafers and 
candlesticks made of "laton" aka bronze and pots and pans were made of brasse. 
The terms brass and bronze were used interchangeably leading to confusion.  John 
Blair and Nigel Ramsey book English Medieval Industries has more detail about 
the difference and terminology of brass, laton, and bronze in regards to 

Bronze alloy is made up of copper and tin or cooper and zinc ( brass or Viking 
bronze). The lead is naturally found blended with the ore when tin and zinc are 
mined. This also is why pewter prior to A.D. 1990 must be used with caution due 
naturally high lead content. Pewter is lead and tin mixed. Modern pewter is now 
tin and antimony. Modern processing better separates the lead from the tin ore. 
My husband and I are theorizing that this company is literally recreating period 
bronze alloy, lead and all. Modern food grade bronze used silica in place of the 
lead. They are possibly using the raw ores in a smelting process instead of 
refined tin and copper ore. Since historically England, especially around 
Cornwall,  had huge tin mines and Ireland had the copper mines they could 
literally be walking into their backyard to get their ore. 

Night All,
Aelina the Saami


Duct Tape is like the Force: It has a light side & a dark side
and it holds the universe together.

From: Saint Phlip <phlip at 99main.com>
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Mon, August 30, 2010 2:32:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Bronze Cookware

The thing I'm having trouble understanding is that if the cookware is
bronze, why does it have lead in it?
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Period. Brass is an alloy of
zinc and copper.

Now, I know that lead is often added to various other hard alloys to
make it more machinable, but why are these (modern) people adding it
to their cookpots? Are they casting the pots and then machining them?
If so, is this a period practice? If not, why not make our own pots,
that would be period correct? Bronze doesn't require the temps that
iron does to cast, and many of the alloya are easily forged. In fact,
the bronze alloys that have lead in them are the ones you distinctly
DON'T want to forge because the crumble into a pile of sand if you
don't use the exactly correct temperature.

On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 3:38 PM, David Walddon <david at vastrepast.com> wrote:
> I just received their price list and they do all the same products in cast
> iron.
> Eduardo
> On 8/30/10 8:49 AM, "wheezul at canby.com" <wheezul at canby.com> wrote:
>>> If/When I hear more from Hampton Court, I'll pass it on.  At this point
>>> it sounds as if they use the pots and don't have any problem with lead.
>>>   A subsequent post by a non-Hampton Court cook posited that period
>>> bronze cookware could have lead content up to 20 or 30 percent.  That
>>> would make the current 5 percent fairly low.
>>> Alys K.
>>> --
>>> Elise Fleming
>>> alysk at ix.netcom.com
>>> http://home.netcom.com/~alysk/
>> Wasn't the real concern verdigris poisoning from copper?
>> Katherine
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Saint Phlip

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Heat it up
Hit it hard
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