International Styles

History of Tinned Wares

The process of coating iron with tin, the oldest of all methods of metal coating, was first practiced in Bohemia, where tin was discovered in 1240, and for four hundred years Bohemia supplied England and Europe with tin-coated articles. The process was kept secret until 1620, when the Duke of Saxony obtained knowledge of the secret process and started the manufacture in his own country.

In view of the fact that England manufactured pig iron for hundreds of years it is strange that tin-plated ware was not made there until 1670. It was 1720 before a permanent plant was located and then the development was slow. After 1834 the growth was rapid, and by 1867 England exported over seven million dollars' worth.

In this country tinned ware was first manufactured from imported sheets at Berlin, Conn., by an Irishman named Patterson. The seamless ware was first called Frenchware, because it originated in France; previously, pieces had been soldered and seamed together. In this country Frenchware was manufactured first in New York. From then on the industry gradually developed, and by Civil War times there was a large demand for kitchen spoons, and great quantities of tinned iron spoons were made.

The real growth of the industry in the country has been since 1890. By the McKinley tariff a high protective duty was imposed on imported tin plates to protect and encourage their manufacture in the United States.

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