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  • White Metal

    I just came back from setting up for a rummage sale at our church. In going over the miriad of items one person came by a teapot that to me looked like it was cast from white metal. Can anyone enlighten me on the composition of white metal. I tried the internet but couldn't find anything on the subject. Incidentally, I picked up a few good bargains. One was an oiless vacuum pump in very new condition. 10 bucks seems like a good price.

  • #2
    It can contain tin, lead, antimony, and bismuth, although tin is the primary composition. If it's a teapot of a recent vintage, then it probably does not contain lead.

    Albert

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    • #3
      ...and maybe zinc?
      ----------
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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      • #4
        It might be what is called Spelter I don't know if that is just another name for white metal.This Spelter was used to make inferior casts which were touched up to look like fake bronze from a distance but obviously much lighter when touched or handled. Alistair
        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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        • #5
          Stephen,

          According to the book, Properties and uses of ferrous and nonferrous metals by Weiss and Leuchtman.

          "Die casting alloys, some of which are referred to as white metal, are those metals which because of their particular properties find use in making die castings. There are six major classifications of die cast metals and they are: (1) Aluminum base; (2) Magnesium base; (3)Copper base; (4) Zinc base; (5) Tin base; and (6) Lead base alloys.
          To each of these metals various alloying elements are added to secure the desired properties. Die casting results in accurate uniform castings with a minimum of machining necessary on the finished parts. Bushings, gears, bearings, automotive parts, and parts for all types of mechanisms may be die cast if the rate of production is high enough to justify the cost of the die."

          Bernard

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          • #6
            Just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your reply to my question. It is certainly a great group and I appreciate the help it has given not only for me but the many others out there. Keep up the good work.
            Stephen K

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            • #7
              Stephen,

              Just an added note. Although it is true that most lead based materials have been excluded from household items since the 1970's, there is still the possibility that lead has been used. This is especially the case with items from overseas. If you plan to use the teapot, please purchase a lead test kit from your local hardware store and test it.

              Bernard

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              • #8
                The lead caution regarding metals applies to ceramics also. As late as 1970, ceramics from Philippines and SEA and china, even japan had lead based glazes. Some weremarked as not for food use due to lead, toehrs were not. How do you test for lead contnet? I dunno!
                Steve

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                • #9
                  Steve
                  You bring up a good point. Did you know that some yellow/green glazes have Uranium in them and are radioactive?

                  The things you learn in shop class...

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                  • #10
                    Testing for lead....

                    You ought to be able to buy simple lead-testing kits at a hardware store. They're chemical swabs that turn red if lead is present. I assume they would work on ceramics.


                    ----------
                    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

                    Comment

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