What types of metalware are best for displaying outdoors?
Outdoor sculpture and lawn ornaments come in virtually every material, including a variety of metals; however, some metals have a better natural resistance to the elements, while others gain attractive patinas and desirable signs of wear. Stainless steel never rusts, and aluminum holds up well once a protective layer of corrosion forms. Copper develops an attractive natural patina over time, or it can be treated with chemicals to appear more colorful. Brass behaves similarly to copper, although it can also maintain its original appearance indefinitely with the right finish.
Is modern cast iron the same as vintage cast iron?
No, there are significant differences between old cast iron and newly manufactured cast iron. Pieces, such as skillets, made prior to World War II tend to be thinner and lighter weight than brand new skillets, and they have a smoother surface. The thinner walls and bottom mean chefs can use lower heat settings when cooking. The smoother surface is not simply due to generations of use and seasoning. Instead, it is because of differences in the raw materials and manufacturing process. The iron ore mined near Lake Erie generations ago was of higher quality than iron ore used today. The pieces were also machined using techniques no longer employed today to save on labor costs.
Is there such a thing as pure pewter?
Not exactly. Manufacturers often use pewter in conjunction with other media, such as glass, ceramic, and enamel. An item made of pewter alone could be referred to as pure pewter, but pewter itself is an alloy comprised of at least 90 percent tin mixed with copper and antimony, two hardening agents. The ratio of these components varies from pewter to pewter.