Tinware Collection

Petite Exhibit: “Cut, Shaped, Soldered & Used: A Tinware Collection”

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 10:00am to Sunday, July 28, 2024 - 4:00pm

Artisans in early America called tinsmiths crafted affordable tinware for the general public that included anything from kitchenware to lighting ware to storage ware. 

Discover a sampling of these antique objects made of sheet metal from the HOF collection and on display as a petite exhibit in the National Historic Register Wilson-Warner House.

Tinware is characteristically strong but lightweight, easily shaped, solderable, and is non-toxic.  Typically the objects are easy to use and easy to clean.  The craft has its roots in 16th century Germany, later to England, and then to America where Yankee Peddlers or traveling salesmen hawked their wares from town to town.  Americans gladly purchased the inexpensive wares in place of the earlier materials of heavy cast-iron, hard to clean wood, dull pewter, breakable pottery, and expensive silver.  Tinware could be decorated through the processes of japanning, piercing or painting and the tinsmiths would eagerly repair any of your damaged pieces.  Visit the museum to see some of your ancestor’s treasured everyday items.

This petite exhibit is included with general museum admission.

Illustration: The Old Occupation of Ferblantier or Tinsmith in New France, 1880, Canada