(instructor: Charlie Peluse; camera and editing: Erik Mastalerz)

Activity: Making an Aluminum Tealight Lantern

Activity: Pattern for Tinsmithing Projects

Challenge: Colonial Apprentice Contract


A Short History of Tinsmithing:

The tinsmith has been plying his trade in America since 1720. Colonial tin products were made of imported tinplate. England banned the production of tinplate in the colonies, thus restricting the amount of goods the colonists could produce. Tinplate is thin steel that has been dipped several times into molten tin. If there is rust on a piece of tinware, it is because the tinplate has worn away or a cut in the metal has exposed the steel which has rusted.

Colonial tinsmiths used tinplate, wire, sodder, and a few simple tools to produce their wares. When tinplate was finally produced in America in the early 1800’s the products of the tinsmith became more widely available. They in turn saw an increase in demand and a need to speed up production. This brought about the development of many ingenious hand powered machines which sped up production and helped the tinsmith meet the demands for his products. The goods were “brought to market” by peddlers traveling from village to village.