Meet The Makers: Mullingar Pewter
The ancient craft of pewter making was revived in Ireland by Paddy Collins in Mullingar in 1974. Paddy’s son Peter now runs the business and it employs 30 people from the local area. Most of the pieces are still made in the traditional way in their own workshop by Irish men and women, specially trained in the old casting methods, meticulous assembly and delicate hand finishing.
In 1974 Mullingar Pewter was established. The Collins family began to make pewter, reviving a lost craft in Ireland. The family decided that they should venture the cast pewter production route and so invested in a furnace, a lathe, polishing machine soldering equipment and the different tools needed to shape and design the many pewter pieces still made today. The Collins family worked in Germany for a few years in a pewter factory before searching for a more permanent premises in Ireland.
They finally secured an old grain store, in the Garrison town of Mullingar. Which was the beginning of a new way of life for the family. Peter and his father built and established Mullingar Pewter from nothing but a bank loan! The built everything needed such as the work benches, began installing gas, water and electricity, all with the help of the tradesmen involved in the early days.
These days, a visit to the workshop will allow you to see the skill of casting, turning, meticulous assembly and delicate hand finishing of pewter pieces by our skilled artisans. Learn some of the hidden secrets and magic which date back over 800 years. The Gift Shop has a visitor information center and carries an extensive range of Mullingar Pewter products and gifts for all occasions to suit all tastes and pockets.
Mullingar Pewter have consistently applied the highest standards of design and quality control in the production of these exquisite gifts. They ship from Ireland worldwide and are renowned for the finest grade pewter. Most of their designs are taken from the Celtic crosses and many monuments that dot the Irish countryside. The products are useful for everyday use, but beautifully decorated in Irish, Celtic, Kells, Woodland, Legend, Religious and Generic designs. As time passes their pewter will and is becoming very collectable and valued by collectors from all parts of the world.
The history of Irish Pewter goes back 800 years. The early craftsmen produced the first domestic pewter utensils, consisting mainly of tankards, plates and candlesticks. Around the 12th. century, pewter was only for the wealthy, where it was to be found on the tables of castle halls and in rich merchant’s and churchmen’s houses. Later the use of pewter spread into taverns and cottages. In the 18th and 19th centuries, with the introduction of pottery and glass, pewter use declined but it has seen a more recent revival.
About the only thing that has changed in pewter manufacture is the materials. Pewter is a semi-precious metal and silver in colour, unlike zinc, cast iron and some brushed steel finished items that generally have a dull finish, pewter is bright and inviting. Bronze & Gold are more brass related. Pewter is unique in color and finish making it a special metal, rare in content and ideal for Celtic creations. The alloy that they use is predominantly tin. Originally pewter was made from a composition of lead and tin. Today, the raw materials consist of 95% tin with the balance made up of copper and antimony. All soldering is now done with lead free solder where food or drink is concerned.
It’s now fashionable to buy pewter for everyday use. Pewter is easy to store, never wears out and on special occasions it provides a splendid display.
You can shop the full range here