Useful and decorative objects fashioned of various metals. The oldest technique is hammering. After c. 2500 BC, casting was also used, molten metal being poured into a mold and allowed to cool. Various decorative techniques are used. Gold and silver have been worked since ancient times. Gold and silver objects were in such demand in the 12th century that gold- and silversmiths organized guilds. High-quality gold and silver objects were produced in pre-Columbian America. Copper was worked in ancient Egypt and was widely used for household utensils in 17th–18th-century Europe. Both bronze and brass were widely used in ancient Greece. Pewter plates and tankards were made in the Middle Ages and remained popular until they were superseded by cheaper earthenware and porcelain in the 18th century. Wrought iron has been used for decorative hinges, gates, and railings since the 16th century. Lead has traditionally been used for roof coverings.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on metalwork, visit Britannica.com.
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