utilitarian and decorative objects made of tinplate and, more rarely, of pure tin. Tin was used as an alloy some 30 centuries before the birth of Christ, but the earliest recorded objects of pure tin appear to be a ring and bottle that were found in Egypt and date from the 18th dynasty (1567-1320 BC). The process of plating sheets of iron and steel with tin, though not unknown earlier, was not perfected until the early 18th century. At Pontypool in Wales the Allgood family developed a process of rolling sheets of iron and dipping them into molten tin; the resulting tinplate was then worked into various domestic and decorative items before being japanned, or painted with a heat-resistant varnish (see Pontypool ware). Tinware, often with similar designs, was produced at centres in France, Holland, Germany, and the United States throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. See also toleware.
Learn more about tinware with a free trial on Britannica.com.