What Did a Colonial Whitesmith Do?

A whitesmith creates items out of light-colored metals like tin and pewter. It may also refer to someone who does finishing work on other metals, including iron. The difference between a whitesmith and a blacksmith is that a whitesmith usually works with cold metals instead of using a forge.

In colonial America, whitesmiths largely worked with tin plate imported from England, since there were few sources of the metal in early America. During this period, whitesmithing was an artisan craft, requiring years of apprenticeship in creating cups, plates and other items from metal and wire. By the 19th century, specialized tools had opened up the techniques to a greater population of craftsmen.