Become a Founding Member of The Board

Join Our Discussion Forum

“Armetale” – What Is This Stuff?


“Armetale” – What is this stuff?

My first exposure to “Armetale” was  on a going out-to-dinner trip in York,  Pennsylvania, with some old friends of mine years ago. The restaurant was a quaint old place with some Federal Colonials name to it. It was very dimly lit and these were hanging on the walls. They were probably lidless tankards  as shown just below. Having a couple of real antique English pub mugs at home, boy was I surprised and then disappointed when I pick it up and looked at  it.



Comparison of coloration:  Shown first Armetale  Below:: Authentic English “pewter” pub mug of the basic same shape, showing great natural patina, and a few old dents.

Marks on Armetale mug.


So then I said to myself;  “Self!” ” ARMETALE?, so what is this stuff anyway?”

That was really not an official question, but their official answer can be found below.

The following verbiage / couple of photos were taken from one of their ads:

Wilton Armetale  – About Us:

Wilton Armetale Company is a family-owned and family-run business founded in 1892 by Ralph P. Wilton, Sr. in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Wilton Armetale® products are still individually cast and meticulously hand-finished so no two pieces are exactly alike. Wilton Armetale® products are sold in department stores and specialty stores throughout the United States and internationally.


Susquehanna Castings  -Begun in 1893 by the Wilton Family in Wrightsville, PA, along the Susquehanna River, Susquehanna Castings was a foundry located across the street from the Wilton family lime kiln company known as Stacy Wilton Lime Company.

Due to the crossroads nature of the town of Wrightsville, where the north/south Susquehanna Canal and the east/west railroad lines converged, along with a bridge crossing the shallow but wide river, the foundry utilized the iron ore deposits shipped down the river and converted it into products for sale to a wide variety of industries throughout the region, including novelty items for consumers.

Susquehanna Castings was merged into the Wilton Brass Company (later Wilton Armetale) in the mid-1960s.


Wilton Products – The origin date of this company is unknown but believed to be approximately 1935. It was the immediate separate but overlapping successor to Susquehanna Castings when Susquehanna Castings made iron products, while Wilton Products decorated them. Started by the Wilton family and presided over by Mr. Ralph (Bud) Wilton, Jr. this company produced painted iron objects for industry and consumers.

Popular throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the items included bottle openers, trivets, candle holders, and a wide variety of novelty items including mechanical banks. The items were hand painted and produced in Wrightsville, PA and Santa Barbara, CA.

Presided over by Mr. Henry Wilton (brother of Mr. Ralph (Bud) Wilton) from the 1950s until its close in 1989, the company was best known during its last 35 years for its wall decorations, garden plaques and novelty items. Many of the original designs and objects produced by Wilton Products are occasionally reintroduced as Armetale brand products as part of the American Inspirations division.

Wilton Brass – Established in 1954, the Wilton Brass Company located at 18th and Franklin streets in Columbia, Pennsylvania, offered brass objects made for industry and consumers. This company was a collaboration between Mr. Frederick M. Wilton and his nephew, Mr. Ralph (Bud) Wilton. In 1963 this company developed another metal from an aluminum based alloy which it called ‘Armetale’. By the late 1960s the ‘Armetale’ brand products overshadowed the brass offerings. The company continued to be known as the ‘Wilton Brass Company’ until well into the 1980s.

Metal – Armetale® metal is a unique, non-toxic aluminum-based alloy, making it ideal for cooking and entertaining.
• Hot foods cooked and served in Wilton Armetale® products stay hot longer.
• Cold foods and drinks served in Wilton Armetale® products stay cold longer.
ARMETALE® products are individually hand-crafted** from a non-toxic aluminum-based alloy. ARMETALE® metal has been analyzed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an independent third party laboratory and conforms to guidelines for the safe handling of food and beverages.

ARMETALE® products are also durable and will not crack, chip or dent under normal usage. Each ARMETALE® product is a solid piece of metal with no coating applied.

Our product comes in two finishes – one finish is a high polish similar to silver and the other is a matte finish similar to pewter. The two types of finishes are produced through different manufacturing processes.

[End of the ad]

** Now given the fact that  these vessels are a product of a molded process, then they certainly are not what we metal collectors consider “hand crafted work”


Some of Wilton’s other drinking vessel offerings, in Armetale:

A molded  MICHELOB drinking horn mug.

Pistol grip mug. (Really hard to drink from.)


This photo shows the molded  (fake) verification marks on the side.

Wine (? )pitcher


Squared handles, beer pitcher and pub mug based on English designs of late 1800’s – early 1900’s.


Above a  stock mug  for our year of Independence. 


“ATHENIANS” (Mardi Gras Krewe) 1978 mug.

Probably the most poorly designed mug I have ever seen! Two different types of English tavern mug handles on one “pass cup.”

Related notes:

[1] I was at what we call here in Virginia (the state God made on the 8th day!) a “Ca-Ca” mall last summer when I noticed a young couple checking out. He had in his hand a used Armatale mug similar to the one just above, with a price tag of $45.00 on it. I wanted to scream out: “No !, No !, ” but that would just have been my prejudices speaking out. Hell if the kid is happy, so be it. I, like many of you I am certain, started out buying what we later call  “junk” too.

[2] eBay even has a recommended selection for when you enter ‘Armetale’ it will display: “Armetale ‘Pewter!’ ” What a shame.

[END – SOK — 17 – 4D]

  “Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity!”






One response to ““Armetale” – What Is This Stuff?”

  1. Ben Avatar

    Does the base metal contain any other elements besides Aluminum?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *