Pewter and Basic Spirit
Basic Spirit is a Canadian success story, one that we are proud to be associated with. Located in the fishing town of Pugwash in Nova Scotia, Basic Spirit has been creating popular pewter items since 2002. The Shop has been carrying Basic Spirit since 2012. As with many of our Canadian suppliers, their location and history both make interesting stories.
Pugwash and the Nobel Peace Prize
The town of Pugwash sits on the shores of the Northumberland region of Nova Scotia. With just over 700 residents, this small community is known internationally for being the first location of the Pugwash conferences. Back in July 1957, a group of “great thinkers” got together at “Thinkers Lodge” to hold meetings about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Cyrus Eaton, the noted businessman, funded and hosted the gathering and offered to use the location of his birthplace of Pugwash. The attendees considered the meetings a huge success. This then lead to the creation of an international organization to continue holding future events. Over time the organization became recognized for their contributions to the advancement of peace. The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Pewter Capital of Canada
Pugwash has a second claim to fame – pewter. Yes, Pugwash is the capital of pewter manufacturing in Canada. Of the two pewter companies found in Pugwash. Seagull Pewter is the older and larger. Now owned by Royal Selangor, Seagull Pewter has been around for several decades. However, Seagull got into financial problems in around 2002, ending in its sale to Royal Selangor of Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, a startup was born using the skills that were still available in the area. Basic Spirit came in to fill a gap that was left on Nova Scotia’s north shore. They began creating and producing a vast range of pewter objects from jewellery to tableware and ornaments.
What is Pewter?
Pewter is a metal alloy with the main component being tin. Archaeologists have found piecesin Egypt that go back as early as the bronze age. In the 15th century companies made drinking vessels in Europe with the alloying process using 4% lead. This changed by the 20th century. Other metals were substituted once the dangers of using lead in drinking vessels were understood. Today, Pewter is normally composed of over 92% tin alloyed with copper, bismuth and sometimes silver. The additional metals help give the tin strength and other properties.
Caring for pewter is easy, just wash with a small amount of soap and warm water, then dry thoroughly. Pewter tends not to tarnish in the way silver and copper do. Though it does develop a nice patina over time.. If you wish to return to the original shiny finish, use a metal polish, making sure to rub in straight lines.
Do not store food in pewter as acids could attack the finish, and keep pieces away from direct heat sources.
Basic Spirit Pewter Designs
Popular items from Basic Spirit include pate spreaders embellished with different designs inspired by the Canadian landscape. The design of the handles range from animals to hearts and Celtic symbols as well as uniquely Canadian images. They make their cutting boards from yellow birch with pewter accents added to the designs. These best selling boards are usually coupled with a cheese knife or spreader. Also in the collection, Basic Spirit offers tea strainers and spoons which add a classy touch to any afternoon get together.
Besides serving pieces, Basic Spirit has personal items such as jewellery. These include a large series of bangles engraved with words of encouragement and endearment. Choosing their favourite sayings, many customers give these bangles as gifts. They have a very affordable price yet look charming. And, importantly, have special meanings.
Basic Spirit Pewter Ornaments, magnets and figures
A seasonal favourite are Christmas ornaments. Available in a wide range of designs and themes, these come either boxed or carded. Pewter figures include nativity scenes,yoga themed poses and more whimsical figures such as their set of elves. Basic Spirit also offers box sets with three pewter magnets having many Canadian and wildlife themes.
Basic Spirit Continues the Pugwash Tradition of Global Responsibility
Small town generosity continues in Pugwash. Basic Spirit has contributed 10% of its profits to a wide range of local, Canadian and global organizations. In doing so they are funding environmental, educational and animal care causes. Various ornaments are available with labels showing where the donation will be made.