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Brass And Copper
More brass antiques will be found than copper. As brass is an alloy (of copper and zinc) and therefore harder and firmer, it was used more often. Its goldlike color has made it a widespread favorite over many years.
Almost every household article necessary can be found in brass: lamps, candlesticks, trivets, warming pans, andirons, fenders, pots, kettles, teakettles, kitchen tools (skimmers, ladles, etc.), jamb hooks, furniture hardware (handles, escutcheons, knobs, keys, hinges), mortar and pestles, door knockers, inkwells and other desk accessories, mirror knobs, drapery tie backs, wall brackets, ormolu furniture mounts, jardinieres, much Victorian furniture including plant stands; hall racks, and the familiar brass beds.
Cast brass made before 1830 has a pencil thin line extending from top to bottom on both sides, because they were cast in two halfs and then braised together. Andirons of this period, when un screwed, will show this line on the interior most clearly. After 1830, brass articles were cast in one piece and do not show this line.
Polished brass has a lovely sheen closely resembling gold. It can become tarnished, sometimes to the point where it is actually mistaken for iron, if left long enough. There are several com mercial brass polishes on the market; but the easiest way to clean tarnished brass is by the use of ordinary soap-impregnated steel wool pads (such as S.O.S) that you use to clean and shine your pots and pans. You can use water liberally when cleaning brass, then wipe dry with a soft cloth. If the brass is very badly tarnished it can be cleaned by the use of carborundum valve-grinding compound from any auto supply store. Clear lacquer can be used to protect a bed or other large article from frequent polishings, and colorless nail polish can be used for jamb hooks, mirror knobs, and other tiny items.