With the world getting smaller and smaller and the flight
prices dropping it is nowadays very affordable to take weekend trips to
neighboring countries. And in this case Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. And if you
are at least a little bit interested in art and culture there are some
‘musts’ in what to see.
from Lord of the Rings, which belongs to a collection with an array of
characters from Tolkien’s epic work of fiction.
No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without a trip
to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. Founded in 1885 by a young man from
China who arrived in the country with little more than tools and skills in
pewter making, Royal Selangor today is the largest pewter making enterprise
in the world employing over 500 skilled artisans.
- each print belongs to an employee who has worked for the company for at
least five years.
Pewter, an alloy of tin, antimony, and copper, is
particularly popular when made into tableware and decorative items. Unlike
pewter of old, this pewter does not contain lead and meets international
standards of safety. When the company was first founded, it made incense
burners and candle holders for the oriental market. Later it made tankards,
ashtrays and tea services for the British colonials. Today it has expanded
worldwide and makes products to suit tastes from many countries.
Selangor Pewter factory, the largest pewter making enterprise in the world
employing over 500 skilled artisans.
An enormous pewter tankard greets guests to the factory.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, it was made in 1985 in
celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary. The tankard is almost two
meters tall and has a capacity of 2,796 liters of beer, a sure hit at any
Riding a conveyor belt to the second floor of the
factory, our tour guide pointed out the walls full of pewter handprints on
the ground floor. Each print belongs to an employee who has worked for the
company for at least five years. Based on the walls, there are many loyal
At the top of the conveyor, we stepped off to view ingots
of pewter, a display of antique pewter, and a very modern replica of the
twin towers of Kuala Lumpur – made of pewter, of course. A large pewter
crocodile guards the entry to the factory and charmed the children who were
touring ahead of us.
The factory is large and modern with state of the art
equipment. Everywhere, however, it is obvious that the success of the
company depends on the skills of its artisans. Delicate engraving,
polishing, and hammering of patterns is obvious. The design department is
creative with products that vary from 17th and 18th century replicas from
the Victoria and Albert Museum of London to the Lord of the Rings collection
with an array of characters from Tolkien’s epic work of fiction.
Two items are especially impressive: the tea caddies and
the teapots. The design of the tea caddies makes them airtight. The double
lid is simply placed on the top of the caddy and gently closes itself. The
teapots are equally interesting. Each spout is designed and crafted to
insure that it does not drip.
The tour, of course, ended in the showroom and we joined other eager
shoppers in looking over the hundreds of products.