The Royal Selangor is a world renowned manufacturer and retailer of Malaysian pewter, known for its quality pewter and craftsmanship. Established in 1885, it is one of the oldest homegrown brands in Malaysia.
Royal Selangor Visitor Center in Straits Quay, Penang
In a recent trip to Straits Quay Penang, I've visited the 4000 sq ft Royal Selangor Visitor Center with my family. It was an opportunity for us to learn about its history and the art of pewter-smithing through its multi-sensory interactive exhibits and a complimentary guided tour.
Early pewter artifact
A friendly staff greeted us and immediately led us to the upper floor where the museum tour began with a brief history of Royal Selangor. There were several early artifacts of pewter objects on display such as teapots and old tin currency.
Chamber of Chimes and Wall of Finishes
At the Chamber of Chime section, visitors get to ring the chimes hanging from the ceiling. These chimes were made of metal, bamboo, wood and pewter which produced different tonal qualities depending on the materials used. Behind these chimes is the Wall of Finishes, featuring various textures and patterns of pewter. Visitors were encouraged to examine the tactile qualities of pewter by touching them.
As we proceeded to the demonstration section, the lovely staff briefly showed us the "elaborated" process of pewter-smithing which included casting, filing, polishing, soldering and hammering.
Pewter filing demonstration
We were told that all excess pewter from filing, shaving and polishing processes are collected, recycled and melted down to create new products.
Giant container of recycled pewter swarf
There was a giant container at the center which was filled with 4150kg worth of pewter swarf. As stated on the container, swarf was defined as "fine chips of filings of stones, metal, etc.".
The tour ended with an optional participation in School of Hard Knocks workshop which required a small fee of MYR60 (approx. AUD20). It was a fun and interactive activity for visitors to get hands-on experience. Some of us decided to join in for fun and it was indeed a worth-while experience. The workshop required us to make a pewter bowl engraved with our names.