Image: Introduction to Patent and Harcourt’s Specification, Castors for Furniture. Patent AD1839 No 8240. An example the front page of this patent for brass castors for furniture.

[Image from: Birmingham Central Library, Local Studies and History]

Brass An alloy of copper and zinc, usually in the ratio of 60-80% copper and 40-20% zinc.
Calamine Zinc carbonate (ZnCO3), an ore of zinc found in carboniferous limestone regions, such as Derbyshire and Cornwall.
Calamine Brass Produced by smelting calcined calamine with broken or granulated copper, it has a maximum of 28% zinc content.
Cementation Process The heating together of zinc ore and copper to produce brass.
Crock-brass The term used for the copper lead alloy which is used mainly for the casting of domestic pots.
Gun-metal An alloy made up of 80% copper, 9% yellow brass, 10% tin and 1% lead, although the mixture can vary.
Latten An old name for brass encompassing that used for medieval church brasses
Paktong Originating in China, this alloy of zinc, copper and nickel was used as a cheap alternative to silver (which it resembled) in eighteenth century England.
Patent An official document giving inventors the right to an income for a term of years from those who may wish to use their invention.
Pot-metal An alloy of copper and lead
Spelter An old name for zinc
Yellow Brass Old name for foundry brass, often containing up to 3% lead to aid casting and machining.


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2022-0The Brass Industry and Brass Workers in Birmingham 3684-0The Early Brass Trade 3115-0The Origins of the Brass Industry in the Midlands and Birmingham 3118-0Innovation in the Midlands Brass Industry 2019-0Brassworking Skills in Birmingham 2024-0Demand for Birmingham Brass in Britain and Abroad 3691-0Entrepreneurship 1: Birmingham Brassfounders and the Building of the Brass House 2013-0Entrepreneurship 2: The Birmingham Metal Company and The Birmingham Mining and Copper Company 2023-0The Organisation of the Birmingham Workforce 2025-0Working Practices and Conditions in the Birmingham Brass Industry 2011-0Trades Unions 2933-0Conclusion: Further Investigation 2014-0Glossary