Alloy of tin with small amounts of other metals, usually lead, copper or antimony. Only in the English language has a special word been invented for it; elsewhere the word for tin is applied to pewter. Tin is a relatively soft metal, but, with small amounts of other metals added, it becomes adequately durable for domestic use, although because of its low melting-point (170°–230°C) it will not withstand the heat of an ordinary domestic fire. This vulnerability restricts its use in household wares. Tin was mined in Cornwall, England, certainly from ancient Roman times and in the Middle Ages in Saxony and Bohemia. In 1650 England was the major source of tin. In the late 17th century tin was imported from East Asia, and less reliance was placed thereafter on European sources.
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