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Old pewter/silver plate flask question

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Dave in PA, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Dave in PA

    Dave in PA

    Sep 23, 2000
    Since there seems to be a wealth of knowledge and experience here, I though I might get a qualified answer. I recently got an old metal hip flask. Normally I don't take any alcohol on hiking/camping trips, but I have thought of taking a small amount on select trips. Mostly I just like cool old things and didn't want to waste this thing. My best guess is that it is either pewter or silver plate?, but I really have no idea. It is definitely not stainless steel.

    My question is: can I safely use this flask? I am not sure of the age, but it seems very old and the only visible printing on it appears to be '8oz.' on the bottom. The cap has a very worn cork insert to (hopefully) keep any liquid from leaking out. After I washed it out, there appears to be some corrosion inside and I was not sure how safe it might be to use it. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    I realize since I am not sure of the manufacturer, age, metal that it might be hard to answer. I think if the general consensus is to not use it, the flask will become a display piece instead of taking any chances of getting sick.

    Thank you for any thoughts on using this cool old flask.
  2. A.W.U.K.


    Sep 27, 2002
    Old pewter usually contains some lead but the chances of you suffering any ill effects from taking a few nips of whisky from this flask a few times a year are about nil. Remember to wash it and freshly fill it before use if you are at all concerned. The longer a liquid remains in contact with metal, the more it will absorb.

    I've lived in houses with lead water pipes for many years with no ill effects, even though all my drinking water passes through yards and yards of lead pipe, ditto millions of other people.
  3. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    If it's plated you can usually tell in areas where plating is worn off. If it were all sterling silver there should be marks on the bottom indicating so.Pewter can have copper which will show green when corroded. Cork can easily be replaced.
  4. Dave in PA

    Dave in PA

    Sep 23, 2000
    Thanks for the replies. There is some slightly green corrosion visible in spots inside the flask. I did some reading on possible health risks and am getting kind of chicken to use it. I intend to see if I can find something to coat the inside and make it less scary. (apparently I'm a baby regarding this stuff)

    I am a firearms instructor with my department for many years and have been exposed to a bunch of lead. I prefer to avoid too much more if possible.
  5. neeman

    neeman Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Pewter is very soft and gets banged and bent
    I do not carry my pewter flask, both for damage and health

    The GSI 6 oz SS flasks are high quality and are reasonably priced (@ Campmor)
  6. Dave in PA

    Dave in PA

    Sep 23, 2000
    Thanks guys. I am going to chicken out and just use a stainless steel flask that my son gave me. I still love the old things and have been trying to use them on camping/hiking trips when at all possible.

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