Not just an ordinary tin pot

During my recent trip to Malaysia we visited the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. It was not always Royal Selangor but started out as an ordinary cottage industry and has now grown into the largest pewter factory in the world. I have several pieces of pewter (dusty beer mugs, some salt cellars and candelabra) which were made from this factory n my home, all of which have blackened beyond belief and look more like rusty tin or tarnished silver.

I only realised how valuable they were after this visit when  I found out that they were made before it became Royal Selangor i.e. pre-1992.

The factory was started by a Chinese pewtersmith Yong Koon in the newly established tin mining town of Kuala Lumpur in 1885 and is today a famous brand of elegant tableware.

What is Pewter? 

Pewter is a silver grey alloy of tin and lead with small amounts of other metals such as copper and antimony.

The Visit  

It took us around 20 minutes from our hotel to get to the factory which has around 250 workers. This is a popular tourist spot so it is advisable to book prior to your visit so that you can participate in a workshop and learn first hand how it is to fashion a pot out of pewter. 
We were all lined up at a bench with workstations consisting of a wooden stand, some mallets and an Apron which we had to wear while working.
Our teacher was a Michael Jackson who guided us through the process. It was a good thirty minutes before we managed to initial our bowls and hammer them into shape meeting the approval of our teacher MJ’s , after which we were presented with a certificate from the 
School of Hard Knocks. 
After the graduation ceremony, we folded up our aprons, kept aside our bowls and certificates and went for a factory tour where we got to taste some Isotonic Drink that demonstrated how cold cold can be, hence making pewter tankards the preferred metal to quaff beer in!

 The Lucky Tea Pot

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 This tea pot which occupies pride of place in the Visitor Centre was brought here after the original owner narrated the story of how the tea pot saved his life during the bombing of KL in WW2.  After the area was destroyed, people were foraging for food among the rubble when Ah Ham found something glinting in the mud. Bending down to pick it up, a piece of shrapnel flew past his head and he realised that it was the pot that saved his life! Originally made by Yong Koon it is now made into several miniatures for tourists to take home as souvenirs. 
Needless to say, I picked up my lucky tea pot and keep it by my bedside to remind me of how lucky I am!

Money does grow on trees

Long before money became the coinage that we know of, value was represented in animal shapes. Thus you could exchange five kilos of rice for a crocodile or a turtle depending on the exchange rate prevailing that day.

Naturally this cumbersome way of trading led to a more convenient way of transacting monetary deals which led to the creation of the money tree – from which you could break off the coins that you needed to seal the deal. So we found that money does grow on trees!

Outside the factory is a huge beer tankard, the largest pewter  in the world made to commemorate the company’s centenary year. Obviously every tourist or visitor who has ever been to this factory has captured this moment on film!

The tea caddy which ensures the freshness of tea year after year. This tea caddy has a unique design by which the lid slowly drops down and seals shut, making sure that no air gets in to spoil it. This is one of its prized items and very popular with customers who know their tea. 
While walking through the museum, you can easily overlook the bamboo scultpure which you discover later is a replica of the famed twin Petronas Towers made out of 7.062 pewter beer tankards and spanning two stories at 9.1 m. 


The factory has only 250 workers and all of them women. These hand prints are of the workers who have clocked in more than five years at the factory. 

Even though this is a tourist trap it is worth a visit

Admission

Free

Opening hours

9.00am – 5.00pm, daily.
No appointments necessary unless registering for a session at the School of Hard Knocks and The Foundry.

Languages

Guides are fluent in various languages, including English, Malay, Mandarin and Japanese.

Groups / MICE Visits

Group activity available at the

  • School of Hard Knocks (30 minutes). Maximum group size of 50 persons; minimum of 4.
  • The Foundry (60 minutes). Maximum group size of 12 persons; minimum of 4.

Advance bookings required. Please call +603 4145 6122 for more information.

Educational Visits

School Programme – School groups from kindergarten to tertiary institution are welcome. School groups can also book in advance, please call our schools booking line on +603 4145 6122.

Theatrette

Suitable for Groups / MICE briefings.
Seating Capacity: 120 persons
Usage: Group meetings and special functions.
Equipment: Remote Screen, Lighting Control, State-of-art audio Visual Equipment, LCD projector

Photography

You can take photographs and videos for personal use in the Visitor Centre (except restricted areas) unless otherwise stated.

Accessible Facilities

Toilets
Wheelchairs
First Aid 
Visitor Parking

Contact us

Tel +603 4145 6122
Fax +603 4022 3000
Email – visitorcentre@royalselangor.com
website – www.royalselangorvisitorcentre.com

Address

Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd
4 Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya

53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Click on the link and fix a visit to the School of Hark Knocks.

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Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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