Brass vs Bronze is a dilemma many people face when they return to the very roots of traditional cooking. Is one better than the other? How can you tell them apart?
Brass and Bronze have been indispensable elements of my grandmother’s kitchen, and as a child, all I could see were hues of gold on the shelves, on the stone counters, or even on the ground next to our trusty stone grinder. But, mind you, such vessels were not what we see in today’s markets. Instead, the craftsmanship was exceptional, the variation in quality only known to the shopkeeper and the women of the household looking for a new addition to their collection. The sizes were nifty, too, the adukku vessels being the most wonderful of them all. They stacked and stayed hidden within each other, much like the Matryoshka dolls from Russia.
But how were the women so sure about their choice? Could they undoubtedly tell brass from Bronze? Of course, but before we delve into that, let us understand the metals on their own.
What is Brass?
Brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc, the proportions and ratio of which vary based on its use. Generally, brass is composed of 66% copper and 34% zinc, giving off an appealing, bright gold-like appearance. In addition, the metal is highly durable, with a low melting point and high conductivity, making it ideal for kitchen vessels.
In terms of colour, brass is bright gold, copper, or even silver, depending upon the ratio of copper to zinc. Also, it is far more malleable than Bronze and can cast well, making it perfect for complex forms. Brass also boasts antimicrobial properties, and its aesthetic value aside, it is most often considered for handles and knobs used frequently.
Brass retains about 90-92% of the nutritional value of food, and water stored in brass vessels is said to increase strength and immunity. It also helps pacify Pitta (burning sensations, aggression) https://ancientmadurai.com/product/brass-foot-scrubber-peacock-2/and increases haemoglobin count in the body.
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What is Bronze?
Bronze is an alloy made of copper and tin, the proportions and ratio of which vary based on its use. Generally, Bronze is composed of 88% copper and 12% tin, making it harder than copper alone.
While Bronze is the result of adding tin to copper, many other side metals such as lead, manganese, nickel, zinc, silicon, and more are added to improve it. Bronze readily conducts heat and has a melting point range of 950 – 1050 °C, depending upon the amount of tin present, making it wonderful to use in the kitchen. In addition, it oxidizes in the air due to its high copper content, which gives Bronze a distinct mottled patina, which has protective and aesthetic qualities.
Bronze also has a reddish-brown colour and a hard and brittle quality to it. Fun fact- It is also highly resistant to corrosion from saltwater and has low metal-to-metal friction.
Bronze also retains about 97% of the nutritional value of the food and makes for an excellent cooking and dining choice. It is also said to pacify Vata (dry skin, nervous temperament, irritability) and Pitta in the body.
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Brass Vs. Bronze: How to tell them apart
In the long-standing confusion of Brass Vs Bronze, most people do not realize the subtle differences between the two. So here are some ways you can spot brass from Bronze:
Brass Vs Bronze 1: Brass has a brighter gold tone compared to Bronze and is used for fittings around the home. When looking to mimic the colour gold interior design, brass is always the go-to metal. What’s more, it also has antimicrobial properties that make it great to use in frequented areas.
Brass Vs Bronze 2: On the other hand, Bronze looks slightly pinkish due to the large amount of copper used in making the alloy. It also takes on patination very well, usually in splotched patterns throughout the surface.
Brass Vs Bronze 3: Brass generally has a nearly mirror-polished look and feel, whereas Bronze appears to have a soft brushed finish.
Brass Vs Bronze 4: Bronze is also referred to as bell metal, owing to the fact that it is used to make bells and ringing devices. When buying Bronze, some people also check for a ringing sound that it produces when knocked.
So, you see, the selection of which metal to use falls entirely on your budget and purpose of use. Brass should be your go-to metal choice when it comes to ornamental decors such as wall fittings and shiny trinkets. Brass is also the more sanitary option, thanks to the antibacterial properties mentioned earlier. There are many more factors and distinctions where one shines, and the other gives a dull look. The debate for Brass vs Bronze may be eternal but, thankfully, not inconclusive.
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