31 Oct Virtual Tour of Royal Selangor !
Royal Selangor is one of the world’s largest pewter manufacturers founded in 1885 by Yong Koon. Malaysia was once one of the largest tin manufacturers in the world
A little bit about the History of Royal Selangor:
As years passed by, they started exporting and expanded worldwide.
It is said that Yong Koon travelled from China to Kuala Lumpur excited by the booming tin industry. He used to handcraft pewter products for ceremonial use such as joss stick holders, incense burners and candleholders in his little shop called Ngeok Foh. He used to polish the pewter with stone leaf. Later the offering expanded to ashtrays, tankards and tea sets with the arrival of British Colonials.
Yong Koon had three grandsons with three pewter business and it was said that only Selangor Pewter survived after the second world war. The company is known as Royal Selangor today and Yong Li, is taking care of the business.
What is Pewter?
Pewter is a silver-colored metal alloy made mainly from tin, copper and antimony(lead).
What to expect from Royal Selangor Visitor Centre ?
The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre at Setapak offers insight into Malaysia’s history about tin business. It has a museum, retail store, There is a cafe too inside the premises.
The world’s largest pewter tankard is placed in this headquarters and it is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records. This was made by Royal Selangor in 1985 to commemorate its centenary. It can hold 2796 litres of beer.
The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre offers free factory tours, and paid hands-on pewter workshops.
How to Reach There?
Royal Selangor runs a free shuttle bus from most of the Kuala Lumpur hotels to its location; Enquire with your hotel concierge. Even otherwise, you can book a grab like we did and reach there within 20-minutes.
On arrival, we were assigned a personal guide who took us through the exhibits and mini-museum gallery where we could see Yong Koon’s original smithing tools and personal props.
There is a gaint weighing scale and none of us could even tilt it. Can you guess its weight?
There is a gallery of frames that display the various style of picture frames from the history.
In the gallery section of the Royal Selangor Visitor’s Centre you can find showcases displaying aspects of science and history. The gallery is interactive, informative and interesting.
A few original pieces handmade by Yong Koon, still remain like the melon pot which sits in a glass case display in the visitor centre.
There is a model of the Petronas Twin Towers made using 7000 pewter tankards at Royal Selangor Visitor Centre.
Also, a wall of hands from workers at the factory emplyed for more than 5 years.
The Royal Selangor Retail store sells various designs of tableware and gift items, from mugs and tea sets, to photo frames, desk accessories, figurines and more. The products are definitely exoensive but worth it. The pewter quality and craftsmanship is excellent here. Even if you are not in a shopping mood, you will be awestruck seeing the products on display.
Royal Selangor has collaborated with many Museums and designers worldwide.
My favorite exhibit is the Chamber of Chimes, which demonstrates the difference between the sound of pewter and that of similar metals.
We were given a task to knock circular patterns on a beer mug. It looked very easy bit damn it was so difficult. I loved the hands on approach here.
You can also stop at the School of Hard Knocks or The Foundry to take part in the workshops. You have to pay for it but you will get to take your standard product with you to home, plus a certificate and an apron for taking part. You will be making a pewter bowl with your name engraved on the inside.
Lastly, don’t forget to take a stroll through pewter making demonstration process by the employees. Some of pewtersmiths employed here are working at Royal Selangor since 30-40 years.
School of Hard Knocks :
You will do a simple activity where you will be given a flat disk of metal. You will first engrave your name on it with the initials tool.
There will be a wooden mallet and a wooden block with a bowl-shaped depression in it. You proceed by hammering away on the disk until it is shaped like a bowl. Price: RM60 per session.
If you want to make a pewter accessory then there are Foundry classes from RM150.
Address- 4, Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya, 53300 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours – 9.00am – 5.00pm, daily
(No appointments necessary unless registering for a session at the School of Hard Knocks and The Foundry)
For more information, please visit www.royalselangorvisitorcentre.com
As you leave, remember to take a picture with the world’s largest tankard.
Pewter items are a result of labor, passion, and art. Don’t forget to buy your Pewter Souvenir when you visit Malaysia.