Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It melts at 850ºC and can be cast into patterned moulds or into sheets which are hammered into shape. A versatile material, brass has been used throughout history for both works of art and mass-produced household items.
Video: Wilkes Detector Lock
This video details the functions of the Wilkes detector lock made by John Wilkes around 1680. The locks dial shows how many times a door had been unlocked by means of a numbered dial set to the right of the clock. Such a lock would have been fitted to the door of a private closet, where important business took place.
The Metalwork collection contains over 45,000 examples of decorative metalwork, silver and jewellery ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the present day. It includes the national collection of English silver, an outstandingly comprehensive jewellery gallery, and collections of ironwork, continental silver, arms and armour, medieval champlevé and late 19th-century enamels, brasswork, pewter and medieval metalwork of international importance.