BRASS: An Introduction

Brass is a well-liked metal - at Owen & Fred it is used to make collar stays, our hex business card holder, and brass money clips. There is something particular about brass. Silver is an element on the chemical chart - symbol Ag, atomic number 47. Gold too, occupies atomic number 79, and the symbol Au. These metals are simplistic, singular and unique - we love them for that. But brass is an alloy - a composite of copper and zinc. It is not just a single element, but a complex age old recipe with a fascinating history.

The main component of brass is copper (Cu, atomic number 29). Pure copper is soft and malleable. It is used to conduct heat and electricity - it can be found on integrated circuits and circuit boards; due to its amazing ability to conduct electricity. It has been used as a durable architectural material.

But copper and brass are two different things. The amount of copper that you will find in brass varies depending on what the brass will be used for, but normally it falls around 60 - 80%. Zinc is normally a hard metal, but when heated at 100 - 150º celsius, it becomes malleable. When zinc is compounded with copper, the resulting brass is stronger and harder than copper. It has amazing acoustic capabilities - which is why saxophones, french horns, and organs are made of brass.

When brass becomes tough to work with, it can be heated at a high temperature and tempered. Using a kiln heated to around 565º celsius, brass can become malleable again.


Brass has special properties that make it an efficient metal in many different situations. It has great acoustic properties, can be easily transformed and molded, and has a unique and particular aesthetic quality that no other metal can match. It's sleek and zany. This is why we feel it makes for a unique product; and one thing thats so exciting about our brass money clips, hex business card holder, and pen holder.