Welcome to Optimum Brasses. Our skilled team of 12 is here to supply you products of the quality that you want. While we are proud to have worked for Royal Palaces, Great Houses, and Major Museums on both sides of the Atlantic, we are equally proud of having helped hundreds of restorers, dealers, furniture makers, kitchen builders and interior designers to provide excellence to their customers. Although our core business has always been a service to knowledgeable professionals, over the three decades or so of Optimum’s existence, many discerning and enthusiastic private customers have also discovered us.
The method used by our Company is called ‘lost wax casting’. For thousands of years this technique has been used to cast jewellery in precious metals, bronze weapons and tools and the bronze statues of Ancient Greece and the Renaissance. Put simply, an object is modelled in wax, then the wax is replaced with molten metal. Modern jewellers use rubber moulds to form the waxes – and this is what Optimum does also, having made the moulds directly from genuine period original brass fittings. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The brass mix that we use closely matches used in the 18th century and unlike modern brass, will age to the right colour.
The business was founded in 1981 by an antique dealer and restorer, Robert Byles. Since 1966 he had collected more than 200 original brass fittings from the 17th to the 19th century in date. Unhappy with the authenticity of the reproduction brass then available, he caused moulds to be made so that in the words of one customer the original brass handles could be “cloned”. We have continued to make faithful copies of originals and now have an archive of thousands of moulds.
Distinctive brass-ware replicated from period originals from antique furniture or, sometimes, copied from our customers’ prototype of contemporary designs all using the lost wax technique.
The image shows a mould which is the starting point for all our castings, then the (green) wax produced from that mould followed by the raw brass. Then we how a brass that has been polished to a bright finish followed by one with an antique patination.
The patination is the last stage of the process and both our bright finish and antique finish are unlacquered.