CRAFT BAZAAR celebrates 130 years of Royal Selangor with a look back at the design house from inception to legend. By Sharmita Summugam.
FRoyal Selangor factory on Pudu Road in the 1950s rom one generation to another, Royal Selangor has made its mark and stood the test of time. Today, this magnificent house of all things pewter celebrates its 130th anniversary. “When my great grandfather started his pewter business in 1885, I don’t think anyone envisioned that in 130 years, the brand would go on to have over 300 craftsmen and collaborate with international award-winning designers,” says Yong Yoon Li, executive director of Royal Selangor International.
It all began when Yong Koon, the founder, sailed all the way from the port of Shantou to Kuala Lumpur in 1885. He was among the first pewter smiths in KL having opened up shop at No. 23 Cross Street. With a few other craftsmen, he was in the business of making simple yet classic pewter items for the home. As time wore on, Koon evolved with the era in terms of his design aesthetics. The 1930s brought economic depression and the entire family moved their shop to Pudu Road, where they began a new chapter of Malayan Pewter Works. With the state of the country and hard times in mind, Koon revolutionised his pewter designs by creating European-styled products for British expatriates, thus creating a new market for his products.
By the end of the ’30s, his sons – Peng Pow, Peng Kai, Peng Seong, and Peng Sin – created three other pewter companies: Tiger Pewter, Selangor Pewter, and Lion Pewter. As we know, only Selangor Pewter survived the trials and tribulations of an unpredictable economic state and grew to prosper into what it is today.
To commemorate 130 years of beautiful pewter designs, Royal Selangor presents ents the 8515 collection, a celebration of the brand’s heritage, design, and craftsmanship sinceince its inception in 1885. With stores all over the world from Hong Kong to Germanyny to Japan and Australia, Royal Selangor continues to flourish. Today, it boasts over 250 highly skilled craftspeople working together, making it the world’s largest pewter factory. True to form, Royal Selangor maintains its design-savvy wayss by always keeping ahead of the curve with ith modern yet timeless designs.
Making tea caddies The 8515 collection features a pattern of tiny impressions
Original ‘ Melon’ teapot
8515 tea set, Royal Selangor
The next generation: Chen Tien Yue and Yong Yoon Li head up Royal Selangor