A London watchmaker who took his name from Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, invented an alloy of five parts copper and one of zinc that resembled gold. The inventor was Christopher Pinchbeck (1670-1732), whose shop was on Fleet Street. He was an ingenious toy maker, particularly of singing birds and clocks that showed the movements of the planets and stars. The alloy was a welcome invention because it enabled jewelers and others to sell a product that was not gold but looked like it. The products compared with something in gold were inexpensive, but they could be made into interesting designs.
   Pinchbeck died shortly after his invention became available on the market. The practices of those selling products made with pinchbeck often were deceptive, and so pinchbeck became an eponyin for false or sham. Anything spurious or counterfeit was labeled pinchbeck. The term is also used to describe anything of inferior quality.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.


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  • Pinchbeck — could be;People *Christopher Pinchbeck, English watchmaker who developed the alloy *Daniel Pinchbeck, American author;Placenames *Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, England;Other *Pinchbeck (alloy), an alloy made of copper and zinc …   Wikipedia

  • Pinchbeck — Pinch beck, a. Made of pinchbeck; sham; cheap; spurious; unreal. A pinchbeck throne. J. A. Symonds. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pinchbeck — [pinch′bek΄] n. [after C. Pinchbeck, Eng jeweler who invented it ( c. 1725)] 1. an alloy of copper and zinc used to imitate gold in cheap jewelry 2. anything cheap or imitation adj. 1. made of pinchbeck 2. cheap, imitation, sham, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Pinchbeck — (spr. Pintschbeck), geschmeidige, goldfarbene Legirung aus 2 Theilen Kupfer u. 1 Theil Messing, nach ihrem Erfinder, dem englischen Mechaniker Pinchbeck benannt …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pinchbeck — Pinch beck, n. [Said to be from the name of the inventor; cf. It. prencisbecco.] An alloy of copper and zinc, resembling gold; a yellow metal, composed of about three ounces of zinc to a pound of copper. It is much used as an imitation of gold in …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pinchbeck — Pinchbeck, s. unter Messing, S. 524 …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • pinchbeck — index spurious Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pinchbeck — adj Counterfeit, spurious, bogus, fake, sham, pseudo, phony …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pinchbeck — /pinch bek/, n. 1. an alloy of copper and zinc, used in imitation of gold. 2. something sham, spurious, or counterfeit. adj. 3. made of pinchbeck. 4. sham, spurious, or counterfeit: pinchbeck heroism. [1725 35; named after Christopher Pinchbeck… …   Universalium

  • pinchbeck — 1. noun An alloy of copper and zinc once used as imitation gold for cheap jewelry. 2. adjective a) Made of pinchbeck. Where, in these pinchbeck days, can we hope to find the old agricultural virtue in all its purity? …   Wiktionary

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