If we melt copper and add to it about 30% of zinc, or 20 of tin, we obtain uniform liquids which when solidified are the well-known substances brass and bell-metal.
Similarly, bell-metal is harder, more sonorous and more brittle than either of its components.
In fact the uniformity of brass and bell-metal is only superficial; if we adopt the methods described in the article Metallography, and if, after polishing a plane face on a bit of gun-metal, we etch away the surface layer and examine the new surface with a lens or a microscope, we find a complex pattern of at least two materials.
The brass or rather bell-metal ware of Murshidabad, known as khagrai, has more than a local reputation, owing to the large admixture of silver in it.
Quality bell metal ingots consisting of specific quantities of copper and tin are used to cast handbells.