This beautiful colour, which has superseded the use of the last-mentioned pigment, is obtained by precipitating a solution of lead in acetic acid, by the addition of a solution of the chromate of potash.
Lead is rapidly dissolved by the nitric acid. Wooden sticks, impregnated with a nitric solution, made by dissolving the cuttings of lead in weak nitric acid, have been recommended by Proust, as a substitute for port-fires, in discharging artillery. Most of the acids attack lead. The sulphuric does not unless it be concentrated and boiling. When lead is alloyed with an equal weight of tin, it ceases to be acted upon by vinegar. Oils dissolve oxide of lead and become thick and consistent, in which state they are used as the basis of cements for water works, the vehicle for paints, and various other purposes. Sulphur dissolves lead in the dry way, and produces a brilliant and brittle compound, which is much more fusible than lead itself. Lead unites with most of the metals. Gold and silver are dissolved by it at a light red heat. Platina forms a brittle compound with lead; mercury amalgamates with it, but the lead is again separable from it by mere agitation, in the form of an impalpable black powder. Copper and lead do not unite without a strong heat; but the union of these metals is extremely slight, for at no greater heat than the melting point of lead it runs from the copper. Iron does not unite with lead in the metallic state.
Tin unites very readily with lead, as already shown in the process of tinning lead pipes and sheets. The compound of these metals being very fusible, it is used as a solder either separately or both together. The mixture is made in various proportions: the best solder is said to be two parts tin and one part lead; and the common solder, two parts lead and one part tin. Bismuth combines readily with lead, and affords a metal of a fine close grain, but very brittle. A mixture of eight parts bismuth, five lead, and three tin, melt at a heat below that of boiling water. Antimony forms a brittle compound with lead: see the article Alloy. Nickel, cobalt, manganese, ana zinc, do not unite with lead by fusion