This section is from the book "The Tinman's Manual And Builder's And Mechanic's Handbook", by Isaac Ridler Butt. Also available from Amazon: The Tinman's Manual And Builder's And Mechanic's Handbook.
The iron-rust cement is made of from fifty to one hundred parts of iron borings, pounded and sifted, mixed with one part of sal-ammoniac, and when it is to be applied moistened with as much water as will give it a pasty consistency. Formerly flowers of sulphur were used, and much more sal-ammoniac in making this cement, but with decided disadvantage, as the union is effected by oxidizement, consequent expansion and solidification of the iron powder, and any heterogeneous matter obstructs the effect. The best proportion of sal-ammoniac is, I believe, one per cent of the iron borings. Another composition of the same kind is made by mixing four parts of fine borings or filings of iron, two parts of potter's clay, and one part of pounded potsherds, and making them into a paste with salt and water. When this cement is allowed to concrete slowly on iron joints, it becomes very hard.