Marble is a kind of stone which is very hard, compact, and firm, and capable of taking a high polish. It comes from Greece, Italy, Spain, and France. Large quantities are also obtained in Great Britain, chiefly in Devonshire, Derbyshire, and Westmoreland.
There are many varieties, such as-
CARRARA, a semi-transparent marble coming from Italy.
VERDE ANTIQUE, a green marble only found in Egypt.
SICILIAN, white, veined with grey; used much for mantelpieces.
STATUARY, a plain white, which, if exposed to a damp situation, soon becomes discoloured.
ROUGEMONT, a dark terra-cotta veined with white.
Marble-topped washstands are now almost universal. Care should be taken that water is not allowed to remain on the slab, as even a small quantity makes the marble a dark colour, and continued damp produces an apparent iron-mould, which is really the clay intermingled with the white limestone. There are many ways of cleaning marble; but mere dirt and stains, caused by recently spilt liquids, can often be removed by a vigorous application of Sapolio. Deeper stains can sometimes be removed by the following process, which is, however, somewhat lengthy.
Mix together equal parts of soft soap, quicklime, and caustic potash. Apply this with a brush, and leave it on the marble for several days, after which it must be washed off.
If a stain is not merely superficial, but has sunk in and formed some chemical combination, home treatment will not be sufficient; the only remedy is to have it rubbed down to a fresh pure surface and re-polished. Oxalic acid, dissolved in hot water, may be tried; but it must be rubbed off quickly to prevent the acid doing further mischief.
Oxalic acid is a very active poisonous juice found in the well-known "wood-sorrel."
1. Wash with warm water and soap, using a nail-brush; if necessary, remove stains with Brooke's soap or marble cream.
2. Rinse in warm water; dry well.
3. Polish with furniture cream, or with milk.
Pound in a mortar, or crush with a rolling-pin; then moisten with sufficient boiling water to make the mixture the consistency of cream.
USE. Apply with a penny bristle brush, and leave it till dry; then wash off with hot water, dry, and polish.
This mixture should be kept in a well-corked bottle.
Equal quantities of soft soap and pearlash to be applied with a flannel and left for an hour or more.
Pearlash is potash burnt red-hot to make it purer and whiter.
Slender parts of ornamental marble, such as handles of vases, can be easily mended with Seccotine, fish-glue, or any patent adhesive medium. Solid marble should be treated with plaster of Paris mixed to a stiff paste with warm water. It must be used immediately after mixing, as it quickly becomes hard.
Plaster of Paris, costing 1d. per pound, is made from gypsum; a form of lime which is beautifully white; the cheap statuettes often on sale in the streets being formed of it.