This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Commence by removing the spots of grease and wax with a little potash or soda dissolved in water. Let dry, and apply the following mixture with a rag: Carbonate of soda, 7 parts; whiting, 15 parts; alcohol (85°), 50 parts; water, 125 parts. When this coating is dry pass a fine linen cloth or a piece of supple skin over it. The hollow parts are cleaned with a brush.
After removing the grease spots, let dry and pass over all the damaged parts a pencil dipped in the following mixture: Alum, 2 parts; nitric acid, 65; water, 250 parts. When the gilding becomes bright, wipe, and dry in the sun or near a fire.
Wash in hot water containing a little soda, dry, and pass over the gilding a pencil soaked in a liquid made of 30 parts nitric acid, 4 parts of aluminum phosphate, and 125 parts of pure water. Dry in sawdust.
Immerse the objects in boiling soap water, and facilitate the action of the soap by rubbing with a soft brush; put the objects in hot water, brush them carefully, and let them dry in the air; when they are quite dry rub the shining parts only with an old linen cloth or a soft leather, without touching the others.
Degilding or stripping gilt articles may be done by attaching the object to the positive pole of a battery and immersing it in a solution composed of 1 pound of cyanide dissolved in about 1 gallon of water. Desilvering may be effected in the same manner.
Apply with a rag a mixture of 1 part sulphuric acid with 12 parts of water. Rinse the zinc with clear water.
Pour hot lye of wood ashes upon the tin, throw on sand, and rub with a hard, woolen rag, hat felt, or whisk until all particles of dirt have been dissolved. To polish pewter plates it is well to have the turner make similar wooden forms fitting the plates, and to rub them clean this way. Next they are rinsed with clean water and placed on a table with a clean linen cover on which they are left to dry without being touched, otherwise spots will appear. This scouring is not necessary so often if the pewter is rubbed with wheat
bran after use and cleaned perfectly. New pewter is polished with a paste of whiting and brandy, rubbing the dishes with it until the mass becomes dry.