The composition of this alloy varies considerably, but from the adjoined figures an average may be found, which will represent, approximately, the normal composition:

Copper....... 50 to 66 parts

Zinc.......... 19 to 31 parts

Nickel........ 13 to 18 parts

The properties of the different kinds, such as their color, ductility, fusibility, etc., vary with the proportions of the single metals. For making spoons, forks, cups, candlesticks, etc., the most suitable proportions are 50 parts of copper, 25 of zinc, and 25 of nickel. This metal has a beautiful blue-white color, and does not tarnish easily.

German silver is sometimes so brittle that a spoon, if allowed to fall upon the floor, will break; this, of course, indicates faulty composition. But the following table will show how the character of the alloy changes with the varying percentage of the metals composing it:

 

Copper

Zinc

Nickel

Quality

I.

8

3.5

4

Finest quality.

II.

8

3.5

6

Beautiful, but refractory.

III.

8

6.5

3

Ordinary, readily fusible.

IV.

52

26.0

22

First quality.

V.

59

30.0

11

Second quality.

VI.

63

31.0

6

Third quality.

The following analyses give further particulars in regard to different kinds of German silver:

For sheet

Copper

Zinc

Nickel

Lead

Iron

(French)....

50.0

31.3

18.7

   

(French)....

50.0

30.0

20.0

       

(French)....

58.3

25.0

16.7

       

Vienna......

50.0

25.0

25.0

       

Vienna......

55.6

22.0

22.0

       

Vienna......

60.0

20.0

20.0

       

Berlin.......

54.0

28.0

18.0

       
 

55.5

29.1

17.5

       

English......

63.34

17.01

19.13

       

English......

62.40

22.15

15.05

       

English......

62.63

26.05

10.85

       

English......

57.40

25.

13.0

     

3.0

Chinese.....

26.3

36.8

36.8

       

Chinese.....

43.8

40.6

15.6

       

Chinese.....

45.7

36.9

17.9

       

Chinese.....

40.4

25.4

31.6

     

2.6

 

48.5

24.3

24.3

2.9

   
 

54.5

21.8

21.8

1.9

   
 

58.3

19.4

19.4

2.9

   
 

57.8

27.1

14.3

0.8

   
 

57.

20.0

20.0

3.0

.

 

In some kinds of German silver are found varying quantities of iron, manganese, tin, and very frequently lead, added for the purpose of changing the properties of the alloy or cheapening the cost of production. But all these metals have a detrimental rather than a beneficial effect upon the general character of the alloy, and especially lessen its power

of resistance to the action of dilute acids, one of its most valuable properties. Lead makes it more fusible; tin acts somewhat as in bronze, making it denser and more resonant, and enabling it to take a higher polish. With iron or manganese the alloy is whiter, but it becomes at the same time more refractory and its tendency toward brittleness is increased.

Substitutes For German Silver

There are many formulas for alloys which claim to be substitutes for German silver; but no one of them has yet become an article of general commerce. It will be sufficient to note these materials briefly, giving the composition of the most important.