This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Brass parts of timepieces are frequently provided with a dead grained surface. For this purpose they are fastened with flat-headed pins on cork disks and brushed with a paste of water and finest powdered pumice stone. Next they are thoroughly washed and placed in a solution of 10 quarts of water, 30 grains of mercuric nitrate, and 60 grains of sulphuric acid. In this amalgamating solution the objects become at once covered with a layer of mercury, which forms an amalgam with the copper, while the zinc passes into solution. After the articles have again been washed they are treated with graining powder, which consists of silver powder, tartar, and cooking salt. These substances must be pure, dry, and very finely pulverized. The mixing is done with moderate heat. According to whether a coarser or finer grain is desired, more cooking salt or more tartar must be contained in the powder. The ordinary proportions are: Silver powder.. 28 28 28 parts
Tartar........ 283 110-140 85 parts
Cooking salt. .. 900 370 900 parts
This powder is moistened with water and applied to the object. Place the article with the cork support in a flat dish and rub on the paste with a stiff brush while turning the dish incessantly. Gradually fresh portions of graining powder are put on until the desired grain is obtained. These turn out the rounder the more the dish and brush are turned. When the right grain is attained, rinse off with water, and treat the object with a scratch brush, with employment of a decoction of saponaria. The brushes must be moved around in a circle in brushing with the pumice stone, as well as in rubbing on the graining powder and in using the scratch brush. The required silver powder is produced by precipitating a diluted solution of silver nitrate with some strips of sheet copper. The precipitated silver powder is washed out on a paper filter and dried at moderate heat.