See also Plating.

Processes by Oxidation

By heat:— Coloration of Steel.—The steel, heated uniformly, is covered in the air with a pellicle of oxide and has successively the following colors: Straw yellow, blue (480° to 570° F.), violet, purple, water-green, disappearance of the color; lastly the steel reddens. For producing the blue readily, plunge the object into a bath of 25 parts of lead and 1 part of tin; its temperature is sufficient for bluing small pieces.

Bronzing of Steel


The piece to be bronzed is wet by the use of a sponge with a solution formed of iron perchloride, cupric sulphate, and a nitric acid. It is dried in a stove at 86° F., then kept for 20 minutes over boiling water. It is dried again at 86° F., and rubbed with a scratch brush.

This operation is repeated several times.

Bronzing of Steel

II.—Rust and grease are removed from the objects with a paste of whiting and soda. They are immersed in a bath of dilute sulphuric acid, and rubbed with very fine pumice-stone powder. They are then exposed from 2 to 3 minutes to the vapor of a mixture of equal parts of concentrated chlorhydric and nitric acids.

The object is heated to 570° to 660° F. until the bronze color appears. When cooled, it is covered with paraffine or vaseline while rubbing, and heated a second time until the vaseline or paraffine commences to decompose. The operation is repeated. The shades obtained are beautiful, and the bronzing is not changeable. By subjecting the object to the vapors of the mixture of chlorhydric and nitric acids, shades of a light reddish brown are obtained. By adding to these two acids acetic acid, beautiful yellow bronze tints are procured. By varying the proportion of these three acids, all the colors from light reddish brown to deep brown, or from light yellow bronze to deep yellow bronze, are produced at will.


III.—Under the name of Tuker bronze, a colored metal is found in trade which imitates ornamental bronze perfectly. It is obtained by deoxidizing or, if preferred, by burnishing cast iron. A thin layer of linseed oil or of linseed-oil varnish is spread on. It is heated at a temperature sufficient for

producing in the open air the oxidation of the metal. The temperature is raised more or less, according as a simple yellow coloration or a deep brown is desired.

Lustrous Black

In a quantity of oil of turpentine, sulphuric acid is poured drop by drop, stirring continually until a precipitate is no longer formed. Then the whole is poured into water, shaken, decanted, and the washing of the precipitate commenced again until blue litmus paper immersed in the water is no longer reddened. The precipitate will thus be completely freed from acid. After having drained it on a cloth, it is ready for use. It is spread on the iron and burned at the fire.

If the precipitate spreads with difficulty over the metal, a little turpentine can be added. It is afterwards rubbed with a linen rag, soaked with linseed oil, until the surface assumes a beautiful lustrous black. This covering is not liable to be detached.

Bluish Black

Make a solution composed of nitric acid, 15 parts; cupric sulphate, 8 parts; alcohol, 20 parts; and water, 125 parts. Spread over the metal when well cleaned and grease removed. Dry and rub with linen rag.


Make a solution composed of cupric sulphate, 80 parts; alcohol, 40 parts; ferric chloride, 30 parts; nitric acid, 20 parts; ether, 20 parts; water, 400 to 500 parts, and pass over the object to be blackened.

Magnetic Oxide


A coating of magnetic oxide preserves from rust. To obtain it, heat the object in a furnace to a temperature sufficient to decompose steam. Then inject from 4 to 6 hours superheated steam at 1,100° F. The thickness of the layer of oxide formed varies with the duration of the operation. This process may replace zincking, enameling, or tinning.


A deposit of magnetic oxide may be obtained by electrolysis. The iron object is placed at the anode in a bath of distilled water heated to 176° F. The cathode is a plate of copper, or the vessel itself if it is of iron or copper. By electrolysis a layer of magnetic oxide is formed.

In the same way other peroxides may be deposited. With an alkaline solution of litnarge a brilliant black deposit of lead peroxide, very adherent, is obtained.

The employment of too strong a current must be avoided. It will produce a pulverulent deposit. To obtain a good coating, it is necessary after leaving the objects for a moment at the opposite pole, to place them at the other pole until the outside is completely reduced, then bring them back to the first place.