To soften ivory and render it flexible put pure phosphoric acid (specific gravity, 1.13) into a wide-mouthed bottle or jar that can be covered, and steep the ivory in this until it partially loses its opacity; then wash the ivory in cold, soft water and dry, when the ivory will be found soft and flexible.

It regains its hardness in course of time when freely exposed to air, although its flexibility can be restored by immersing the ivory in hot water.

Another softening fluid is prepared by mixing 1 ounce of spirit of niter with 5 ounces of water and steeping the ivory in the fluid for 4 or 5 days.

Hardened Ivory

To restore the hardness to ivory that has been softened by the above methods, wrap it in a sheet of white writing paper, cover it with dry decrepitated salt, and let it remain thus covered for 24 hours. The decrepitated salt is" prepared by strewing common kitchen salt on a plate or dish and standing same before a fierce fire, when the salt loses its crystalline appearance and assumes a dense opaque whiteness.


See also Casein and Plaster.