This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
To prepare artificial horn from compounds of nitro-cellulose and casein, by hardening them and removing their odor of camphor, the compounds are steeped in formaldehyde from several hours to as many days, according to the thickness of the object treated. When the formaldehyde has penetrated through the mass and dissolved the camphor, the object is taken out of the liquid and dried. Both the camphor extracted and the formaldehyde used can be recovered by distillation, and used over again, thus cheapening the operation.
The following are recommended by the Board of Agriculture of Great Britain:
Clip the hair from the top of the horn when the calf is from 2 to 5 days old. Slightly moisten the end of a stick of caustic potash with water or saliva (or moisten the top of the horn bud) and rub the tip of each horn firmly with the potash for about a quarter of a minute, or until a slight impression has been made on the center of the horn. The horns should be treated in this way from 2 to 4 times at intervals of 5 minutes. If, during the interval of 5 minutes after one or more applications, a little blood appears in the center of the horn, it will then only be necessary to give another very slight rubbing with the potash.
The following directions should be carefully observed: The operation is best performed when the calf is under 5 days old, and should not be attempted after the ninth day. When not in use the caustic potash should be kept in a stoppered glass bottle in a dry place, as it rapidly deteriorates when exposed to the air. One man should hold the calf while an assistant uses the caustic. Roll a piece of tin foil or brown paper round the end of the stick of caustic potash, which is held by the fingers, so as not to injure the hand of the operator. Do not moisten the stick too much, or the caustic may spread to the skin around the horn and destroy the flesh. For the same reason keep the calf from getting wet for some days after the operation. Be careful to rub on the center of the horn and not around the side of it.
A brown stain is given to horns by covering them first with an aqueous solution of potassium ferrocyanide, drying them, and then treating with a hot dilute solution of copper sulphate. A black stain can be produced in the following manner:
After having finely sandpapered the horns, dissolve 50 to 60 grains of nitrate of silver in 1 ounce of distilled water. It will be colorless. Dip a small brush in, and paint the horns where they are to be black. When dry, put them where the sun can shine on them, and you will find
that they will turn jet black, and may then be polished.
Lay the horn for 10 days in a solution of water, 1 part; nitric acid, 3 parts; wood vinegar, 2 parts; tannin, 5 parts; tartar, 2 parts; and zinc vitriol, 2.5 parts.
HORN BLEACHES: See Bone and Ivory.