Mirror silvering is sometimes a misnomer, inasmuch as the coating applied to glass in the manufacture of mirrors does not always contain silver. In formula I it is an amalgam of mercury and tin.


A sheet of pure tin foil, slightly larger than the glass plate to be silvered, is spread evenly on a perfectly plane stone table having a raised edge, and is well cleaned from all dust and impurity. The foil must be free from the slightest flaw or crack. The tin is next covered uniformly to a depth of 1/8 of an inch with mercury, preference being given by some to that containing a small proportion of tin from a previous operation. The glass plate, freed from all dust or grease, and repolished if necessary, is then carefully slid over the mercury. This part of the work requires skill and experience to exclude all air bubbles, and even the best workmen are not successful every time. If there is a single bubble or scratch the operation must be repeated and the tin foil is lost; not a small expense for large sizes. When this step has been satisfactorily accomplished the remainder is easy. The glass plate is loaded with heavy weights to press out the excess of mercury which is collected and is used again. After 24 hours the mirror is lifted from the table and placed on edge against a wall, where it is left to drain well.


Solution No. 1 is composed as follows: To 8 ounces of distilled water, brought to a boil, add 12 grains of silver nitrate and 12 grains of Rochelle salts. Let it come to a boil for 6 to 7 minutes; then cool and filter.

Solution No. 2 is made as follows: Take 8 ounces of distilled water, and into a small quantity poured into a tumbler put 19 grains of silver nitrate. Stir well until dissolved. Then add several drops of 26° ammonia until the solution becomes clear. Add 16 grains more of nitrate of silver, stirring well until dissolved. Add balance of distilled water and filter. The filtering must be done through a glass funnel, in which the filter paper is placed. The solution must be stirred with a glass rod. Keep the solutions in separate bottles marked No. 1 and No. 2.

Directions for Silvering: Clean the glass with ammonia and wipe with a wet chamois. Then take half and half of the two solutions in a graduating glass, stirring well with a glass rod. Pour the contents on the middle of the glass to be silvered. It will spread over the surface of itself if the glass is laid flat. Leave it until the solution precipitates.