The first step in the process is the preparation of the mold. The substance originally used for the construction of this was plaster of Paris. This substance is, however, porous and must be rendered impermeable. The materials most commonly used of later years are stearine, wax, marine glue, gelatin, india rubber, and fusible alloys. With hollow molds it is a good plan to arrange an internal skeleton of platinum, for ultimate connection with the anodes, in order to secure a good electrical contact with all parts of the mold. When covering several pieces at once, it is as well to connect each of them with the negative pole by an iron or lead wire of suitable dimensions.

Having prepared the molds in the usual way—by obtaining an impression in the material when soft, and allowing it to set—they should be given a metallic coating on their active surfaces of pure powdered plumbago applied with a polishing brush.

For delicate and intricate objects, the wet process is most suitable. It consists in painting the object with two or more coats of nitrate of silver and ultimately reducing it by a solution of phosphorus in bisulphide of carbon.

The plating baths are prepared as follows:

A quantity of water is put in a jar and to it is added from 8 to 10 parts in 100 of sulphuric acid, in small quantities, stirring continually in order to dissipate the heat generated by the admixture of acid and water. Sulphate of copper (bluestone) is then dissolved in the acidulated water at the normal temperature until it will take up no more. The solution is always used cold and must be maintained in a saturated condition by the addition of copper sulphate crystals or suitable anodes.

For use it should be poured into vessels of clay, porcelain, glass, hard brown earthenware, or india rubber. For large baths wood may be used, lined on the interior with an impervious coating of acid-proof cement, india rubber, marine glue, or even varnished lead sheets.

If the solution be too weak and the current on the other hand be too strong, the resulting deposit will be of a black color. If too concentrated a solution and too weak a current be employed, a crystalline deposit is obtained. To insure a perfect result, a happy medium in all things is necessary.

During the process of deposition, the pieces should be moved about in the bath as much as possible in order to preserve the homogeneity of the liquid. If this be not attended to, stratification and circulation of the liquid is produced by the decomposition of the anode, and is rendered visible by the appearance of long, vertical lines on the cathode.

For amateurs and others performing small and occasional experiments, the following simple apparatus will be serviceable. Place the solution of sulphate of copper in an earthenware or porcelain jar, in the center of which is a porous pot containing amalgamated zinc and a solution of sulphuric acid and water, about 2 or 3 parts in 100. At the top of the zinc a brass rod is fixed, supporting a circle of the same metal, the diameter of which is between that of the containing vessel and the porous pot. From this metallic circle the pieces are suspended in such a manner that the parts to be covered are turned toward the porous pot. Two small horsehair bags filled with copper sulphate crystals are suspended in the solution to maintain its saturation.