This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Prepare a solution of 3 parts, by weight, of bismuth subnitrate in 10 parts of nitric acid of 1.4 specific gravity, to which add a solution of 10 parts of tartar and 40 parts of hydrochloric acid in 1,000 parts of water. In the mixture of these solutions immerse the tin articles freed from grease and oxide. The pulverous bismuth precipitated on the surface is rubbed off, whereupon the objects appear dark steel gray. For silvering prepare a mixture of 10 parts of silver chloride; 30 parts of cooking salt; 20 parts of tartar, and 100 parts of powdered chalk, which is rubbed in a slightly moist state on the bismuth surface of the tin articles, using a flannel rag. The silver separates only in a very thin layer, and must be protected against power and light before tarnishing by a coating of preservative or celluloid varnish.
According to Buchner, 10 parts, by weight, of silver nitrate is dissolved in water and precipitated by the addition of hydrochloric acid in the form of silver chloride, which is washed several times in clean water; now dissolve 70 parts, by weight, of spirit of sal ammoniac in water, and add to it 40 parts, by weight, of soda crystals, 40 parts, by weight, of pure potassium cyanide, and 15 parts, by weight, of common salt. Now thin down the compound with sufficient distilled water to make a total of 1,000 parts.
Lead plates are best tinned by plating. For this purpose a table with a perfectly even iron surface and provided with vertical raised edges to prevent the melted metal from flowing away, is employed. The lead is poured on this table, and covered with grease to prevent oxidation of the surface. As soon as the lead is congealed, melted tin is poured over it, care being taken that the tin is sufficiently heated to remelt the surface of the lead and combine thoroughly with it. When the plate is sufficiently cooled, it is turned over, and the lower surface treated in the same way. The plate, thus tinned on both sides, is then placed between rollers, and can be rolled into very thin sheets without injury to the tin coating. These sheets, doubly coated with tin by this process, are specially adapted for lining cases intended for the transport of biscuits, chocolate, candies, tea, snuff, etc. If lead plates are only to be tinned superficially, they are heated to a tolerably high temperature, and sprinkled with powdered rosin; melted tin is then rubbed on the surface of the plate with a ball of tow. It is advisable to give the lead a fairly thick coating of tin, as the latter is rendered thinner by the subsequent rolling.