This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Nitrate of silver, 30 parts, by weight; caustic potash, 30 parts; distilled water, 100 parts. Put the nitrate of silver into the water; one-quarter hour afterwards add the potash, and, when the solution is done, filter. It is sufficient to dip the objects to be silvered into this bath, moving them about in it for 1 or 2 minutes at most; then rinsing and drying in sawdust. It is necessary to pickle the pieces before | using the bath. To make the nitrate of silver one's self, take 30 parts of pure silver and 60 parts of nitric acid, and when the metal is dissolved add the caustic potash and the water.
Kayser's silvering liquid, which is excellent for all kinds of metals, is prepared from lunar caustic, 11 parts; sodium hyposulphite, 20 parts; sal ammoniac, 12 parts; whiting, 20 parts; and distilled water, 200 parts. The articles must be cleaned well.
This compound consists of tin, 3 parts, by weight; bismuth, 3 parts; and mercury, 1.5 parts. The alloy of these metals is powdered finely, thus forming a silvery mass used for imitation silvering of metals, paper, wood, etc. In order to impart to metals, especially articles of copper and brass, an appearance similar to silver, they are made perfectly bright. The powder of the mosaic silver is mixed with six times the volume of bone ashes, adding enough water to cause a paste and rubbing this on the metallic surface by means of a cork of suitable shape. In order to silver paper by means of this preparation it is ground with white of egg, diluted mucilage, or varnish, and treated like a paint.
Carbonate of lime, 65 parts; sea salt, 60 parts; cream of tartar, 35 parts; nitrate of silver, 20 parts. Bray all in a mortar, not adding the carbonate of lime until the other substances are reduced to a fine powder. Next, add a little water to form a homogeneous paste, which is preserved in blue bottles away from the light. For use, put a little of this paste on a small pad and rub the article with it. II.—Articles of zinc, brass, or copper may also be silver-plated by applying to them a pasty mass of the following composition: First dissolve 10 parts, by weight, of nitrate of silver in 50 parts, by weight, of distilled water; also 25 parts, by weight, of potassium cyanide in sufficient distilled water to dissolve it. Pour the two together, stir well, and filter. Now 100 parts, by weight, of whiting or levigated chalk and 400 parts, by weight, of potassium bitartrate, finely powdered, are moistened with the above solution sufficiently to form a soft paste, which may be applied to the objects, previously well cleansed, with a brush. After this coating has dried well, rinse it off, and dry the object in clean sawdust.
Take 100 parts, by weight, of distilled water and divide it ! into two equal portions. In the one dissolve 10 parts of silver nitrate and in the other 25 parts of potarsium cyanide. The two solutions are reunited in a single vessel as soon as completed. Next prepare a mixture of 100 parts of Spanish white, passed through a fine sieve, 10 parts of cream of tartar, pulverized, and 1 part of mercury. This powder is stirred in a portion of the above liquid so as to form a rather thick paste. The composition is applied by means of the finger, covered with a rag, on the object to be silvered. The application must be as even as possible. Let the object dry and wash in pure water. The excess of powder is removed with a brush.
The following is a process used when the jeweler has to repair certain pieces from which silvering has come off in places, and which he would like to repair without having recourse to the battery, and specially without having to take out the stones or pearls: Take nitrate of silver, 25 parts, by weight; cyanide of potassium, 50 parts; cream of tartar, 20 parts; Paris white, 200 parts; distilled water, 200 parts; mercury, 2 parts. Dissolve the nitrate of silver in half of the distilled water and the cyanide in the other half; mix the two liquids; next bray well in a mortar the mercury, Paris white, and cream of tartar. Preserve the products of these two operations separately, and when you wish to use them make a rather soft paste of the two, which apply with a little cotton or a brush on the portion to be silvered. Let dry and subsequently rub with a soft brush.