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Antique lighting - Silver plated lamps

An interesting article that was published in 1920, about the early history of electro silver plating and the issuing of licenses by the Elkingtons.

The varied and extensive use which is made of electro-plated articles in domestic life would alone merit some attention to the early history of the development of the process of silverplating. Prior to its introduction we had to rely almost entirely on similar utensils made either of silver or pewter, supplemented to some extent in the period immediately before the discovery of plating by Sheffield plate, and on spoons, forks, etc., of steel, closeplated with silver, or of the newly introducted "nickelsilver", a rediscovery of an ancient alloy said to have been known to the Chinese. Apart, however, from its utilitarian interest, the history of electroplate emphasizes a period of very active experimenting.

Nowhere was this inception more sedulously pursued than in Birmingham, where gilding by older methods had long been practiced. There the Elkingtons and others, aided by skillful metallurgical chemists like Ogle Barratt and Alexander Parkes, and by clever operators such as the Millwards and Thomas Fearn, were striving to exploit in the larger atmosphere of the workshop the fascinating results of experimenters. By employing methods set out in a series of patent specifications (1836 to 1838), the cousins George Richards and Henry Elkington had made such advance in gilding as to crush competitors adhering to older processes out of the field.

A closely related process is brush electroplating, in which localized areas or entire items are plated using a brush saturated with plating solution. The brush, typically a stainless steel body wrapped with a cloth material that both holds the plating solution and prevents direct contact with the item being plated, is connected to the positive side of a low voltage direct-current power source, and the item to be plated connected to the negative. The operator dips the brush in plating solution then applies it to the item, moving the brush continually to get an even distribution of the plating material. Brush electroplating has several advantages over tank plating, including portability, ability to plate items that for some reason cannot be tank plated (one application was the plating of portions of very large decorative support columns in a building restoration), low or no masking requirements, and comparatively low plating solution volume requirements. Disadvantages compared to tank plating can include greater operator involvement (tank plating can frequently be done with minimal attention), and inability to achieve as great a plate thickness.  We  undertake this process in our own workshops  and often plaste or replate lamps .

The French silver plated lamps  we sell are sometimes replated but often in the original ( it is very costly to brush plate )  they have a certain elegance and mostly date from the 1930s to 1950s





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