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MFA Acc. #: 1984.34


A base metal coated with silver. Silverplate originated in 1742 when Thomas Boulsover of Sheffield England fused thin layers of silver over a copper sheet. Sheffield plate was used until the late nineteenth century when it was superseded by electroplating. Silver was electroplated onto nickel silver or britannia metal. Electroplated silver is marked EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) or EPBM (electroplated britannia metal). Silverplate is used for candlesticks, flatware and hollowware service pieces.

Synonyms and Related Terms

silver plate; Sheffield plate; argenté (Fr.); Silberplattierung (Deut.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981