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The electrochemical deposition of metal onto metal. In 1805, an Italian chemist Luigi Brugnatelli invented electroplating and successfully plated a thin layer of gold onto silver using Volta’s voltaic pile as a primary source of electricity. Electroplating was first used commercially about 1840–41 in Birmingham England by George and Henry Elkington for applying thin gold and silver coatings on copper, brass and other base metals. The use of electroplating was accelerated with the discovery of cyanide solutions for plating Silver, Gold, Copper, and Brass. Silverplated wares were stamped with EPNS (electroplated Nickel silver) or EPBM (electroplated Britannia metal). By 1920s, Chromium electroplating was popularly used by the automobile makers to provide a shiny, weather resistant surface to Iron, Steel, and later plastic. Starting in the 1930s, some jewelry settings were coated with a thin layer of Rhodium, that visually looked identical to silver.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Electroplating; EPNS; EPBM

Resources and Citations

  • R. Mayer, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Viking Press, New York, 1981
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Electroplating" by P.T.Craddock