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Willowmound
03-22-2008, 01:26 PM
How would one go about shining silver before the advent of funny-smelling store-bought products?

Is vinegar involved? I have no idea. Cookies to all who can help.

:)

Puma
03-22-2008, 04:19 PM
Hi Willowmound - An old recipe calls for whiting (chalk) and ammonia mixed together to make a paste. Both items go back to antiquity. I suspect this was what was used most in medieval castles. Another old recipe for dipping (which can cause some corrosion) uses water, baking soda, and salt - again common ingredients known since ancient times. Hope that helps. Puma

Mumut
03-22-2008, 04:24 PM
And be careful holding it to polish it. Don't place it on a table and press down while rubbing it. Many silver goblets have bent or snapped stems this way.

And just soft-cloth rubbing can polish silver, according to the Antiques Roadshow.

Willowmound
03-22-2008, 04:34 PM
Thanks. A cookie to you both!

Tsu Dho Nimh
03-23-2008, 04:15 AM
fine wood-ashes will also do it

pdr
03-23-2008, 01:00 PM
butlers used their thumbs and a soft cloth.

Badly tarnished silver from egg and eggy foods got the warm water wash in a metal tray with a pinch of washing soda added. This metal container was placed on the slow, low-heat side of the kitchen range and brought to simmer for five mins. That usually got the tarnish off.

Willowmound
03-23-2008, 02:39 PM
fine wood-ashes will also do it

Lye, in other words. That's interesting.

HeronW
03-23-2008, 02:57 PM
For heavier stuff like swords and armor, sharkskin was used as an abrasive like sandpaper.

Willowmound
03-23-2008, 03:01 PM
A silver sword? Doesn't sound all that practical...

writin52
03-23-2008, 03:38 PM
How would one go about shining silver before the advent of funny-smelling store-bought products?

Is vinegar involved? I have no idea. Cookies to all who can help.

:)
Here's what I got from "Canadian Homestead Cookbook" 1 tsp ammonia to a teacup full of water, apply with a rag. Good for both gold and silver.

Prawn
03-23-2008, 05:24 PM
Isn't ammonia pee? It seems like you could just pee on the sliver. Don't tell the guests!

chevbrock
03-24-2008, 03:43 PM
Prawn, in my limited knowledge, pee is Urea, not ammonia. The kidneys (I think) convert ammonia to urea really quickly after it's produced because it's toxic.

Willowmound
03-24-2008, 04:43 PM
The ever unflappable, unfailable file of facts, Wikipedia, has this to say:


In the form of sal-ammoniac, ammonia was known to the alchemists as early as the 13th century, being mentioned by Albertus Magnus. It was also used by dyers in the Middle Ages in the form of fermented urine...

:)

Sarpedon
03-24-2008, 06:43 PM
Urine was also used by the romans to do laundry, with Camel Urine being especially prized.

People weren't so squeemish before Germ Theory.