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vanizing of criminals after execution. of silver to a gallon of water. There In 1811, at Glasgow, a noted chemist are also thin plates of silver hanging tried the effect of a voltaic “pile” along the sides of the trough into the of two hundred and seventy pairs of liquid. The galvanic battery which is plates upon the body of a murderer. to set this apparatus in motion is in As the various parts of the nervous sys- a closet near by. The vessels to be tem were subjected to the current, the plated, after being thoroughly cleaned most startling results followed. The and exactly weighed, are suspended in whole body shuddered as with cold ; the liquid by a wire running along the one of the legs nearly kicked an at- top of the trough. When all is ready, tendant over ; the chest heaved, and the current of electricity generated by the lungs inhaled and exhaled. At one the small battery in the closet is made time, when all the power of the instru- to pass through the trough, and along ment was exerted, we are told that all the metallic surfaces therein con"every muscle of the countenance was tained. When this has been done, the simultaneously thrown into fearful ac- spectator may look with all his eyes, tion. Rage, horror, despair and an- but he cannot perceive that anything is guish, and ghastly smiles, united their going on. There is no bubbling, nor hideous expression on the murderer's fizzing, nor any other noise or motion. face, surpassing far the wildest repre- The long row of vessels hang silently sentations of a Fuseli or a Kean. At at their wire, immersed in their tea, this period several of the spectators and nobody appears to pay any attenwere obliged to leave the room from tion to them. And so they continue to terror or sickness, and one gentleman hang for hours, — for five or six or fainted." The bodies of horses, oxen, seven hours, if the design is to produce and sheep were galvanized, with results work which will answer some other the most surprising. Five men were purpose than selling. All this time a unable to hold the leg of a horse sub- most wonderful and mysterious process jected to the action of a powerful bat- is going on. That gentle current of tery.
electricity, noiseless and invisible as it So far as we know, nothing of much is, is taking the silver held in the soluimportance has yet been inferred from tion, and laying it upon the surfaces of such experiments as these. Davy and those vessels, within and without; and Faraday, however, and their pupils, did at the same time it is decomposing the not confine their attention to these plates of silver hanging along the sides barren wonders. Sir Humphry Davy of the trough in such a way as to keep took the "pile” as invented by Volta, up the strength of the solution. We in 1800, and founded by its assistance cannot recover from the wonder into what may be styled a new science, and which the contemplation of this prodeveloped it to the point where it be- cess threw us. There are some things came available for the arts and utilities which the outside and occasional obof man. The simple and easy process server can never be done marvelling at. by which silver and gold are decom- For our part, we never hear the click posed, and then deposited upon metal- of a telegraphic apparatus without exlic surfaces, is only one of many ways periencing the same spasm of astonin which the galvanic battery ministers ishment as when we were first introto our convenience and pleasure. If duced to that mystery. The beautiful the reader will step into a manufactory manner, too, in which this silvering of plated ware, he will see, in the plat- work is done! The most delicate brush ing-room, a trough containing a liquid in the most sympathetic hand could resembling tea as it comes from the tea- not lay on the colors of the palette so pot. Avoiding scientific terms, we may evenly, nor could a crucible melt the say that this liquid is a solution of sil- metals into a completer oneness. ver, and contains about four ounces And here is the opportunity for
VOL. XX. - NO. 122.
fraud. In five minutes an article is well for five or six years. In fact, there coated with silver in every part, inside are no better plated spoons yet in use and out; and that mere blush ” of than these were designed to be. The silver, as the platers term it, will re- plater meant to comply with the usaceive as brilliant a polish, and look as ges of the trade. He meant to put well (for a month) as if it were solid upon those spoons the quantity of silplate. Nay, it will look rather better; ver which, in the trade, stands for since the silver deposited by this ex- twelve ounces to the gross, which is quisite process is perfectly pure, while about ten ounces to the gross. Such the silver employed in solid ware is was probably his virtuous intention, of the coin standard, — one tenth alloy. and he supposed he had carried out The plater can deposit upon his work that intention. But when the spoons as little silver as he chooses, either by were put to the test, it was discov. weakening his solution, or by leaving ered that upon one hundred and fortythe articles in it for a very short time; four table-spoons there were but three and no man can detect the cheat with ounces and a half of silver. It came certainty except by an expensive and out on the trial that the plater never troublesome process. Nor will it suf- weighed his work, and trusted wholly fice for the operator to attend to the to the length of time he left it in the strength of his solutions, and keep his solution. He appeared to be honestly eye upon the clock. As in certain indignant at the testimony showing conditions of the atmosphere we can that his spoons, which had been left scarcely get a spark from the electric four hours subject to the action of the cal machine, so there are times when battery, had acquired only a film of the galvanic battery works feebly, and silver. To the eye of the purchaser, when the silvering goes on much more these spoons would have presented preslowly than usual. To guard against cisely the same appearance as the best errors from this cause, there is no sure plated ware in existence. For two or resource but a system of careful weigh- three months, or even for six months, ings. In such establishments as that they would have retained their brilof the Gorham Company of Provi- liancy. What their appearance would dence, Tiffany's or Haughout's of New have been at the end of a year or York, Bailey's of Philadelphia, and Big- two we need not say, for most readers elow Brothers and Kennard's, or Palmer have encountered the spectacle in their and Batchelder's, of Boston, each arti- pilgrimage through a world which is cle is weighed before it is immersed said to resemble plated articles of in the solution, its weight is recorded, this quality in being “all a fleeting and it is allowed to remain in the solu- show." tion until it has taken on the whole of Every one is familiar with the gold the precious metal it was designed to lining that is now so generally seen receive.
in silver vessels. This is laid on by There was a lawsuit the other day the same process as that which covers in New York, which turned upon the the outside with silver. The vessel is quantity of silver deposited upon sun- filled with a solution of gold, and in dry gross of forks and spoons. The this solution a thin plate of gold is plater agreed to put upon them twelve suspended. The electric current being ounces of silver to the gross, which is made to pass through the interior thus about as much as is ever deposited prepared, the liquid bubbles up like upon spoons or forks. If he had per soda-water, and in three or four minformed his contract, he would have utes enough gold is deposited upon spread over each table-spoon about as the inside surface for the purpose demuch silver as there is in a ten-cent signed. When this is accomplished, piece ; and such is the nature of silver nothing remains but to polish the ves. that these spoons would have worn sel, within and without, and we have a piece of ware which is silver when as upon the best Sheffield plated ware, we look at it, and golden when we drink which is about as much as can be from it.
smoothly put upon it by the electroThe obstacle to the introduction of plating process. When this salver was the superior plated ware now made by struck, it rang like a bell, and it would the Gorham Company is its costliness. not bend under the weight of a man. The best plated ware costs five times Such a salver, used continually, will reas much as the worst, and one fourth tain its lustre for a whole generation, as much as solid silver. We saw the and when, after that long period, it beother day three large salvers, which, gins to lose its silver coating, it can be at a distance of six feet, looked very re-silvered and made as good as ever. nearly alike. All of them bore a most But the price of this article was two brilliant polish, and all were elabo- hundred dollars, – more than five times rately decorated. One of them was a the cost of the leaden trash, and a trashy article, made of an alloy of lead fourth of the price of the solid salver. and tin, covered with a “ blush ” of Nevertheless, plated ware of this qualsilver. It had been stamped out and ity is the only kind which it is good shaped at one blow by a stamping-ma- economy to buy. There are few more chine, and left in the silver solution extravagant purchases we can make subject to the action of the battery for in housekeeping than lead and brass perhaps fifteen minutes. It was very ware, covered with a film of silver so heavy, and when it was suspended thin that one ounce of the precious and struck it gave forth a dull leaden metal can actually be spread over two sound. The price of this abomination acres of it. was thirty-seven dollars and a half, and One fact can easily be borne in it would last, with careful occasional mind : good serviceable plated articles usage, for a year. Daily use would cost, and must cost, from one fourth to disclose its real quality in a few weeks. one third as much as similar articles of Another of these salvers was of solid solid silver. Anything of a much lower silver, to which no objection could be standard than this is trash and vulmade except that its price was nine garity. hundred and fifty dollars. The third For our part, we preser good plated was of that superior plated ware intro- ware to solid plate. In plated ware we duced recently by the Gorham Com- can now have all the beauty of form, pany of Providence. The base of this all the brilliancy of surface, all the article was the metal now called nickel durability and utility of solid silver, silver,
-a mixture of copper, nickel, without its excessive costliness, withand zinc, - a very hard and ringing out appearing to be guilty of ostentacompound, perfectly white, and capable tion, without putting our neighbors to of a high polish. Upon this hard sur- shame, and without offering a perpetual face as much silver had been deposited temptation to burglars.
such a place. Since that time we have spise upon others and love upon ouroften had similar surprises, especially selves. in New England, where curious indus- But there is something at Provitries have established themselves in the dence less to be expected even than most out-of-the-way nooks. In a ham- seventy-two manufactories of jewelry : let of three or four houses and a church, it is the largest manufactory of solid we see such signs as “ Melodeon Man- silver-ware in the world! In a city so ufactory.” At a town in Northern Ver- elegant and refined as Providence, mont we find four hundred men busy, where wealth is so real and stable, the year round, in making those great we should naturally expect to find on Fairbanks Scales, which can weigh an the sideboards plenty of silver plate; apple or a train of cars. There is noth- but we were unprepared to discover ing in St. Johnsbury which marks it there three or four hundred skilful out as the town in the universe fittest men making silver-ware for the rest of to produce huge scales for mankind. mankind, and all in one establishment, The business exists there because, forty that of the Gorham Manufacturing years ago, there were three excellent Company. This is not only the larheads in the place upon the shoulders gest concern of the kind in existence, of three brothers, who put those heads but it is the most complete. Every together, and learned how to make and operation of the business, from the how to sell scales. All over New Eng- melting of the coin out of which the land, industries have rooted themselves ware is made, to the making of the which appear to have no congruity packing-boxes in which it is conveyed with the places in which they are found. to New York, takes place in this one We heard the other day of a village congregation of buildings. Nor do we in which are made every year three hesitate to say, after an attentive exbushels of gold rings. We ourselves amination of the products of European passed, some time ago, in a remark- taste, that the articles bearing the ably plain New England town, a manu- stamp of this American house are not factory of fine diamond jewelry. In equalled by those imported. There another town - Providence – there are is a fine simplicity and boldness of seventy-two manufactories of common outline about the forms produced here, jewelry. Now what is there in the together with an absence of useless character or in the situation of this and pointless ornament, which render city of Roger Williams, that should them at once more pleasing and more have invited thither so many makers of useful than any others we have seen. cheap trinkets? It is a solid town, that It was while going over this interestmakes little show for its great wealth, ing establishment, that the raspberryand contains less than the average num- jam incident recurred to us. This ber of people capable of wearing taw thing, however, is both rich and rare ; dry ornaments. Nevertheless, along and yet the wonder remains how it with machine-shops of Titanic power, got there. It got there because, forty and cotton-mills of vast extent, we find years ago, an honest man began there these seventy-two manufactories of jew- a business which has grown steadily to elry. The reason is, that, about the this day. It got there just as all the year 1795, one man, named Dodge, rooted businesses of New England prospered in Providence by making got where we find them now. In the such jewelry as the simple people of brief history of this one enterprise those simple old times would buy of we may read the history of the industhe passing pedler. His prosperity try of New England. Not the less, lured others into the business, until it however, ought the detailed history to has grown to its present proportions, be written ; for it would be a book full and supplies half the country with of every kind of interest and instructhe glittering trash which we all de- tion.
It was an honest man, we repeat, and rings, – the only articles made by who founded this establishment. We the Providence jewellers for many believe there is no house of business years. In due time Jabez Gorham of the first class in the world, of thirty set up for himself; and he added to the years' standing, the success of which list of articles the important item of is not clearly traceable to its serving watch-chains of a peculiar pattern, long the public with fidelity. An old clerk known in New England as the “ Gorof Mr. A. T. Stewart of New York ham chain.” The old gentleman gives informed us that, in the day of small an amusing account of the simple manthings, many years ago, when Mr. ner in which business was done in Stewart had only a retail dry-goods those days. When he had manufacstore of moderate extent, one of the tured a trunkful of jewelry, he would rules of the establishment was this: jog away with it to Boston, where, “ Don't recommend goods; but never after depositing the trunk in his room, fail to point out defects.” Now a man he would go round to all the jewellers struggling with the difficulties of a in the city to inform them of his arrival, new business, who lays down a rule and to say that his jewelry would be of that nature, must be either a very ready in his room for inspection on the honest or a very able man. He is following morning at ten o'clock, and likely to be both, for sterling ability is not before. Before the appointed hour necessarily honest. It is not surpris- every jeweller in the town would be at ing, therefore, that Mr. Stewart is now his door; but as it was a point of honthe monarch of the dry-goods trade in or to give them all an equal chance, the world ;, and we fully believe that no one was admitted till the clock the history of all lasting success would struck, when all pushed in in a body. disclose a similar root of honesty. In The jewelry was spread out on the all the businesses which have to do bed, around which all the jewellers of with the precious metals and precious Boston, in 1820, could gather without stones, honesty is the prime necessi- crowding. Each man began by placing ty; because in them, though it is the his hat in some convenient place, and easiest thing in the world to cheat, it was in his hat that he deposited the the cheat is always capable of being articles selected by him for purchase. detected and proved. A great silver- When the whole stock had been transhouse holds itself bound to take back ferred from the bed to the several hats, an article of plate made forty years
Mr. Gorham took a list of the contents ago, if it is discovered that the metal of each ; whereupon the jewellers is not equal in purity to the stand- packed their purchases, and carried ard of the silver coin of the country in them home. In the course of the day, which it was made. The entire and the bills were made out; and the next perfect natural honesty, therefore, of morning Mr. Gorham went his rounds Jabez Gorham, was the direct cause and collected the money. The busiof the prosperity of the house which ness being thus happily concluded, he he founded. He is now a serene and returned to Providence, to work uninhealthy man of eighty-two, long ago terruptedly for another six months. In retired from business. He walks about this manner, Jabez Gorham conducted the manufactory, mildly wondering at business for sixteen years, before he the extent to which its operations have ever thought of attempting silver-ware. extended. “It is grown past me,” he Such was his reputation for scrupulous says with a smile ; “I know nothing honesty, that, for many years before he about all this.”
left the business, none of his customIn the year 1805, this venerable old ers ever subjected his work to any test man was an apprentice to that Mr. whatever, not even to that of a pair of Dodge who began in Providence the scales. It is his boast, that, during the manufacture of ear-rings, breastpins, whole of his business career of more