Decorative Arts

In these days of making everything look what it is not, perhaps the best and cheapest substitute for silver as a white coating for table ware, culinary vessels, and the many articles requiring such a coating, is pure tin. It does not compare favourably with silver in point of hardness or wearing qualities, but it costs very much less than silver, is readily applied, and can be easily kept clean and bright. In tinning hollow ware on the inside the metal article is first thoroughly cleansed by pickling it in dilute muriatic or sulphuric acid and then scouring it with fine sand.

Galvanizing, as a protecting surface for large articles, such as enter into the construction of bridges, roofs, and shipwork, has not quite reached the point of appreciation that possibly the near future may award to it. Certain fallacies existed for a long time as to the relative merits of the dry or molten and the wet or electrolytical methods of galvanizing.

Japanning, as it is generally understood in Great Britain, is the art of covering paper, wood, or metal with a more or less thick coating of brilliant varnish, and hardening the same by baking it in an oven at a suitable heat. It originated in Japan—hence its name—where the natives use a natural varnish or lacquer which flows from a certain kind of tree, and which on its issuing from the plant is of a creamy tint, but becomes black on exposure to the air. It is mainly with the application of "japan" to metallic surfaces that we are concerned in these pages.

The japan ground properly so called consists of the varnish and pigment where the whole surface is to be of one simple colour, or of the varnish, with or without pigment, on which some painting or other form of decoration is afterwards to be applied. It is best to form this ground with the desired pigment incorporated with shellac varnish, except in the case of a white japan ground which requires special treatment, or when great brilliancy is a desideratum and other methods must be adopted.

In japanning metals, all good work of which should be stoved, they have to be first thoroughly cleaned, and then the japan ground applied with a badger or camel-hair brush or other means, very carefully and evenly. Metals usually require from three to five coats, and between each application must be dried in an oven heated from 250° to 300° F.—about 270° being the average.

Painting on Zinc or on Galvanized Iron.

Painting on zinc or galvanized iron is facilitated by employing a mordant of 1 quart of chloride of copper, 1 of nitrate of copper, and 1 of sal-ammoniac, dissolved in 64 parts of water. To thin mixture add 1 part of commercial hydrochloric acid. This is brushed over the zinc, and dries a dull-grey colour in from twelve to twenty-four hours, paint adhering perfectly to the surface thus formed.

The textile art is one of the most ancient known, dating back to the very inception of culture. In primitive times it occupied a wide field, embracing the stems of numerous branches of industry now expressed in other materials or relegated to distinct systems of construction. Accompanying the gradual narrowing of its sphere there was a steady development with the general increase of intelligence and skill so that with the cultured nations of to-day it takes an important, though unobtrusive, place in the hierarchy of the arts.

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