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"The history and inventor of chrome plating?"



Current question:

Ed. note: Please!
No abstract questions.
Huh?

September 24, 2021

Trying to understand history of Hard Chrome Plating on hardened steel and whether Cyanide was typically used. There is a rumor that in 2004 cyanide was banned in the US for chrome plating and this caused major flaking/adhesion issues.

Can't find solid information that Chrome plating ever uses cyanide solutions at all. Seems to just be the copper underlayer that is sometimes used?

Has the team here ever heard of any difference in the chroming processes allowed in China vs. the US? I heard rumor from a long-time user of hydraulic equipment that around 2004 there was some chemical banned that made US chroming processes have worse chrome to steel adhesion.

Any info or links would be helpful, thanks!

Thanks!

Alex Krause
Engineering manager - Austin [Texas]
^


September 2021

A. Hi
Cyanide was never used in hard chrome plating, or in the chrome plating step of copper-nickel-chrome decorative plating. Chromic acid is a very powerful oxidizing agent, and cyanide is a powerful reducing agent.

Please tell us the situation you are in and why you are trying to resolve this answer. Are you suffering adhesion problems? People and their situations are interesting; abstract questions tend to be dry & dull, so they rarely elicit enthusiastic reader response. :-)

Struggling to read between the lines, small amounts of cyanide, especially potassium ferrocyanide, were used in some proprietary chromate conversion coatings on aluminum and zinc & cadmium plating. I don't think 2004 was a magic year, nor that there was an EPA rule; but European pressures and just general social pressures to limit this toxin well might have led to reduction/elimination of cyanide in some or all of these proprietary chromate conversion coating formulas around that time ... which has something to do with chrome & cyanide and trends & rumors, but probably nothing to do with hard chrome plating. Good luck.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^




Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

Ed. note: Please!
No abstract questions.
Huh?

2007

Q. Can you send to me the history and founder of chrome plating..

Hannah F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Philippines
^


2007

"Electrodeposition of Chromium from Chromic Acid Solutions"
by George Dubpernell"
from Abe Books
or

Affiliate Link
(finishing.com earns a commission on whatever you buy after clicking)

A. Hi, Hannah. Commercial chrome plating was developed by Fink & Eldridge at Columbia University in 1924, and was based on a 1920 paper by Dr. George J. Sargent. In very simple terms, Sargent discovered that in order to electroplate chromium you need almost exactly 1 part of sulfuric acid to 100 parts of chromic acid. More sulfuric acid or less and it just won't plate. Because of this discovery, the most conventional chromium plating process is still called "the Sargent bath".

If you can find a copy, the June 1984 issue of Plating & Surface Finishing magazine contains an article by George Dubpernell (also a very important name in the development of chrome plating) entitled "A History of Chromium Plating". Good luck with your assignment.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^

----
Ed. note-- Update Feb. 2014: That article, "A History of Chromium Plating" is currently available on-line at www.pfonline.com/articles/history-of-chromium-plating



2007

A. You can find good article in Modern Electroplating (2nd or 3rd edition). Founder of chromium plating is german Bunsen (1854). First commercial processes are those by Fink Eldridge and Liebreich (1923/24). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia
^


2007

A. The chapter by George Dubpernell in Modern Electroplating (1942 'Special Volume') also mentions Junot de Bussy, who received French patent 3,564 in 1848. However, neither he nor Bunsen was commercially successful [apparently using trivalent chromium]. Chromium plating isn't even mentioned by J. H. Van Horne's 1897 book, Modern Plating. In Dubpernell's words, "In the chromic acid solutions, order was finally brought out of chaos and the essential requirements were first clearly set forth by Colin G. Fink."

'PROCESS OF ELECTRODEPOSITING CHROMIUM AND OF PREPARING BATHS THEREFOR,' Colin G. Fink, US Patent 1,581,188 (granted in 1926). Freely available on-line.

A history of chromium plating by Anders Sundman is of course available on-line: www.finishing.com/library/anders/anderschrome.html
Of worth noting [my paraphrased translation] is an earlier near-miss:

"Another German, A. Geuther, seems to have successfully plated chromium onto a platinum thread in 1855 using chromic acid prepared using sulfuric acid, although the importance of the sulfuric acid probably present in the solution wasn't recognized."

Ken Vlach [dec]
- Goleta, California

contributor of the year

Finishing.com honored Ken for his countless carefully
researched responses. He passed away May 14, 2015.
Rest in peace, Ken. Thank you for your hard work
which the finishing world continues to benefit from.

^


April 4, 2015

A. Hannah,

I suggest that you also look at the article, RECENT ADVANCES IN THE COMMERCIAL ELECTRODEPOSITION OF CHROMIUM (by Charles H. Proctor; accessed at
www.nmfrc.org/subs/history/may1927.cfm^ http://sterc.org/subs/history/may1927.cfm#two
where your question was discussed in detail.

BTW, B. E. Curry was my grandfather.

Janet

Janet Hammond
- Mimbres New Mexico USA
^

----
Ed. note Jan 2018: That article has been moved to the new URL indicated.



April 2015

thumbs up signThanks Janet! I found that paper absolutely fascinating!!

Apparently Fink was allowed to patent the process, but Charles Proctor & many others did not agree whatsoever with the issuance of the patents, claiming that chromium had been successfully plated countless times from numerous solutions in the decades before Fink; and that it was firmly established as prior art. Thanks again for this great glimpse into the past -- it has made me re-examine, with great skepticism, what I had previously accepted without qualification as firmly established fact.

I worked for several years for M&T Chemical Co. (now Atotech), which was apparently the beneficiary of this patent grant, and for whom Dubpernell also worked ... I had always accepted Dubpernell's narrative on the history of chrome plating, but I think I no longer do!   :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


April 4, 2015

I looked at the article suggested by Ted Mooney. When I compared it to the dates in Robert Coe, Puritan (found at https://archive.org/stream/robertcoepuritan00bart/robertcoepuritan00bart_djvu.txt)

"vi. Anne Harriet, b. June 4, 1879, graduated at Smith College in 1902; m. at Durham, N. H., Sept. 5, 1910, Berton Edwin Curry, b. in Bloomington, Ind., Aug. 24, 1879, son of Charles William and Sarah Ann (McConnell) Curry.

Mr. Curry graduated at Indiana University in 1904 and afterwards pursued post-graduate studies at Cornell University. He is now (1910) chemist of New Hampshire College Agricultural Experiment Station at Durham, N. H."

You will note that Sargent likely earned his MA under B E Curry, then attended Curry's alma mater, Cornell, continuing Curry's research.

I think there were some hard feelings about patents and royalties. B. E. Curry returned to Bloomington with my mother and her 4 brothers where he became a successful business presence.

Janet

Janet Hammond [returning]
- Mimbres New Mexico USA
^


April 11, 2015

A. Hello,

They started to use chrome plated parts on cars and motorcycles was in the beginning of 1927. But some small parts were plating with chrome a little earlier.

Regards,

Anders Sundman
Anders Sundman
4th Generation Surface Engineering
Consultant - Arvika, Sweden

^


January 18, 2018

Some first class infos on history of chromium plating:

http://sterc.org/subs/history/hist.cfm

Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, croatia
^


sidebar

Is plating on 1905 stove chrome or nickel?

November 9, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I bought a stove built in 1905, I want to know if it is plated with nickel or Chrome.

Larry Humeny
bought 1905 stove - Mcleese lake, bc. Canada
^


November 2014

A. Hi Larry. We appended your inquiry to a previous thread which indicates that commercial chrome plating did not exist until about 1924. Further, nickel is plated on woodburning stoves and to my knowledge chromium is not.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



sidebar

Bumper metal

September 6, 2016

Q. What is bumper of '47 Dodge pickup made of ?

Deidre Lisenby
- Arlington, Georgia USA
^


Hemmings Motor News

Affiliate Link
(finishing.com earns a commission on whatever you buy after clicking)

September 2016

A. Hi Deidre. This site is more about metal finishing than automotive history, so you might be better off contacting someone like Hemmings ... but I suspect the bumpers were copper-nickel-chrome plated spring steel. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^

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