GERMAN SILVER, a white alloy used in many ways as a substitute for silver, consist ing of nickel, copper and zinc in various pro portions. The best quality consists of four parts copper, two parts nickel and two parts zinc, but this quality is the most difficult to work. For some purposes the proportion of copper is slightly increased, and for articles which are to be cast instead of stamped or hammered about 2 per cent of lead is added. To make a good malleable alloy, the three metals of which it is composed should all be of the best quality. It is harder and tougher than brass and takes a fine polish. In color it is sufficiently near silver to make it valuable for plating with that metal. This, together with its hardness in resisting wear, has caused a great demand for German silver for certain wares made in Birmingham and Sheffield.
Spoons and forks of this alloy are made in immense numbers. Such articles as salvers, dish-covers, jugs, teapots and the like are also largely made of it, but these objects, or at least some of them, are still more largely made of a greatly inferior alloy, because much softer. German silver has a coppery odor and is readily attacked by acid liquids, such as vinegar, which coat it with verdigris. Spoons and forks made
of this alloy should therefore either be plated with silver or carefully kept clean. Of late years, through care in preparing a suitable alloy, large objects, such as the bodies of jugs and coffee-pots can be formed of sheet German sil ver by ((spinning') it on the lathe, instead of by stamping or by the slow process of hammering. Formerly it was only a soft alloy that could be so treated. For some time past there has been a tendency to substitute for electroplate that is, German silver plated with real silver— white alloys having nickel for their basis. These, however, are but varieties of German sil ver known under different names, such as silveroid, argentoid, navoline and nickeline. Some of them contain small quantities of tin, cadmium and other metals. Mountings for ship-cabins, bar-fixtures, forks and spoons, and other similar articles have been manu factured on a considerable scale from these new, alloys. See ELECTROPLATE ; METALS.