Shiny white alloy of zinc, nickel and copper, and sometimes lead and iron. Neither German nor does it contain any silver.
German Silver, First Quality for Casting.—Copper, 50 lbs.; zinc, 25 lbs.; nickel, 25 lbs.
German Silver, Second Quality for Casting.—Copper, 50 lbs.; zinc, 20 lbs.; nickel (best pulverized), 10 lbs.
German Silver, for Rolling.—Copper, 60 lbs.; zinc, 20 lbs. ; nickel, 25 lbs. Used for spoons, forks, and table ware.
German Silver, for Bells and other Castings.—Copper, 60 lbs.; zinc, 20 lbs.; nickel, 20 lbs.; lead, 3 lbs.; iron (that of tin plate being best), 2 lbs.
In melting the alloy for German silver it is difficult to combine a definite proportion of zinc with the compound of nickel and copper previously prepared. In fusing the three metals together there is always a loss of zinc by volatilization, which may be lessened by placing it beneath the copper in the crucible. The best method is to mix the copper and nickel, both in grains first, place them, thus mixed, in the crucible, when melted add the zinc and a piece of borax the size of a walnut. The zinc will gradually dissolve in the fluid copper, and the heat may be raised as their fluidity increases. In this instance, as in all others of forming alloys, it is profitable to mix the oxides of the various metals together, and reduce them under the protection of a suitable flux. The metal nickel can be produced only from pure oxide of nickel; and, as purity of the alloy is essential to good quality, the common commercial zinc is not sufficiently pure for forming argentan. Copper cannot well be used in the form of oxide, but grain copper or wire-scraps will serve equally as well.
Workshop Receipts for the Use of Manufacturers, Mechanics, and Scientific Amateurs. First Series.
London: E. & F. N. Spon, 
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Last revised: 13 October 2013.