The chemistry behind the ‘Oscar’

A BIT of a mix up might have dinted the magical chemistry of the Oscars this year, but it didn’t damage the sheen on those golden statuettes! 


So, what exactly IS the chemistry behind the world’s most famous prize? Check out the graphic below to learn exactly WHAT goes into an Oscar statuette. 

Source: Compound Interest

So, who knew the statuette wasn’t made from REAL gold? And what is the history of Britannium? First produced in 1769 or 1770, Britannium metal was created by James Vickers after purchasing the formula from a dying friend. It was originally known as “Vickers White Metal” when made under contract by the Sheffield manufacturers Ebenezer Hancock and Richard Jessop. In 1776 James Vickers took over the manufacturing himself and remained as owner until his death in 1809, when the company passed to his son, John, and Son-in-Law, Elijah West. In 1836 the company was sold to John Vickers’s nephew Ebenezer Stacey (the son of Hannah Vickers and John Stacey).

After the development of electroplating with silver in 1846, Britannia metal was widely used as the base metal for silver-plated household goods and cutlery. The abbreviation EPBM on such items denotes “electroplated Britannia metal”. Britannia metal was generally used as a cheaper alternative to electroplated nickel silver (EPNS) which is more durable.

In his essay, A Nice Cup of Tea, writer George Orwell asserts that “britanniaware” teapots “produce inferior tea” (when compared to Chinaware).


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Posted on February 27, 2017, in Useful Information. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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