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Sheffield Plate

In Antiques the term " Sheffield Plate " is used to describe silverplated pieces made by the method of fusing silver to copper as invented by Thomas Boulsover (Bolsover) in 1742.
Thomas Boulsover a cutler from Sheffield, England, discovered that a combination of fused silver and alloyed copper retained all the ductility of both metals and behaved similar to glass in the making of " Millefiori ".
Sheffield Plate thereto is made, by covering a piece of copper alloyed with lead and zinc, with a piece of silver and heating it in an oven until the silver fuses to the copper.
After cooling, the combined metals may be rolled into larger, thinner sheets of silverplated copper.
Boulsover started making siverplated buttons, but Joseph Hancock , after his apprenticeship by Boulsover produced all sorts of pieces.
Matthew Boulton began, in 1762, to produce fused Sheffield Plate at Soho, Birmingham, England and became the best known master in this field.
Later this method was widely adapted and pieces where made in many places in England, Ireland and North America.
Electro plating in the 1840's overtook fused Sheffield Plate, as this method allowed for cheaper more elaborate pieces to be manufactured.


1773 injunction obtained by London silversmiths against the marking of plated ware.
1774 Sheffield makers regained the right to mark their wares with makers names and markings differing from those used for marking silver.
Genuine Sheffield Plate is been a collectors item since the late 19th century as the special glow of silver combined with the glow of copper through some worn places has a romantic color which even Sterling silver can't beat.
Sheffield Plate is recognized by the collector by it rolled over edges and solid silver soldering which shows up at worn spots as well as by the striations on spun parts.


Resoldering with silver and light resilvering of excessively worn and loose parts is generally excepted as normal by collectors.


Use only
Silver Plate Restorer
to bring up the looks of very worn plate !