How was brass cleaned in the “old days”?

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John Spartan

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See brass fittings on guns and I understand the reason why. Just polished up some on mine but it got me to wondering. Do most here keep there brass fittings all shiny?

How was brass cleaned in the 1800’s?
Was that a thing only for fancy city shooters and not woodsmen? Any downside to not cleaning brass at all?
 

John Spartan

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Did it? My apologies. Guess I didn’t search well.
Admin feel free to delete.
 

Erwan

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For people and more for the army, to remove the blackening, vinegar mixed with coarse salt was used by rubbing with a cloth and a horsehair brush and rinsing with water...
A mixture of finely ground chalk powder and vegetable oil, sometimes water, was widely used (called here Blanc de Meudon) to polish and give the shine like on new parts...
In the same way white barrels and steel pieces were rubbed with finely ground brick and oil, it was called "briquering" (briquer) and the term remained and is still used...
 

leadhoarder

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I do not read all the posts but I do not remember seeing a thread on this subject before.

Personally I like the patina but that was probably not a worthy excuse for an infantryman to escape the wrath of his commander.
 
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For people and more for the army, to remove the blackening, vinegar mixed with coarse salt was used by rubbing with a cloth and a horsehair brush and rinsing with water...
A mixture of finely ground chalk powder and vegetable oil, sometimes water, was widely used (called here Blanc de Meudon) to polish and give the shine like on new parts...
In the same way white barrels and steel pieces were rubbed with finely ground brick and oil, it was called "briquering" (briquer) and the term remained and is still used...
And if I remember correctly if one plans to use the period technique today to find an actual period brick to make the ground brick/powder out of, modern bricks are harder then their 18th/19th century versions and could damage the metal.
 
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As too the modern bricks agreed, Another option would be too look around abandoned older houses that were brick cased. a subsutitue would be a block of jewlers rouge ground into a powder perhaps, While in the Marine Corps we would use the rouge powder mixed with brasso worked really well especially on new brass.
 

Erwan

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modern bricks are harder then their 18th/19th century versions and could damage the metal.
That's sure, you're right : the modern bricks are too hard. Not the right brick clay and not the right temperatures, industrial stuff.......
Anyway I wouldn't proceed like that now in 2021... ;)
 
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As too the modern bricks agreed, Another option would be too look around abandoned older houses that were brick cased. a subsutitue would be a block of jewlers rouge ground into a powder perhaps, While in the Marine Corps we would use the rouge powder mixed with brasso worked really well especially on new brass.
New brass Items are generally coated with clear lacquer, once that’s removed it’s easier to maintain the shine. A mild acid is the key element.
 

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