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The process of Plating has been around for many years. While electroplating companies ascended out technological advances made during the English Industrial Revolution, the actual act of plating emerged prior to that time. These early ventures and inventions provided the means through which today’s companies are able to provide clients with the ability to improve the quality and capability of their components. Today, DeKalb Metal Finishing is proud of the role it continues to play in advancing the industry.

Early Plating

Early methods of plating did not utilize an electric bath. While gold and silver plating was common enough, the mainstream methods involved gilding specific items by hand. In some cases, the plate was hammered on; other times, the base metal was dipped into the precious metal. Sometimes, brushes were used to touch up parts the plating that had not managed to coat. Electroplating, however, did not appear until the 1800s. At that point, several individuals began to piece together the basics of what electrodeposition entailed. Early researchers included:

Alessandro Volta (1745-1827): introduced other researchers to the process that would become electroplating, including the electric battery
William Cruickshank (-1810): employed electroplating in 1802
Luigi V. Brugnatelli (1761-1818): performed the first electrodeposition in 1800

The formation of the first of what were to become many electroplating companies, was the result of the work of two cousins: Henry and George Richards Elkington. Elkington & Co patented their process and applied it for such commercial uses as gold plated flatware (popular for the middle classes and for luxury ships including the infamous RMS Titanic). The types of plating baths the Elkingtons used over the years increased in size to accommodate larger and greater numbers of products.

The 20th Century

After the technological advances of the two World Wars, the face of electroplating had changed. Thanks to refinements of the process, paired with chemical and technological developments to introduce changes, electroplating companies could now perform:

– Hard chromium plating
– Bronze alloy plating
– Sulfamate nickel plating
– Nickel alloy plating

The equipment newly available also offered options to improve the quality of work produced. Mass plating was now possible. Automation was feasible, introducing new possibilities to an old industry.

Electroplating Companies Today

At DeKalb Metal Finishing, we continue to build on the great work of the past. We recognize the benefits of past electroplating companies but realize the need for improvement of certain aspects. Every day, we work hard to make our processes, systems and techniques do as minimal damage as possible to the environment that we share.

Moreover, at DeKalb Metal Finishing, we strive to make our processes highly functional and of the best quality possible. As a lead electroplating company, we must look to the future. We must come up with better processes, techniques and methods to ensure we fulfill the promises inherent in our contracts with our employees, our clients and all who depend upon our experience and skills to deliver improved products.


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