How To Make Babbitt Metal

Excerpted from 1866 issue of The Scientific American

| September/October 1990

Some years ago I was staying with friends in Orlando, Florida. Finding it difficult to sleep, I was looking through some books in my bedroom. I came across a notebook which was filled with clippings from various daily papers and magazines. This short article titled "How to Make Babbitt Metal" was one article which caught my eye, especially when I saw the date was 1866, cut from The Scientific American, New York (a magazine, I believe). This is the recipe:

- One pound copper
- One pound of regulus of antimony - a silvery-white, brittle, metallic chemical element of crystalline structure, found only in combination; used in alloys with other metals to harden them and increase their resistance to chemical action.
- Ten pounds of tin.

Instructions: Melt the copper first, then the antimony, then the tin, strewing charcoal powder over the crucible to prevent it from burning away. Cast it in bars. It should not be kept hot on the fire any longer than absolutely essential. Wash the box to be tinned with alcohol, then sprinkle powdered sal ammoniac on it, hold it over the fire until the same fuses, then plunge it in metal tin. All parts not to be tinned must be washed with clay. Muriate of zinc, i.e., zinc cut with muriatic acid, may be employed instead of the ammoniac, where it can be obtained. When the box is tinned it will take the babbitt, but it must be pretty hot before babbitt is poured in.


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