Nickel silver, maillechort, German silver,  argentan,  new silver,  nickel brass,  albata,  or alpacca  is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.  Nickel silver does not contain the element silver. It is named for its silvery appearance, which can make it attractive as a cheaper and more durable substitute. It is also well suited for being plated with silver.
A naturally occurring ore composition in China was smelted into the alloy known as paktong or báitóng (白銅) ("white copper" or cupronickel). The name "German Silver" refers to the artificial recreation of the natural ore composition by German metallurgists.    All modern, commercially important, nickel silvers (such as those standardized under ASTM B122) contain significant amounts of zinc and are sometimes considered a subset of brass. 
Nickel silver was first used in China, where it was smelted from readily available unprocessed ore.   During the Qing dynasty, it was "smuggled into various parts of the East Indies", despite a government ban on the export of nickel silver.  It became known in the West from imported wares called baitong (Mandarin) or paktong (Cantonese) (白 銅, literally "white copper"), for which the silvery metal colour was used to imitate sterling silver. According to Berthold Laufer, it was identical to khar sini, one of the seven metals recognized by Jābir ibn Hayyān. 
In Europe, consequently, it was at first called paktong, which is about the way baitong is pronounced in the Cantonese dialect.  The earliest European mention of paktong occurs in the year 1597. From then until the end of the eighteenth century there are references to it as having been exported from Canton to Europe. 
German artificial recreation of the natural paktong ore composition, however, began to appear from about 1750 onward.  In 1770, the Suhl metalworks were able to produce a similar alloy.  In 1823, a German competition was held to perfect the production process: the goal was to develop an alloy that possessed the closest visual similarity to silver. The brothers Henniger in Berlin and Ernst August Geitner in Schneeberg independently achieved this goal. The manufacturer Berndorf named the trademark brand Alpacca, which became widely known in northern Europe for nickel silver. In 1830, the German process of manufacture was introduced into England, while exports of paktong from China gradually stopped. In 1832, a form of German silver was also developed in Birmingham, England. 
After the modern process for the production of electroplated nickel silver was patented in 1840 by George Richards Elkington and his cousin Henry Elkington in Birmingham, the development of electroplating caused nickel silver to become widely used. It formed an ideal, strong and bright substrate for the plating process. It was also used unplated in applications such as cutlery.[ citation needed ]
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Nickel silver first became popular as a base metal for silver-plated cutlery and other silverware, notably the electroplated wares called EPNS (electroplated nickel silver). It is used in zippers, costume jewelry, for making musical instruments (e.g., flutes, clarinets), and is preferred for the track in electric model railway layouts, as its oxide is conductive[ citation needed ]. Better quality keys and lock cylinder pins are made of nickel silver for durability under heavy use. The alloy has been widely used in the production of coins (e.g. Portuguese escudo and the former GDR marks). Its industrial and technical uses include marine fittings and plumbing fixtures for its corrosion resistance, and heating coils for its high electrical resistance.
In the nineteenth century, particularly after 1868, North American Plains Indian metalsmiths were able to easily acquire sheets of German silver. They used them to cut, stamp, and cold hammer a wide range of accessories and also horse gear. Presently, Plains metalsmiths use German silver for pendants, pectorals, bracelets, armbands, hair plates, conchas (oval decorative plates for belts), earrings, belt buckles, necktie slides, stickpins, dush-tuhs , and tiaras.  Nickel silver is the metal of choice among contemporary Kiowa and Pawnee in Oklahoma. Many of the metal fittings on modern higher-end equine harness and tack are of nickel silver.
Early in the twentieth century, German silver was used by automobile manufacturers before the advent of steel sheet metal. For example, the famous Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost of 1907. After about 1920, it became widely used for pocketknife bolsters, due to its machinability and corrosion resistance. Prior to this, the most common metal was iron.
Musical instruments, including the flute, saxophone, trumpet, and French horn, can be made of nickel silver. Many professional-level French horns are entirely made of nickel silver.  Some saxophone manufacturers, such as Keilwerth,   offer saxophones made of nickel silver (Shadow model); these are far rarer than traditional lacquered brass saxophones. Student-level flutes and piccolos are also made of silver-plated nickel silver,  although upper-level models are likely to use sterling silver.  Nickel silver produces a bright and powerful sound quality; an additional benefit is that the metal is harder and more corrosion resistant than brass.  Because of its hardness, it is used for most clarinet, flute, oboe and similar wind instrument keys, normally silver-plated. It is used to produce the tubes (called staples) onto which oboe reeds are tied.
Many parts of brass instruments are made of nickel silver, such as tubes, braces or valve mechanism. Trombone slides of many manufacturers offer a lightweight nickel silver (LT slide) option for faster slide action and weight balance.  The material was used in the construction of the National tricone resophonic guitar. The frets of guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, and related string instruments are typically nickel silver. Nickel silver is sometimes used as ornamentation on the great highland bagpipe.
Nickel silver is also used in artworks. The Dutch sculptor Willem Lenssinck has made several pieces from German silver. Outdoors art made from this material easily withstands all kinds of weather.
Counterfeiters have used nickel silver to produce coins and medallions purporting to be silver rounds, generally in an attempt to trick unsuspecting buyers into paying prices based on the spot price of silver. The metal has also been used to produce counterfeit Morgan dollars.[ citation needed ]
Nickel silver fraud has included the production of replica bullion bars, marked "nickel silver" or "German silver", in weights of one troy ounce (31 g). They are sold without notification that they contain no elemental silver.[ citation needed ]
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According to the Merck Manual , prolonged contact of copper alloys with acidic food or beverages (including boiling milk) can leach out the copper and cause toxicity.  Long-term, low doses can lead to cirrhosis. It is also the case that many people have allergic reactions to nickel, causing a weeping rash that will not heal as long as the metal is in contact with the skin.[ citation needed ]
Brass is an alloy of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn), in proportions which can be varied to achieve different colours and mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties, but copper typically has the larger proportion. In use since prehistoric times, it is a substitutional alloy: atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such as arsenic or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as strength, ductility, or machinability.
A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically ductile and malleable. These properties are the result of the metallic bond between the atoms or molecules of the metal.
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are known as alloys. Metallurgy encompasses both the science and the technology of metals; that is, the way in which science is applied to the production of metals, and the engineering of metal components used in products for both consumers and manufacturers. Metallurgy is distinct from the craft of metalworking. Metalworking relies on metallurgy in a similar manner to how medicine relies on medical science for technical advancement. A specialist practitioner of metallurgy is known as a metallurgist.
Electroplating, also known as electrochemical deposition or electrodeposition, is a process for producing a metal coating on a solid substrate through the reduction of cations of that metal by means of a direct electric current. The part to be coated acts as the cathode of an electrolytic cell; the electrolyte is a solution of a salt of the metal to be coated; and the anode is usually either a block of that metal, or of some inert conductive material. The current is provided by an external power supply.
Cupronickel or copper-nickel (CuNi) is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese. The copper content typically varies from 60 to 90 percent.
Cymbals are made from four main alloys, all of them copper-based. These are: bell bronze, malleable bronze, brass, and nickel silver.
Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metals to create useful objects, parts, assemblies, and large scale structures. As a term it covers a wide and diverse range of processes, skills, and tools for producing objects on every scale: from huge ships, buildings, and bridges down to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry.
Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, with the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.
Group 12, by modern IUPAC numbering, is a group of chemical elements in the periodic table. It includes zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and copernicium (Cn). Formerly this group was named IIB by CAS and old IUPAC system.
Phosphor bronze is a member of the family of copper alloys. It is composed of copper that is alloyed with 0.5–11% of tin and 0.01–0.35% phosphorus, and may contain other elements to confer specific properties. Alloyed tin increases the corrosion resistance and strength of copper, while phosphorus increases its wear resistance and stiffness.
Tombac, or tombak, is a brass alloy with high copper content and 5–20% zinc content. Tin, lead or arsenic may be added for colouration. It is a cheap malleable alloy mainly used for medals, ornament, decoration and some munitions. In older use, the term may apply to brass alloy with a zinc content as high as 28–35%.
Plating is a surface covering in which a metal is deposited on a conductive surface. Plating has been done for hundreds of years; it is also critical for modern technology. Plating is used to decorate objects, for corrosion inhibition, to improve solderability, to harden, to improve wearability, to reduce friction, to improve paint adhesion, to alter conductivity, to improve IR reflectivity, for radiation shielding, and for other purposes. Jewelry typically uses plating to give a silver or gold finish.
The Canadian five-cent coin, commonly called a nickel, is a coin worth five cents or one-twentieth of a Canadian dollar. It was patterned on the corresponding coin in the neighbouring United States. It became the smallest-valued coin in the currency upon the discontinuation of the penny in 2013. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 0.5% of the country's lowest minimum hourly wage.
Electrogalvanizing is a process in which a layer of zinc is bonded to steel in order to protect against corrosion. The process involves electroplating, running a current of electricity through a saline/zinc solution with a zinc anode and steel conductor. Such Zinc electroplating or Zinc alloy electroplating maintains a dominant position among other electroplating process options, based upon electroplated tonnage per annum. According to the International Zinc Association, more than 5 million tons are used yearly for both hot dip galvanizing and electroplating. The plating of zinc was developed at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, the electrolyte was cyanide based. A significant innovation occurred in the 1960s, with the introduction of the first acid chloride based electrolyte. The 1980s saw a return to alkaline electrolytes, only this time, without the use of cyanide. The most commonly used electrogalvanized cold rolled steel is SECC, acronym of "Steel, Electrogalvanized, Cold-rolled, Commercial quality". Compared to hot dip galvanizing, electroplated zinc offers these significant advantages:
Group 11, by modern IUPAC numbering, is a group of chemical elements in the periodic table, consisting of copper (Cu), silver (Ag), and gold (Au), and roentgenium (Rg), although no chemical experiments have yet been carried out to confirm that roentgenium behaves like the heavier homologue to gold. Group 11 is also known as the coinage metals, due to their usage in minting coins—while the rise in metal prices mean that silver and gold are no longer used for circulating currency, remaining in use for bullion, copper remains a common metal in coins to date, either in the form of copper clad coinage or as part of the cupronickel alloy. They were most likely the first three elements discovered. Copper, silver, and gold all occur naturally in elemental form.
The coinage metals comprise, at a minimum, those metallic chemical elements which have historically been used as components in alloys used to mint coins. The term is not perfectly defined, however, since a number of metals have been used to make "demonstration coins" which have never been used to make monetized coins for any nation-state, but could be. Some of these elements would make excellent coins in theory, but their status as coin metals is not clear. In general, because of problems caused when coin metals are intrinsically valuable as commodities, there has been a trend in the 21st century toward use of coinage metals of only the least exotic and expensive types.
Nickel electroplating is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of nickel onto a metal object. The nickel layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, wear resistance, or used to build up worn or undersized parts for salvage purposes.
The alloy came originally from China, where its composition is said to have been known
smuggled into various parts of the East Indies... and is not allowed to be carried out of the empire