Dictionarium Polygraphicum. Gold Beating.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol I.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
First a quantity of pure Gold, is melted and form'd into an ingot; this by forging is reduc’d to a plate about the thickness of a sheet of paper, and this plate is after wards cut into little pieces about an inch square, and laid in the first and smallest mould to begin to stretch them.

From what Pliny relates, we have no room to doubt but that the ancients, especially the Romans, had the same method of Beating Gold that we have, though it should seem they did not carry it to the same height.

If it be as Pliny relates, that they only made five hundred leaves four fingers square of an ounce of Gold; though he says they could make more.

The modern Gold Beaters do make Gold of divers thicknesses; but there are some so fine, that a thousand of them don't weigh above four or five drams.

The thickest are us’d for gilding on iron and other metals, and the thinnest for wood. See GILDING.

This Gold is beaten on a block of marble, commonly call’d black marble, of about four foot square, and usually rais'd three foot high; these plates are beaten with three hammers of diffe rent sizes, of well polish'd iron, something in the form of mal lets. The first which weighs three or four pounds, serves to chase or drive; the second eleven or twelve pounds, which is to close; and the third which weighs fourteen or fifteen pounds, to stretch and finish.

Likewise four sorts of moulds of different sizes are us'd. These pieces of an inch square, are put into the first or smallest mould which is made of vellum, consisting of forty or fifty leaves, and after they have hammer'd a while thus with the smallest ham mer, they cut each of them into four, and put them into the second mould of vellum, which consists of two leaves, to be extended farther.

Then they are taken out again, and cut into four, and put into the third mould, which is made of bullock's gut, well scour’d and prepar’d, and consisting of five hundred leaves, and beaten; then they are taken out and divided into four again, and laid in the last and finishing mould, which is also of bullock's gut, and containing five hundred leaves; and there they are beaten to the degree of thinness requir’d.

The leaves being thus finish'd, are taken out of the mould and dispos'd in little paper books prepar'd with red bole, for the Gold not to stick to; each book usually containing twenty five leaves. These books are of two fites, twenty five leaves of the smallest, of which weigh but five or six grains; and twenty five of the largest, nine or ten grains.

Gold is beaten more or less, according to the quality or kind of the work it is design'd for; that which is for the use of Gold wire-drawers to gild their ingots withal, is left much thicker than that for gilding pićture frames, &c.

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