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What is 'white' metal?

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  • What is 'white' metal?

    I have been working on restoring a hit and miss engine from the 1920's.

    Several of the more complex casted part are very light colored, almost white. Some the old-timers who have been helping me have referred to these parts as white metal. I have heard babbitts called white metal, but these are not babbitts.

    Are these just special alloys of zinc die-cast of something different?


    (no Dad you are not an old-timer, but your friends are)

  • #2
    Re: What is 'white' metal?

    It might be pot-metal a platers worst part to work on, but try putting a little muratic acid on it to see if it reacts but be able to wash it off quickly.. Most of old parts are pot-metal.....Do you have a pic of the part.....


    • #3
      Re: What is 'white' metal?

      Thanks, I loaned out the camera to a friend. I'll post some pics when I get the camera back.

      It is amazing how easy it is to make friends when people find out you have a welder, bead blast cabinet, and a digital camera I'm guessing when I get the plating shop finished I'll never have to buy a beer again(strict baptists can bring baked goodies)



      • #4
        Re: What is 'white' metal?

        Yea I have to keep my shop doors closed in order to get any work done, I live in town so people tell me that when they pass by they look to see if the doors or open, and man here they come....and now they just stop anyway to see if Im hiding...


        • #5
          Re: What is 'white' metal?

          try this link


          • #6
            Re: What is 'white' metal?

            I agree with the previous posts...
            The "White Metal" that you are referring to may be similar in properties to Britannia Metal, more commonly known as Pewter.
            Babbitt Metal (White Metal) was widely used for castings and bearing surfaces in the early automotive years.
            Are any of these pieces currently plated or do they appear that they may have been plated at one time?
            I am guessing that they would be similar to pot metal but without the high zinc content. Comprised mostly of Tin, Antimony and Copper.
            An acid test will be able to tell you the difference.
            Best of luck
            Curtis Ashcroft
            M and C's Plating & Powder Services