Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Gold-beating, the process by which gold is beaten into leaves for gilding. As gold-leaf was used in the East for gilding (q.v.) at a very early period, the method by which it is prepared must also have been known. Gold-beating was formerly a thriving industry at Florence, but it has much declined there of late years, owing to the production of inferior but cheaper gold-leaf in France and Germany. A considerable amount is made in England, especially in London. The first step in the preparation is to alloy the gold with silver or copper, the amount of which varies with the colour desired. It is then cast into ingots, and each ingot is rolled into a ribbon about 1-1/2 inches wide. These are cut into pieces which are interleaved with squares of coarse paper. A leaf of vellum is introduced here and there instead of the paper. The packet formed in this way, termed a "cutch," is laid on a marble surface and beaten with a hammer weighing about 16 lbs. Much exertion is saved through the elasticity of the vellum, which causes the hammer to rebound. When the pieces of gold have become equal in size with the squares of paper, they are removed and cut into four pieces. These are interleaved with gold-beater's skin so as to form a "shoder," and the same process is repeated, but in this case a 9-lb. hammer is used, and the beating is continued for a longer time, The pieces thus beaten out are in their turn cut up, and a packet called a "mould" is formed by interleaving about 950 of them with fresh gold-beater's skin. A final beating then takes place with a 7-lb. hammer, lasting for four hours. The leaf is thus reduced to a thickness of about 1/282000 inch. An ounce of gold when beaten out sometimes covers over 200 square feet.