What is the coating inside this brass compote/goblet?

bradleyd_svhDecember 11, 2013

I purchased these two compotes (or goblets, if I want to stretch some boundaries) at local antique shops here in Savannah. The one on the left has an interior coating that mystifies me. What is it? The one on the right is clearly not coated. In case anyone is wondering, I purchased the one on the left for only $10 at one shop, and the non-darkened one on the right for $20 at another. The dealer who sold me the one on the left doesn't know what the coating is, and I can't find anyone else who does either. I am posting a second photo of a close-up of the area in a seperate message as this forum does not seem to allow more than one picture per post.

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bradleyd_svh

Interior of left "vessel." When I run my finger-nail across the area where the light and dark surfaces meet, there does not appear to be any thickness to the darkened surface -- in other words, nothing that I can peel off, with my fignernail or anything else. Thus, I am tempted to see this as an effort at staining. What I really want to know is whether this is safe to drink from. Yeah, I know it's probably a compote, not a drinking vessel, but not being an erudite "antiquer" it certainly looks to me like a goblet that belongs on the set of a production about King Arthur. LOVE the look.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 1:31PM
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justlinda

Could the coating perhaps be a collection of dirt/dust/nicotine that has accumulated to give a dull finish? Have you tried cleaning it?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 4:56PM
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bradleyd_svh

Cleaning it was the first thing I tried. Hard scrubbing with dishwashing soap and hot water. No change. Not even a dark stain or residue on the light-colored dish-rag I was using to wash it.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 5:38PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Try cleaning it with something acidic--lemon juice or vinegar, with table salt as an abrasive.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:10PM
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mfrog

Probably lacquer. It was popular to spray brass with lacquer to keep it from tarnishing. You can let it soak in a mild solution of TSP, it should slough it off, then wash it well, dry & polish if necessary. mfrog

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 6:52PM
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bradleyd_svh

Thanks for all the help! What with the demands of end-of-the-year holidays I am practicing some sleep deprivation, so it will be a few days before I can catch up and employ these ideas. I will probably try the home remedies first (to avoid crowded stores as much as I can) since I have those elements laying around, and failing those I will head to the hardware store for some TSP.Oddly, I read that "Hints from Heloise" suggests ketchup as a cleaner too. Also, if anyone has any insight into the age of these vessels -- or knows someone who would -- please feel free to share. Regardless of their age, I really like the looks of these two vessels. Thanks again!
Bradley

This post was edited by BradleyD on Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 22:42

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 2:57PM
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