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Whats one apprentice more or less??

 Back then they weren't too worried about the stuff. The fish in our local river still aren't edible after the gold rush miners had the wonderful idea to dump barrels of mercury in the head waters of the river with the idea that the mercury will dissolve the gold as it flows down river. Then they just had to collect it down river and burn the mercury off to get the gold. Much easier said than done.

I also found this in "Heat treatment of steel. Erik Oberg 1920"

 

20201026_205930.jpg

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My 1925 copy of "Scientific American Cyclopedia of Formulas" has several mixtures for hardening steel in it involving rosin, both a a quenchant and as part of case hardening mixtures.  I was more amused though by the water based quenching mixtures that add 6 oz of red wine in the mixture.

"Practical Blacksmithing"  mentions the mercury quench.  Ugh.

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