26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

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Humblej
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26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:46 pm

Took my unrestored Ford 26-27 accessory bumpers apart and was surprised to find the remains of very bright plating under the bar clamps and under the head of the stove bolts. Looks too bright to be old nickel. The unprotected surfaces are a mixture of old dirt, rust, and a layer of silver paint. Did Ford chrome plate the bumpers? The dealer literature calls the bumpers nickel, but were they really?


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Altair » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:34 pm

I think all the shiny bits and pieces on a 26-27 were nickel. When you see a restored 26-27 with chrome to me it is far too bright.

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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by DanTreace » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:32 pm

Jeff

All Model T factory offered bumpers were nickel plated. All other 'shiny' parts were nickel.

Nickel by Ford was a very tough plating, and lasts and lasts. So if parts are hidden from air (like under a clamp), the shine will remain today.

Chrome was not used in the Model T era. Chrome came along late, the earliest on other cars was 1927-1928 when the process to chrome was developed. First bumpers for cars were chrome offered in 1928. By 1958 the Oldsmobile 98 likely had the most chrome on it than any US auto!


chrome bumpers .jpg
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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:14 am

Thanks for the responses, nickel was my understanding too, but I haver never seen 95 year old nickel as bright as chrome. I am taking the bumper bars to the plater next week and wanted to double check that nickel is the right finish. Reading the vendor catalogs some offer the oval bumper clamps in either chrome or black, my original unrestored bumper clamps and stove bolt have the remains of bright plating like the bumpers, so along with the bumper bars I will be nickel plating the oval clamps and stove bolts.

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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by DanTreace » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:24 am

Jeff

Yes those oval medallions were nickel, the steel clamps behind were painted, have seen original oval pieces with nickel remains.

On ferrous metal the plating process is copper layer, then nickel. To chrome, the chromium is layered over the nickel as oxidation prevention. The chrome gives the whiter shine to nickel layer.

EBACBB09-057E-4D8A-A2CC-6983F24E5EDB.jpeg
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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:34 pm

What I have read over the years is that the nickle used under the chrome overlay is different then when used alone.

By David Dewey, N. California on Friday, August 24, 2018 - 03:41 pm:

Most modern platers put on a very thin coat of bright nickel, then add the chrome. It's called "bright nickel" as it comes out of the plating vat shiny, unlike "grey nickel" which has to be polished to shine.
what you want is a very thick coat of nickel, so it will last through many polishings AND prevent corrosion from passing through it. A good solid copper plate underneath also helps longevity.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by 2nighthawks » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:45 pm

Had a very good friend that had a small chrome plating business in Chicago when I still lived in that area back in the '60's. Maybe the process has changed somewhat since then, but here's what I learned from him at the time:

As a favor, he chrome plated a radiator shell for me back then, but only on the condition that I would paint the back of the radiator shell with rustoleum. He explained that while this did take a long time, metal is actually somewhat porous, and he said that given enough time, and with wet corrosive conditions like the salt brine from winter snow removal in Chicago, he said that even the best chrome plating job will eventually start to deteriorate somewhat from the back if not painted.

Also, he said that the most important polishing step in the process was the initial polishing of the metal being chrome plated. Then copper plate that was polished, then the nickel plating that was also polished, and lastly, the chrome, which is mostly to protect the nickel. All that polishing is what makes the process so dirty and also so expensive,.....for what it's worth,......harold


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Gonenorth » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:50 am

I had long discussion with the plating guy I take my stuff to on the original processes used back in the day. He's also a car guy and a collector. He told me one of the major problems with the longevity of factory plated nickel parts is that most of those parts were "flash plated". The parts were cleaned, then simply plated with bright nickel. The bonding on the nickel layers to the surface metal isn't real strong with that process. That's why you seldom see vintage plated parts exposed to weathering that look real good. Over time (sometimes brief time), the bright nickel simply flaked off or wore away. With the plating processes used now, the nickle is layered over the copper base and adheres to it much better. However, that process is a lot more time consuming (and expensive), but the results are far better and more durable. So, for those of us that have emptied out wallets paying for professionally re-plated parts, collectors generations from now will appreciate our investments.


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Roar_Sand » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:27 pm

It was my understanding that the first copper layer was to enhance adhesion. Chrome plating is porous, so nickel was applied before the chrome to seal the surface.


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:33 pm

Ok, kind of drifted off the chrome or nickel question, but I am satisified with the nickel answer.
Last edited by Humblej on Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by david_dewey » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:47 pm

Well, I see I was quoted here, so guess I'll chime in. "back in the day" the nickel had to be polished to become shiny. the best plating starts with a copper plating, that gets polished to remove as many imperfections as possible, AND to provide better adhesion to the base metal. I find the Chromium Bumper add interesting as it indicates a nickel plate, then copper, then nickel and finally Chrome. Maybe on spring steel the nickel bonds better than the copper, and the copper is used to fill the imperfections?
As to corrosion resistance, the Chrome, I was told, is more resistant to corrosion and a harder surface, so it's more resistant to being polished over the years. Chrome is almost clear, with a blue tint, which is why you get the color changes when it goes over the nickel.
Now as a "proof" of the need to polish the nickel way back when, if you've ever seen an original Model A bumper bar (I think the T's may show this too), although they are Chrome plated, the only polished surface is the very face, and half-way around the rolled end. the other areas are not polished, but a bit dull. If you are dong a very high point show car, or are really picky about stuff, the way to do this nowadays is to make certain the nickel layer is extra thick, mask the face off and gently blast the edges and back to dull down the nickel, then back to the plater for the chrome layer. EXPENSIVE, yes!
Of course, if you have your own plating set-up, this is much easier to have done. I have a friend with a Caswell set up who does the nickel on our DB cars, and the stuff is gorgeous--and very thick too.
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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Original Smith » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:22 pm

What you failed to mention, are these Ford accessory bumpers, or aftermarket? There is a difference.


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:31 pm

Ford 26-27 accessory bumper... The Ford bumpers that were sold by Ford dealers.


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:18 pm

Update. I checked the drawings at the Benson Ford Research Center this morning and can positively state that the improved Ford accessory bumpers were nickel plated. The bumper bar drawings call out polishing the front face of the bars only, so back side should be dull. I also looked at the drawings for the rear bumper brackets, the center medallion, and the end clamps. End clamps were nickel on the early drawings, but the later drawings, the latest dated may 1926, the clamps are painted black. The front bumper arms are the same for all body styles, but the rear arms are different depending on body. Roadster and coupe arms are longer than touring and sedans, probably due to the different spare tire mounting configurations. Only saw drawings for the full length rear bumpers, didnt see anything for the rear short "bumperetts".

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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by DanTreace » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:02 pm

Jeff

Thanks for taking the effort to check Ford prints, nice info to know about the bars and clamp finishes.


This photo is Ford, dated Aug 13, 1926 for the 1927 models, too bad the straight on view keeps from seeing the accessory bumpers, but is a good photo of them installed on this touring.


Aug 13, 1926 photo new 1927 T.jpg
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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by Humblej » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:08 am

Nuts! I bought these bumpers for my 1926 coupe, but after measuring my rear bumper arms discovered they are the touring and sedan arms! Anyone with coupe/roadster arms that would like to trade for touring/sedan arms? I have posted on the classifieds.


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Re: 26-27 accessory bumpers nickel or chrome?

Post by modeltspaz » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:40 am

The one fact that I have not seen mentioned here is the fact that there are several different TYPES of nickle plating. Each one gives a different look and durability.
The chrome shops use a nickel plating anode made with a nickel alloy that lends itself to being top coated with chrome. It's called "Brite Nickle" and looks fantastic when newly polished. However, it quickly becomes dull as it oxidizes quickly. If your plater uses this type of nickle, you'll be polishing every time you take the car out.
Next is "Watts Cold Nickle Plating" this is the type of nickle used during the Model T era. It is alloyed to be used as a top coat and does not require over plating with another material. Not many shops do this anymore. Ask first.
Lastly, there is Nickle Sulfamate. Not really positive where this one falls, but it's still most likely better than Brite Nickle.
Here in the Los Angeles area where I live, I have used a company called Boyles and Snyder. They've been in business since 1930 and know plating. They DO NOT do any chrome plating. They also do silver, gold, anodize, and German Silver. They also do repairs. But, be warned, they are expensive.
Boyles and Snyder is located on John Street in Los angeles (the shortest street in Los Angeles).
I have no affiliation with this company but I can vouch for their attention to detail and quality. You can Google the company for further information.
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