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SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
George Richards Elkington (1801-1865), British industrialist. Elkington turned laboratory experiments in electrochemistry into a successful commercial process. In 1840, with his cousin Henry Elkington, he purchased and patented the Wright electroplating process. In the following year he filed a patent for a method of gilding brass. The Birmingham factory developed the electroplating, electrotyping and electrogilding processes, using gold and silver to plate a wide range of metal objects, from spectacle frames to pen nibs. They came to dominate the plating industry, replacing Sheffield plate within ten years and producing a cheaper and more durable substitute for silverware. Patent disputes with Henri de Ruolz in France were resolved and the Paris silversmith Charles Christofle became a licensee.
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