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1929 Nash 420... Nickle, chrome, or both?


Chris Bamford
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I am pleased to own a 26,000 mile '29 Nash 420 sedan that is in remarkably original condition in most respects.<P>All the interior fittings are nickle plated, as are the outside part of the exterior door handles. The trim tubes that conceal the exterior door handle shaft (they are at right angles to the door skin) are chrome plated, as is the "ferrule" affair that screws into the door frame on the exterior. (I've just re-read this paragraph and I hope it's understandable!).<P>Other chrome plated items are headlights, cowl lights, taillight, and the hoop-shaped trim piece at the end of the hood. This stuff looks like it could have been re-plated at some time.<P>Which is correct, chrome or nickle? Or could it be both ? I recall reading about at least one brand that had both on the same vehicle around this period (was it Buick?)

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In 1933 Plymouth had chrome plating for the outside items and nickel plating on the inside items. I don't know how common that was among manufacturers then. I always thought it was a bit strange.<P>By the way, my local plater is loath to do nickel plating for me. Claims the modern process is not up to the old one and that the plating will not stand up with out a chrome flashing over it. Has anyone else run into this? What was your solution?

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Thanks PLY33 for your comments. With respect to your plater, my experience has been different. I had a number of items nickled for my '24T speedster 9 years ago, and it's still fine, just gets a polish once or twice a year. Same thing with the many many nickle-plated items on my '12 KisselKar. This car sees lots of use, a fair bit of outdoor time in nice weather, and the nickle seems to be standing up just fine.

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I don't have a direct answer to the question posted here, other than to ask my own question. In 1928-29 Studebaker advertised in their sales broucher the use of "butler finish" on the door hardware. I know that this gave the dull old time silver look and finish to the door hardware. My question is, how was that accomplished. Through nickeled finish or chrome? I have always noticed the door handles and window cranks on the inside of the cars never had the bright chrome finish of the outside, now I know it is the "butler finish" but how is that same finish achieved today?<BR> confused.gif" border="0

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For a possible answer see <A HREF="http://www.1inamillioncars.com/mb/1930sCarsArticles/ButlerfinishA.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.1inamillioncars.com/mb/1930sCarsArticles/ButlerfinishA.html</A> <P>I never heard of "butler finish" before today. Interesting looking it up, especially in regards to old silver tableware....

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  • 1 month later...

Another "indirect" answer:<P>My 1941 De Soto wears Chrome plate on the exterior cast trim (mouldings are stainless), but the interior handles and cranks are nickel plated.<P>"Butler-finish" sounds like "MadisonAv"speak to me, but nickel has a warm yellowish sheen to it as opposed to chrome's "cold" bluish tint.<BR>When done on a buffing wheel, nickel can achieve a mirror finish; but I've never gotten the same result with hand (Butler?) polishing.<P>Wouldn't be surprised if your Nash had the "indoor/outdoor" combination; I'm pretty sure that Dad's '30 Chevy sedan is similarly finished.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My father's 1914 Buick has nickel plated trim. He re-plated the pieces himself. I belive there is a certain year that chrome plating was invented after 1914. Therefore, chrome plating is incorect for early restoration. Triple plating starts with copper, buffed and plated with nickel, then buffed and plated with chrome. Chrome is easier to take care of. Nickel turns white a few days after polishing unless it is waxed. My related question is: What year was chrome plating invented?

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The Official AACA Judging Manual which has been fairly well researched states that chrome was first used on Oldsmobile in 1925 and 1928 on most other makes. There are some exceptions (as there always is with a "rule". Some other makes had a mix between 1925 and 1928 and some makes continued to use a mix after 1928 (see above posts).

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If I might add, nickel plate is for non weathering applications. Chrome plating enhances corrosion resistance and gives a deep "wet look" to the nickel plate. Chrome by itself is clear, that's why hydraulic cylinder shafts look different than a bumper. They only have a chrome plate to give them corrosion resistance.<P>I think the "butler" finish refers to the missing chromium layer and hence gives a different shine.

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Chris our '29 Chandler is in the same state, original. We have the same instance of Nickel on the inside and Chrome on most parts on the outside. Most notably the headlight buckets and radiator shell were crome. i like the combination, because I prefer the look of nickel.<BR>Chris Gorman

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A Butler finish is a matte look, which was applied to nickle plate as an "upscale" feature for fancy automotive interiors. The best description of the appearance is on this web page: <A HREF="http://www.oneida.com/static/silversmithsglossary.asp" TARGET=_blank>http://www.oneida.com/static/silversmithsglossary.asp</A> <P>I would guess that cost containment was the reason nickle was used on interiors for many years after the introduction of chrome on exteriors. smile.gif" border="0

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