plate or electroplate is formed when a thin layer of pure or sterling
silver is deposited electrolytically on the surface of a base metal.
EPNS - What Does That
for "Electro Plated Nickel Silver". Nickel Silver (sometimes stainless
steel) is the base metal onto which silver is plated. Despite its name,
nickel silver contains no silver at all, but is an alloy of Nickel,
Zinc & Copper. A layer of pure silver is deposited electrolytically
on the base metal to give a silver finish.
*EPSS stands for "Electro Plated Stainless Steel" and this
is the current production style for Arthur Price of England silver plated
ranges. This means that silver is plated onto a base metal of stainless
steel rather than onto nickel silver. Some Hostess items from the Sheffield
factory are now produced in the EPSS version.
The major practical difference between EPNS and EPSS is that EPNS
is much more readily re-plateable in the future when the silver has
worn down. EPSS might not be re-plateable so if you envisage that your
cutlery may be suitable for re-plating at some future date, then our
advice would be to opt for Sheffield Cutlery.
Common base metals include copper, brass, nickel silver - an alloy
of copper, zinc and nickel - and Britannia metal - a tin alloy with
Electroplated materials are often stamped EPNS for Electroplated Nickel
Silver, or EPBM for Electroplated Britannia Metal. EPBM is unsuitable
a re-plating service for cutlery and other items that you might feel
are in need of a facelift. See our Re-Silver
Plating Service page for details.
Brass or Nickel
plating is available. EPNS items are the
most common form of silver plate and this can be easily re-plated.
The factory does not re-plate if the base metal is chrome,
zinc, aluminium, MAZAC (magensium-aluminium-zinc compound), mild steel
(carbon Steel), pewter, wrought iron or Britannia
Metal. Britannia Plate/EPBM items
are also unsuitable for replating.
How Much Silver?
The Sheffield Cutlery ranges are 10, 20 or 30 microns which the
factory regards as 20, 30 or 40 year plate respectively with usual wear
Arthur Price Of England
The Arthur Price ranges are 10/12 microns for their 25 Year Plate or 35/40 microns for their Sovereign Range.
The Elkington range of EPNS is plated to a generous thickness of 35
microns. Very generally speaking, this equates to a probable
lifetime of 35-50 years for pieces plated to this thickness but, of
course, this time span can vary according to the level of usage and
care of your silverware.
Do beware of rival manufacturers who offer silver plate to a much thinner
depth of silver plating. We have seen silver plate on offer on the web
to as thin as 3 microns of silver.
Should I Use A Dishwasher?
We advise against
the use of dishwashers for any cutlery. Please see our FAQ
Re Dishwasher Safety. No material is truly stainless and it is easy
to spoil the condition and appearance of cutlery, particularly silver/silverplate
cutlery, by inappropriate use of dishwashers and/or detergents.
We do have access to a re-polishing service.
Quality Of Silver Plate
Silver plate cutlery
from our suppliers is a high quality material. Elkington, for example,
have Quality Control registered to ISO 9002 and support internally with
their own analytical and metallurgical laboratories to ensure that the
tight controls on alloy composition, impurity limits, metallurgical
structure, gold and silver plate standards are all maintained.
What Do The Inscriptions Mean On My Item?
Please see the following links for an explanation of the maker's marks
and company information:
Many electroplaters used alphabetic symbols to identify the town of
origin, the quantity of the silver used in plating and, occasionally,
the date of manufacture.
The more common town symbols used by electroplaters are:
G = Glasgow
L = London
M = Manchester
S = Sheffield
The best quality is "A1" / "AI", then "A",
"B", "C", and the lowest level is "D".
British makers adopted a letter code to identify the base metal and/or
the different silver plating process used on their plated items.
The most common is EPNS (Electro Plated Nickel Silver) but many other
symbols are used:
EPBM (Electro Plated Britannia Metal)
EPCA (Electro Plated Copper Alloy)
ESM (Electro Plated Silver Mounts)
PGS (Plated German Silver)
EPGS (Electro Plated German Silver)
BP (Britannia Plate)
MP (Magnetic/Magneto Plating)
PS (Plated Steel)
WMF (Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik)
WP (White Metal Plated)
EP (Electro Plated)
EP On Copper (Electro-Plated On Copper)
P over EP / P over MP (Prime Electro-Plate / Prime Magneto Plate
("Prime" referring to the Thomas Prime process
of electro deposition)
& Webb used to regularly add a letter to show the date the item
was made. This system was also used by Walker
& Hall. Click the links to find out the dates from the letters.
How To Tell Whether Items Are Silver
Silver Plate Price Comparisons
20 Year Silver Plate
30 Year Silver Plate
40 Year Silver Plate
Price Of England
25 Year Silver Plate
Price Of England
Sovereign Silver Plate
are per item/set and exclude postage and VAT.
Arthur Price Of England cutlery comes with a Manufacturers' Guarantee
for either 25 Years or Lifetime (Sovereign Silver Plate).