I love antiques and reality TV. So, I can't go wrong watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel. I love to see what they have brought into their shop.
While watching a recent episode a couple came into the shop and was interested in a clock. The owner of the store told them about this special clock. I had never heard of such a thing, but once he started talking about it, I knew I wanted to read more.
He called it an Ormolu Clock, otherwise known as a death clock. Well, I had to head over to Wikipedia to see more.
Ormolu refers to the technique they used waaaaay back in the day. From Wikipedia:
Ormolu (from French or moulu, signifying gold ground or pounded) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-karat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze. The mercury is driven off in a kiln. The French refer to this technique as bronze doré, in English gilt bronze.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object. Most mercury gilders died by the age of 40 due to exposure to the harmful mercury fumes.