This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

What did a PLATER do in 1870?

One of the 'industries' in St Cloud in 1870 was that of a Plater, and under the column listing raw products used in the business was Gold and Silver.  Hmm.  Was there such a thing as electro-plating that early?  If not, how was plating done?

Ah!  We search and the internet provides--from this site comes information:

The early history of electrodeposition of precious metals onto lesser metal can be reliably traced back to around 1800. Italian chemist and university professor Luigi Brugnatelli, is considered by many as the first person to utilize gold in the electroplating process. Brugnatelli was a friend of Allisandro Volta, who had just discovered the chemical principles that would later lead to the development of "voltaic"electrical batteries. Volta's first practical demonstration of this was called a "Voltaic Pile." As a result, Brugnatelli's early work using voltaic electricity enabled him to experiment with various metallic plating solutions. By 1805, he had refined his process enough to plate a fine layer of gold over large silver metals. In a letter to the Belgian Journal of Physics and Chemistry' later reprinted in Great Britain, Brugnatelli wrote: "I have lately gilt in a complete manner two large silver medals, by bringing them into communication by means of a steel wire, with a negative pole of a voltaic pile, and keeping them one after the other immersed in ammoniuret of gold newly made and well saturated".

Also in St Cloud that year was a Lime Yard that made 3 times the money the one Dentist made.  Again, we searched--Lime is a binder used in plaster, paints & cement, to neutralize acid in farmers' fields, and to keep outhouses from being too smelly.  These day, restoring plasterwork in historic buildings is causing a resurgence of interest in its use.

Cool, huh?

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