Design of a Victorian Breastplate
360 View of a Victorian Breastplate
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More on the Process
Japan Black is the name given to the lacquer used on iron and steel. At the time of its development the black colour which the lacquering process gave the finished product was something the West associated with Japan, hence the name. Japan Black used bitumen instead of the natural resins used in clear varnishing. The bitumen gave the finish its black colour.
When used as a verb japan means ‘to finish in japan black’. Thus japanning and japanned are terms describing the process and its products. However, Newman Brothers never described the process as japanning in their catalogues. Instead, they listed their black range of products under the following terms: ‘White and Black’, ‘Improved Black’, ‘Improved Black and Gold Enamelled’ and ‘Gold or any Fancy Colours’, ‘Gilt’ or ‘Gilt and Black’.