A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
Go to Home Page


Sub-order 1.—Workers in Precious Metals and Electro Plate

298.—Other Skilled Workers

Back to List of Occupational Codes

annealer ; softener
anneals precious metal during or after rolling process, by heating in a reverberatory furnace; uses hand tongs to charge and discharge furnace with metal; sometimes also feeds furnace with coke to maintain necessary heat.
assay assistant, assayer's assistant (not assay offices)
assists assayer in analysing purity of precious metals or composition of alloys thereof.
beater, gold and/or silver
takes thin sheets of gold or silver and interleaves them with sheets of parchment, to form a "book"; lays book on a suspended heavy block (used as an anvil) and beats it with a heavy hammer; removes book, takes out gold or silver sheets, which have now become thinner, wider and longer; cuts sheets into smaller pieces, interleaves them as before, and forms another book, which he again hammers; repeats process until metal is reduced to a leaf of extreme thinness, used for decorating leather, wallpaper, etc., or for lettering.
blanker (gold nib)
see gold nib stamper.
brooch maker (not gold or silver)
takes brass, copper, or other metal, in form of wire or otherwise, and bends and shapes it with band tools, using a bench vice, if necessary; solders together component parts of brooch so made, with blow-pipe and solder.
bullion maker
places spool of fine gold ware, sometimes mingled with cotton or silk, on spindle of hand or power-driven machine; guides end of wire, and of cotton or silk if used, through machine to coiling end; turns handle of machine, or switches on power if machine is power-driven, causing wire to form into a fine coil; used for making bullion for epaulettes, fringes, tassels, etc.; cuts coil with scissors, when enough has been wound.
caster (gold or silver) ; melter
hammers fine damp sand into an iron frame, forming one half of mould; presses model (made of plaster, lead, or other base metal) of article to be cast into sand; in case of hollow articles, makes core in same way in a smaller mould, and places it in position in large mould; smokes surface of sand in mould (in flame of candle or otherwise) to prevent it sticking to other half of mould; prepares other half of mould in same way, and clamps two halves together with screws or clamps; melts gold, silver, or other metal in crucible in furnace; pours molten metal through hole in top of frame, through which it flows into hollow made by model in sand; when metal has cooled, removes moulded article from mould; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., gold and silver caster.
caster, britannia metal
a caster q.v. who makes britannia metal castings, using brass moulds.
caster, coarse
a caster q.v. who executes common or rough work.
caster, figure
a caster q.v. who specialises in casting solid figures, mountings, or ornaments in precious metal; uses sand moulds and previously made models, which he presses into sand before making cast; is sometimes also a designer q.v.
caster, fine
a caster q.v. engaged upon lighter or more delicate work, which is cast in prepared fine sand; makes sand moulds and cores, by hand.
caster, ingot
see caster, strip.
caster, nickel silver; nickel silver ingot caster
a caster q.v. who weighs on accurate weighing scales required quantities of various metals for making nickel silver; melts metals, so mixed, in crucible over furnace, and pours it into cast-iron moulds to form strips or ingots.
caster, strip; skillet caster ; ingot caster
a caster q.v. who casts gold or silver into strips or skillets, i.e., long thin bars of metal, in ingot moulds.
chain maker (machine)
fixes bobbin of gold, silver or platinum wire on spindle of machine; guides end of wire through various shaping and cutting tools in machine; switches on power-drive of machine, which forms links of chain and automatically solders them; adjusts machine; sets minute tools with which machine is fitted, and replaces with new tools, when necessary; removes faulty links, if any.
cloisonne art worker
cuts or stamps from sheet copper, brass, silver, etc. shape to be worked upon; solders brass or silver wire on to surface of sheet to produce outlines of design; fills in spaces with vitreous enamel of various colours according to design, blending where necessary; fires enamel in oven; grinds and polishes surface to a high polish.
colourer (gold)
suspends, by means of wire gold jewellery or plate containing alloy, in vat or tank containing an acid solution which removes alloy from surface, leaving a skin of pure gold.
damascener in gold and silver on steel
(i) outlines portion of article to be inlaid, or damascened, and roughens portion outlined with a file, called a raffle; beats into this roughened base, with a hammer, a fine strip of precious metal, which adheres thereto;
(ii) inlays, or incrusts, gold or silver design on blade or other article of steel by electro-deposition; " stops out" portion to be left unplated by painting it with brush and bitumastic paint; dips article in plating vat, where gold or silver design is deposited on "unstopped" portion of steel by action of electric current on metal in suspension in plating compound, cf. parcel gilder (382).
depositor's assistant
see dipper.
depositor's fitter
assembles by hand and fits together, using hand tools and blow-pipe and solder, gilded, plated or silver articles or parts, after such articles or parts have been plated; usually re-assembles parts of articles which have been taken to pieces for purpose of plating.
designer, gem designer, jewellery designer
designs and makes drawings of original patterns for jewellery or electro-plated goods; makes patterns for use by caster q.v. in making handles, knobs, feet, and figures; often also models in plaster of Paris original from which article is moulded, and afterwards casts in silver or other white metal; c.f. modeller (287).
dipper ; depositor's assistant, pickier
removes tarnish or oxide from surface of articles to be plated by dipping them in acid, or by immersing them, for a longer time, in a solution of acid; takes articles out of dip or pickle, and rinses them in clean water; scours them in dilute acid with bristle brushes, and dries, by rubbing them in hot sawdust.
draws articles into required shape, from gold or silver sheet, or wire, on a lathe or draw plates.
drawer, gold and/or silver wire
threads filed end of wire through hole in die, and fixes it, by hand, on winding drum on a draw-bench, which may be power-driven or worked by hand, with a wheel; draws wire through a series of diminishing holes in a die made of steel or, for fine wire, of pierced diamonds, until it is reduced to diameter required.
drawer, platinum wire
as for drawer, gold and/or silver wire.
drawer and marker
scrapes a minute quantity of precious metal with hand tools off article to be assayed, for purposes of analysis; also stamps hallmark and assay sign on articles, using hand stamp and hammer or a small hand-manipulated press containing dies.
dresser, gold and/or silver wire
see trimmer.
enameller, jeweller's enameller
grinds, by hand, into fine powder, coloured vitreous enamel, using pestle and mortar; mixes powder with water to fluid consistency; with small hand tools, places small 'quantity of enamel on silver or gold sleeve link or other article to be enamelled; withdraws superfluous water from enamel with a cloth or blotting paper; places work on piece of firebrick and transfers it, with hand tongs, to small gas-heated muffle furnace, in which he leaves it for specified time; withdraws article from furnace and allows it to cool; files it with carbon or emery files, and finally polishes or finishes it by holding it against power-driven abrasive wheel or dolly revolving on a lathe.
see trimmer.
flattener, gold and/or silver; gold and/or silver flatter
see roller, gold and/or silver.
charges with metal, reverberatory furnace, used for annealing precious metal, and discharges it when annealing process is Complete; also stokes furnace, if furnace is coke-fired.
gilt jewellery maker
see jeweller, imitation.
gold nib maker, gold nib pen maker ; gold pen maker
general terms for all workers engaged in any process of making gold nibs from gold sheet, including gold nib grinder, sweater, polisher (285), slitter and preparer q.v.
gold nib raiser
raises or shapes blanks for gold nibs to required curvature, with hand hammer or under power stamp or press fitted with special hammer-headed dies.
gold nib slitter
places gold nib in holder, close to copper wheel revolving at high speed on a power-driven lathe; presses nib on revolving wheel, which makes a slit therein, running from point to hole previously pierced in nib by gold nib preparer q.v.; applies wet emery to revolving wheel with a brush, as required.
gold nib stamper ; blanker (gold nib)
stamps blanks for gold nibs out of sheet gold with special press.
gold nib sweater ; iridium pointer
lays a number of gold nib blanks on pumice stone block; puts a small quantity of iridium or osmi-iridium on point of each blank with hand tweezers or a small brush; directs a gas jet from a mechanical blow lamp on each point, melting gold and causing it to amalgamate with iridium; nib is then ready for gold nib grinder q.v.
gold pen maker
see gold nib maker.
grinder, gold nib
places gold nib in holder, and holds point, which is made of iridium or osmi-iridium. against emery wheels revolving on a power-driven lathe; applies emery powder to emery wheels with a brush, as work proceeds.
grinder (precious metal refuse)
feeds hopper head of grinding mill with refuse or sweepings of jewellery workshop, using a small shovel; removes sweepings, after grinding, for recovery of valuable material therefrom; cleans machine carefully, so as to preserve particles of precious metal adhering thereto.
hall marker, hall mark stamper ; stamper (Assay Office)
stamps hall mark and assay sign on gold and silver articles, using small hand press fitted with dies, or power press; replaces dies as required; also done by drawer and marker q.v.
heat weigher
weighs out correct proportions of metals to be used in each" heat" (casting operation), e.g., copper, nickel, and spelter, for nickel silver, and so on.
iridium pointer
see gold nib sweater.
jeweller, imitation, fancy jeweller ; gilt jewellery maker
general terms for any worker engaged in making jewellery from base metals, including caster, burnisher (285), stamper (286), etc.
jeweller, working
keeps a retail jeweller's shop and repairs jewellery, watches and clocks in attached work shop.
jewellery and plate repairer
a goldsmith (284), a silversmith or white metal smith (287) q.v. who repairs jewellery and silver or plated goods.
lapper, jeweller's lapper
cuts small facets on links of chains by vertical fast-running pewter wheels coated with emery paste; also cuts flat' surfaces on brooches, etc.
leaf cutter, gold and/or silver
cuts to required size, beaten gold or silver leaf, used in embossing leather, gold and silver blocking, gold and silver lettering etc., using a waggon, i.e., a wooden or cane tool with cutting edges; interleaves cut pieces of gold or silver leaf with tissue paper to form books of twenty-five pieces.
see caster (gold or silver).
melter, bullion, gold and/or silver melter, melter (Royal Mint); ; bullion smelter, gold and/or silver smelter, smelter
places refined gold and silver in crucible, and melts in reverberatory or cupola furnace; casts into skillets, i.e., flat slabs, oi ingots for use of rollers, wire drawers q.v., etc.; attends to fire of furnace, or, if furnace is gas-fired, regulates heat by means of taps, etc.
melter, platinum
as for melter, bullion.
mixer, metal mixer
mixes copper, nickel, and spelter in correct proportions for nickel silver; mixes copper, tin, regulus, zinc, or antimony, for britannia metal; lead and tin for sofl solders; silver and copper or brass wire for silver and copper and tin for brass solders; places metals in a crucible, heats them until they melt, stirs them with a metal stick to mix them roughly, and pours then into ingot moulds.
a furnaceman q.v. in charge of a muffle furnace; charges and discharges furnace with metal, and maintains temperature at required level; if furnace is coke fired, also feeds it with fuel.
see dipper.
plate maker, gold and/or silver
polishes and levels base metal, which is to receive plating of gold or silver, by holding it against revolving mop on lathe; places sheets or strips of gold or silver thereon; puts whole into heating furnace in which metals are "sweated," i.e., heated to point of fusion; maintains correct temperature in furnace by regulating gas flame; at point of fusion, transfers metals, using hand tongs, from furnace to hydraulic press; manipulates press to press metals and cause gold or silver to adhere to base metal.
platinum capsule maker
shapes capsules or "trays" for use in incineration in quantitative analytical chemistry by hand, using hand tools and moulds; feeds machine press with metal, by hand, and operates press by means of levers.
puts together links, etc., of flexible bracelets with wire, using small hand tools; links are then ready for soldering.
preparer, gold nib
general term for workers engaged in any process of gold nib making, other than gold nib grinder, sweater, polisher (285) and slitter q.v.; may perform one or more of following operations—stamping out blanks from rolled sheet gold in a hand press; passing blanks between small power-driven steel rollers, to harden them; placing them in a power-driven hammering machine, for further hardening; placing nib in socket of shaping press, which gives slight curvature to lower portion of nib; placing nib in socket of piercing press, to pierce hole in nib; placing nib in stamping press to stamp name of maker and trade mark thereon; annealing nib, by holding it with pliers in gas flame; raising nib, by putting it in socket of drop stamping press, pulling weighted drop stamp to top of press with a rope or strap, and releasing drop stamp, which fails on nib and gives final curvature thereto; placing nib in small container attached to wire, and dipping it in small vat of acid to remove oxide, and finally rinsing it in clean running water.
refiner, albata
a white metal refiner (278) q.v. engaged in alloying metal by special formula to produce "albata."
refiner, bullion; gold and/or silver refiner
refines gold or silver by treating it, by hand, with various acids in succession, in porcelain containers; after each process, takes residue, from which impurities have been partially removed by action of acid, out of container with a ladle, repeats process until required degree of purity, or fineness, has been attained.
refiner, platinum
as for refiner, bullion.
ring maker (not gold or silver)
makes rings by beating into shape with hand tools on triblet, see ring maker (284), gilding metal, i.e., compound consisting largely of brass, and brazing ends together with blow pipe and solder.
roller, gold and/or silver roller ; gold and/or silver flattener; gold and/or silver flatter
passes skillets, i.e., long flat moulds about one inch thick, of gold or silver, between power-driven revolving steel rollers many times, to reduce them to strips or sheets; sometimes also anneals metal after each rolling but usually passes to annealer q.v.; sometimes also rolls or draws gold or silver wire, see gold and/or silver wire drawer.
roller (gold nib), gold nib roller
a roller q.v. who rolls out small piece of gold, intended for nib, after it has been blanked, in order to harden it; takes care to feed blank so that iridium point is protected by slot in rollers.
roller, case metal (precious metals)
a roller q.v. who rolls gold or silver for watch cases.
roller, cross
spreads or flattens out, in a heavy cross rolling machine, end of a spoon or fork blank, in preparation for shaping of bowl or cutting of prongs.
sand blaster
removes rough surface and edges from white and britannia metal casting by sand blasting, i.e., by projection of a fine stream of Sana through a nozzle by a forced draught of air or steam usually within an enclosed machine or chamber.
smelter, bullion smelter, gold and/or silver smelter
see melter, bullion.
see annealer.
stamper (Assay Office)
see hall marker.
stripper, gold
strips gold from worn articles, in preparation for re-plating, or from newly manufactured articles, before polishing, to remove dust, or to remove "fire" caused by heat in soldering; immerses articles for a few seconds in a pickling vat, filled with a solution of hydrochloric and of sulphuric acids, until action ceases; then swills them under a tap of running cold water.
stripper, silver
as for stripper, gold.
sweep sampler
prepares by hand screening and sifting, samples of sweepings from gold and silver workshops, ready for assayer (866) q.v.
sweep smelter (not employer)
charges furnaces with "sweep," i.e., filings, etc., from gold or silver workshop; removes slag, as may be necessary, with hand-manipulated scoop; ladles out metal at end of operation.
theatrical jewellery maker
an imitation jeweller q.v. who specialises in jewellery for use in theatrical production.
trimmer ; finer, gold and/or silver wire dresser
files, by hand, rough edges of gold or silver strip or wire, after it has been drawn, in preparation for its use in jewellery manufacture.
operates treadle or power lathe, and turns knobs, joints, etc., out of precious metals.
watch chain, maker (not gold or silver)
makes links of brass, copper, or other wire, by winding wire on spits, by hand or on a lathe, and cutting wire so wound with hand piercing saw or power-driven circular saw; threads links together by hand to make chain, and solders joints with blow pipe and solder.
wire filler
makes rolled gold wire by rolling or drawing, by machine, thin coating of gold over wire of baser metal.

Back to List of Occupational Codes

From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.