Fun Fact Friday! Fact 13

Posted by Daubin Barshtak on June 08, 2012.

 Recently I came across a shocking story of an ancient timepiece known as the “Ormolu” or better known as the “Death Clock.” 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. So owning one of these clocks would mean that you possess something from history that someone died from during manufacturing or shortly after the manufacturing process. Owning something like this would be far too creepy for the average person. But, if you decide you really would like this timepiece, they retail for a little over 10,000 USD.


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