This subject has come up several times before. Is there anyone who can re-silver (not chrome plate) the Model T reflector using the old fashioned silvering technique as is used on mirrors? What does it involve and why is it so difficult to find people who provide this service? Jim Patrick
I think you are a little confused.
Silvering or re-silvering a mirror is just as the phrase implies - it is coating one side of a glass mirror or glass reflector with silver. It is strictly a chemical process.
Silvering a glass mirror should not be confused with silver plating a metal reflector. That process is done to metal using electricity. There are a number of places that can do it such as shops that specialize in restoration of silver plated antiques. For example, in the Twin Cities where I live:
The reflectors in your 1926 Fords are metal and would have originally been electro plated with silver.
Years ago, most metropolitan areas had glass and mirror companies that would re-silver mirrors.
Today, those places are few and far between. However, there are individuals that do it. Many of them cater to the the antique restoration crowd.
Up here in the Twin Cities, there is a fellow that does mirror re-silvering in St. Paul. I know he has done automobile lamp mirrors. However, I actually had him re-silver my bathroom mirror.
If U need an inexpensive way to do it, there are several paint makers that make a bright silver paint that has worked for me.
Here's a thread that discusses this process, and gives the name of a good plater:
I'd consider headlight reflectors part of the safety equipment for a car, and as such they should be done correctly.
The only way I see paint as any kind of alternative is a museum car, or one only to be driven during daylight hours, paint would be an awful reflector of light. Chrome is a bad choice for reflectors, also, as it absorbs light, contrary to what one might think. The Uvira process is great, but will end up being pricey since reflectors need to be nickel plated first. Advantage of Uvira is better lighting and no maintenance (i.e. silver polishing to remove tarnish)
One way to reduce the price of Uvira reflectorization is to pick up a set of re-pop chrome reflectors and send them to Uvira. They can do the process over chrome as a base as easily and effectively as nickel. I have both varieties and it's hard to tell them apart. They both work very well.
Here's a place I found online.
Tarnish is typically not a problem with silver plated headlight reflectors unless you have a bad storage situation. They should go decades without ever needing to be polished, and even that would typically be a mild hand polish. I would not use tarnish as an excuse not to silver plate.
As I remember, the last time a metal silver plater was recommended several years ago, a place in the St. Louis area was recommended. Don't remember the name.
You can buy the Uvira type reflectors for Model A, to bad who ever makes the chrome ones can't do the same for T.
Thanks to everyone for a lot of valuable information. Jim Patrick
Not only are the new UVIRA Model A reflectors the proper finish, the shape is also to Ford specs. Would be nice if the same folks would do the Ts.
I've used CIS in St Louis MO, did a pretty good job and price was reasonable at under $100 each.
from current web page under 'pricing':
New Hand Mirror Installed $210.00
Headlight Reflector $96.00
Prefer to stay with silver plate, real metal! Sure it costs, by hey its Silver!!
CIS replate in forground
OK paint was mentioned. What about tin foil shiney side out glued in place?
Dan - Did they plate just the front reflecting surface or the entire piece, front and back?
Charlie B: As you may imagine, the flat tin foil won't conform very well to the concave surface of the reflector..
(parabolic antenna used as a parable)
Instead, do like me and make a hat ;-)
The entire reflector was plated, the parabolic dish was high gleam, the reverse just shiny.
Am just getting around to using them, ordered the Halogen 6v bulbs from Lang's and will install along with these re-silvered reflectors.
Last month's tour the '27's lights weren't real bright driving out to dinner, so think this should help.
I used Brinkman's in Minnesota for my A. VERY HAPPY
The Uvira coating is real metal. Nickel.
As I understand the UVIRA coating, it is aluminum on top of the nickel and then coated with a thin layer of Pyrex. the Pyrex seals in the aluminzed coating and prevents tarnishing, which is why they reflect so well over time.
Uvira didn't come up with the new Model A reflectors. It was Walt Bratton's project. I don't know who is coating the reflectors but I agree, they're spot on and work well.
I also believe the Uvira coating is aluminum with a glass film over it to prevent tarnish.