The original polish of very many pieces of plate made prior to the introduction of
power was achieved with the burnisher. Although treadle driven polishing was available,
in practice most plate was entirely finished by hand. Unless the original cleansing
and polishing process of burnishing are followed, even normal cleaning and the wear
and tear of centuries will soften and remove silver’s original brilliant effect.
Here the opportunity was taken to restore the otherwise inaccessible bright areas
of some of Thomas Germain’s remarkable creations. The effect achieved by the original
silversmith is recovered and no further metal loss or possible danger to the piece
by machine polishing incurred.