Historical Articles

April, 1954 issue of Plating


Nickel, Nickel, Who Gets the Nickel?

THE LONG PERIODS of prosperity which have blessed the American scene have reached a point which may be described best by the use of a term in plating—leveling. Ahead is a period of ”hard selling” for goods and services for most industries, including that of metal finishing.

The plater’s lot is made more complicated with the extra burden of the nickel supply situation. Nickel sulfate and nickel chloride have been reported to be scarcer than at any time in over a year. Nickel anodes, since allocations were lifted in November, 1953, are even more scarce.

One source has predicted that nickel for civilian electroplating will be harder to get than in 1952 when many items were on the nickel plating ”prohibited list.”
Regular suppliers are doing the best job they can, under existing government regulations, to maintain an equitable distribution of their supplies. The regulations, however, are working to the extreme hardship of a good segment of the metal finishing industry. Platers, up until now, have accepted the restrictive orders, but have reached a point where they cannot afford to remain silent. Too many questions need honest answers.

During the control period reports show that one industry received about 116 per cent of pre-Korea amounts of nickel, another about 133 per cent and the electroplating group only 39 per cent. After decontrol it appeared that the picture would change and that metal finishers would get a larger share of the metal. Instead of a larger share, however, the government has decreed lesser amounts to the electroplating industry.

A big ”WHY?” cannot be denied after one reads government releases that cite record-breaking nickel production figures.

Too many field reports indicate that nickel ”may be had at a price—two dollars and more per pound,” in the black (nickel) market.

The old adage of the ”squeaky wheel” is recalled. It appears that the only way the plating industry will get its fair share of the critical metal is through deliberate, persistent and loud complaints to the proper authorities by more and more platers.

Al Korbelak



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