Most of the hardware (door knobs and door hinges mainly) in the house is black from age. Underneath, I figured, was bronze or brass, perhaps.
One day I got curious and took salt and orange juice (because that's what I had on hand) and about an hour worth of soaking and elbow grease to the switchplate from the front bedroom. It was totally black and kinda almost-gummy on top of tarnish. I just HAD to see what it had looked like once upon a time when it was just a run-of-the-mill ordinary switch plate and not an almost-antique (you have to be 100 years old to be and antique and it's only 95)!
A glimmer of metal here and there kept me going until finally I had it all shined up! And here is the finished product! And I just love the mother-of-pearl topped push-button switches too!
I was really looking forward to the before and after photos (because, you know, I just LIVE for before and after photos!). I had planned to take a "before" picture of one of the other switchplates in the house when I was done. Only after I finished stripping 95 years of history off did I realize that this was the ONLY switchplate of it's kind in the house! ARGH! But it did come out kinda pretty. And there's no turning back unless I have 95 years to wait. After all this, I DO think I'll refrain from messing with the door knobs and leave them their long-earned patina because I kind of DO regret it. Kind of.