Small buttons, such as are got in assaying most gold ores, are placed on a polished steel anvil and flattened by one or two blows with a hammer. The flattened discs are heated to dull redness on a clean cupel and are then ready for parting. Somewhat larger buttons may be similarly treated, but they
should be annealed (i.e. heated to redness and allowed to cool) during the flattening. The silver-gold alloy left from the cupellation is soft and bends like lead; but after hammering or rolling it becomes harder, gets a spring in it like a piece of mainspring and cracks or splits somewhat easily. There should be no cracks or stripping or even roughness on the flattened metal, since such defects may cause the loss of small particles either during the flattening or in the subsequent treatment with acid. The softness of the metal is restored by heating. In bullion assays the flatting of the buttons requires care and practice for its skilful working. The strips of alloy for parting should be of uniform thickness and condition so that the action of the acid shall be equal in all cases. The button is taken from the cupel, cleaned and placed on the anvil: it is then struck a heavy blow which widens it to about ¾ inch in diameter; this blow is followed by two others, one a little in front, the other behind, which lengthen the disc and give a very blunt roof-like slope to its upper face. It should then be annealed. This may be done by putting it in a just red-hot scorifier heated in a muffle: it very soon attains the right heat and may then be transferred to a cold scorifier; the hot scorifier should be put back into the muffle. The softened disc is then taken to the rolls (Fig. 45). The rolls are loosened until the disc can be pressed between them. Looking through the interval between them the rolls should appear exactly parallel; if they are not, one adjusting screw should be loosened and the other tightened until parallelism is obtained. The rolls are now turned and the disc should be drawn through without any great effort. Beginners are apt to err by trying to do too much with one turn of the handle. It is easy to stop whilst the rolls are only just gripping the metal and then to bring the disc back by reversing the action. If the disc was originally level
and the rolls are parallel, the metal will appear as a strip which has been merely lengthened. If the rolls are tighter on one side the strip will be bowed; the tighter side will correspond with the outer curve of the crescent. A mistake of this kind may be amended by passing the strip through the rolls the other way, so as to reverse the irregularity and so straighten the strip. The screw on the looser side should then be tightened until parallelism is obtained; after which more care should be taken to tighten the two screws equally. The rolling should be stopped when the strip is 3 or 4 inches long and of the thickness of an ordinary visiting card. The strip should be annealed during the rolling and again at the finish.