He cast crude copper, as obtained from the ore, into plates which were used as anodes, sheets of electro-deposited copper forming the cathodes.
Hence processes have been patented in which the objects to be plated are suspended in revolving drums between the anodes, the rotation of the drum causing the constant renewal of surfaces and affording a burnishing action at the same time.
Care must be taken not to expose goods in the plating-bath to too high a current density, else they may be "burnt"; they must never be exposed one at a time to the full anode surface, with the current flowing in an empty bath, but either one piece at a time should be replaced, or some of the anodes should be transferred temporarily to the place of the cathodes, in order to distribute the current over a sufficient cathode-area.
Very irregular surfaces may require the use of specially shaped anodes in order that the distance between the electrodes may be fairly uniform, otherwise the portion of the cathode lying nearest to the anode may receive an undue share of the current, and therefore a greater thickness of coat.
Supplementary anodes are sometimes used in difficult cases of this kind.