This content is about the type of nickel plating in use on motorcycles from the earliest days, through to about 1928/29. After this point bright parts on motorcycles were generally finished in chrome plate (over the top of nickel).
It's a long time (getting on 10 years) since I last had some plating done, and that was chrome for my '31 New Hudson. In the meantime, both platers I have used over the years have ceased to exist. So I had to do some research to find the correct type of nickel plating, and where I could get it done.
The original nickel process has long been referred to as "Dull Nickel", but I believe the correct term is Nickel Sulfamate. This was the industry standard prior to around 1933. After this, bright nickel came along, and by it's very name gives a different finish. It is also generally applied in a much thinner coating.
Dull nickel is dull as it comes out from the tanks, but can be polished up quite successfully, giving a mellow, slightly golden hue. As it can be applied/built up to greater thicknesses without becoming brittle, it can be used to build up areas of wear/corrosion. I eventually found a plater in Leeds who lists nickel sulfamate plating, so I'm just getting a small batch together to take in and find out how the results turn out.
One thing to be careful of, is the initial buffing process, it is very easy to irreversibly lose engraved or embossed detail due to over-enthusiastic buffing operations. My Enfield prototype came with original Enfield hubs already replated by the previous custodian. They should both be engraved with the words "Enfield Manufacturing Co. Ltd". Annoyingly there is only the barest trace of the tops of the letters left, due to abrasive buffing wheels. Similar problems apply to wheel rims, carburettor components, control levers, petrol and oil tank caps, flip top oilers. Better to give clear WRITTEN instructions over with your parts to minimise the amount of buffing where appropriate.