By MTS Staff
Trucking is more than a profession, it's a lifestyle. And, trucks - Macks, Peterbilts and Kenworths - have long transcended being mere modes of transport. It's a culture that elicits its own embellishments and personalization. There is a freedom of expression when truckers customize their rigs and a power behind the metallics and chrome of a well-loved truck.
Chrome plating (less commonly chromium plating), often referred to simply as chrome, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal or plastic object. The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or increase surface hardness. Sometimes a less expensive imitator of chrome may be used for aesthetic purposes.
Prior to the application of chrome in the 1920s, nickel electroplating was used. In the short production run prior to the US entry into the Second World War, the government banned plating to save chromium and automobile manufacturers painted the decorative pieces in a complementary color. In the last years of the Korean War, the US contemplated banning chrome in favor of several cheaper processes (such as plating with zinc and then coating with shiny plastic). (Source: Wikipedia).
There are actually three plating processes for Chrome (Source: National Metal Finishing Resource Center):
- Hard Chrome which refers to the process of electrodepositing a thick layer (0.2 mils to 30 mils or more) of chromium. This type of process is typically seen in smaller parts such as rods and cylinders, shock absorbers, etc.
- Decorative Chrome is when a thinner layer of chrome is deposited over nickel or copper plus nickel. You'll see this finish on bumpers, kitchen appliances, truck parts.
- Black Chromium uses a black coating rather than the traditional silver and is commonly used in solar applications.
Truckers have been embellishing their rigs with decorative chrome for decades.
Here are a few Vintage Big Rigs we found on the Classics Pinterest Board