1955 original kitchen, redoing cabinets, how do you clean copper hardware, ours is black. Thanks
It sounds like it was painted, so start by stripping off the paint. Hopefully it isn't powder coated, that is much harder to take care of. If it is paint, go to the thrift store and buy a small, cheap pot. You want something you can throw away or dedicate to non cooking use in the event there is lead in the paint you are removing. You also need heat resistant, waterproof gloves, paper towels, and fine Scotch Brite pads or my favorite, 000 or finer steel wool.
Remove the hardware from the cabinets and put it in the pot, then cover by an inch with water. Put it on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil, after five or ten minutes the paint should begin to soften and bubble. You can also do this with a heat gun, or even a torch, but boiling is effective most of the time, and you are less likely to damage the hardware, injure yourself, or set the house on fire.
After the paint softens, remove the hardware with tongs or a spoon, then use the steel wool to rub off the softened paint. You may have to repeat the cycle if the paint is thick or stubborn, but it works in most cases. You can achieve the same results by substituting paint remover (nor paint thinner), just be sure to read and follow the instructions, for example sever products cannot be used with aluminium.
When the paint is gone, drill holes in a piece of scrap wood, install the hardware on the scrap, and use buffing pads on your electric drill to bring them up to a high shine.