About Copper

historic building with green copper roof

The element copper has been an essential material to man since the prehistoric time. In fact, one of the major 'ages' or stages of human history is named after a copper alloy: bronze.

In the history of copper, one can follow human progress. Copper was the first metal used by man in any quantity. The earliest workers in copper soon found that it could be easily hammered into sheets and the sheets in turn worked into shapes which became more complex as their skill increased.

After the introduction of bronze, a wide range of castings also became possible. Many of the illustrations on this site show man's strides in metal-working, culminating in the priceless inheritance of the Renaissance craftsmen. But copper and its principal alloys, bronze and brass, have always been more than a means of decorative embellishment.
Although iron became the basic metal of every Western civilisation from Rome onwards, copper metals were used when strength and durability properties were required. The ability to resist corrosion ensured that copper, bronze and brass remained as both functional and decorative materials during the Middle Ages and the successive centuries through the Industrial Revolution and on to the electric innovations of present day.
history of copper timeline-the metal of civilisation

60 Centuries of Copper

By B Webster Smith


The story of copper and its principal alloys, bronze and brass, is virtually a chronicle of human endeavor since man emerged from the Stone Age. The ubiquity of the copper metals and their contribution to every civilization since Sumeria and Pre-Dynastic Egypt gives them a unique position in the history of technology.

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