Copper has been an essential material to man since prehistoric times. It 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, till now we have the shape of copper sheet, copper foil, copper wire and more. In fact, one of the major ‘ages’ or stages of human history is named after a copper alloy: bronze.
After the introduction of bronze, a wide range of castings also became possible. Many of the illustrations serve to show man’s progress as a metal-worker, 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. Copper and copper alloy are also vital products for Nexteck Technology.
Although iron became the basic metal of every Western civilisation from Rome onwards, it was the copper metals which were used when a combination of strength and durability was 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 present day.
The story of copper and its principal alloys — copper nickel alloys, iron-copper alloy—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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