Copper

Copper is the first metal to be worked and shaped by humans. Egyptians and Romans used copper for ornate objects such as rings and necklaces. Copper is very malleable. Even cold it can be worked. In fact, if you shape copper with a hammer, it will bend but also get tougher, harder ( work-hardening as we call it). Once the process of annealing was discovered,  bending and forming copper became much simpler. Annealing is heating metal to a high temperature to make it more workable. With heat, copper becomes extremely soft and can more easily be made into whatever object the smith might desire. Household items, cooking vessels such as pots and pans became standard fare for a coppersmith by the late middle ages. This continued through the 19th century when a skilled smith who knew copper could readily find work. Eventually, the distilling and brewing industries expanded the opportunities for coppersmiths to ply their trade. Now, the vast majority of copper is used in electrical applications. Copper is not just a good conductor of heat but, also electricity. The salad days of the coppersmithing trade are long gone but, it’s still a useful metal with many advantageous properties.

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