Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting To Know Our Ancient Coin Metals

One of our Ancient Peddler members asked a question about bronze and after doing a bit of research I realized how little many of us know about coin metals. I will share some things I discovered about bronze. If you can add to my list, please do and please let us know what you have learned.

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.

Bronze was developed as an alloy thousands of years ago.

Obviously, the Bronze Age was called that because of development of bronze.

Historians believe bronze was “created” as early as 3000 BC.

Bronze is tougher that its parent metal copper.

Bronze is very resistant to corrosion.

Bronze has a relatively low melting point.

Bronze used to manufacture bells is called “Bell Metal” and is created by adding tin.

Statuary bronze will have as little as 10% tin.

Zinc is added to bronze alloy to add strength for the manufacture of bearings and weapons.

Phosphor is often added to bronze to add more strength.

Manganese is often added to bronze to increase strength and machinability.

I hope you find these facts about bronze interesting and I am wondering if the ancients knew some of these things such as adding zinc. I have always been interested in metals and wood and I hope I have not bored you with my personal interest in bronze.. God Bless.. Jerry..


ripley said...

Good stuff kidzzzz....Remember, too much electrolysis will draw the tin out of the bronze and ruin your coin. Traci

John Rieske said...

The earliest alloys that created bronze contained arsenic, usually present in the copper ores used in Mesopotamia. Arsenic bronze first appeared concurrently with copper items which were harden via a process called hammer tempering. Hammer tempered copper and bronze is significantly harder than the unhammered metals, sometimes even approaching the strength of iron and low grade steel.