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Some facts about copper in history

Some facts about copper in history

Copper Fact 1
Copper is man's oldest metal, dating back more than 10,000 years. A copper pendant discovered in what is now northern Iraq goes back to about 8700 B.C.

Copper Fact 2
Copper is believed to have been used first by Neolithic man as a substitute for stone around 8000 B.C. The science of metallurgy emerged when copper was heated and mold-casted into shapes in Egypt around 4000 B.C. In 3500 B.C., fire and charcoal were used to smelt ores, and copper was alloyed with tin to create bronze, giving rise to the Bronze Age.

Copper Fact 3
The Romans obtained their copper from Cyprus. It was called aes Cyprium, which means "metal of Cyprus." This was shortened to cyprium. Later, cyprium was changed to coprum, and eventually became known in English as copper.

Copper Fact 4
In ancient Egypt, many everyday items like water vessels, hand mirrors, razors and the chisels used to smooth the limestone blocks of the great pyramids were made of copper. It was also instrumental in agriculture. Copper picks and hoes were used to harvest crops - in this world and in the next. Some 168 miniature copper farming implements, buried with King Tut to serve him in the afterlife, were recovered from his tomb.

Copper Fact 5
Greek soldiers wore bronze armor and wielded bronze weapons. Bronze rams on the prows of their fast galleys helped sink the Persian fleet at the climactic battle of Salamis. The ahead-of-their-times Egyptians performed complex medical operations with copper-alloy instruments, and copper in various forms was a mainstay in their medicine chests. In the ancient world, food was cooked and served in bronze or brass kitchenware. Water was - and still is - stored in copper and brass vessels to prevent growth of pathogens.

Copper Fact 6
Bronze mirrors allowed ancient potentates and people of high stature to admire themselves, as well as their copper jewelry. All the while, their garments were held together with copper alloy fittings.

Copper Fact 7
Early local traders - and later, world travelers - depended on coins made of copper or its alloys. Today, nations around the globe still do.

Copper Fact 8
Copper metallurgy flourished in South America, particularly in Peru, around the beginning of the first millennium AD. Ceremonial and ornamental objects show the use of hammering and annealing (heating and cooling to soften and temper the metal). Copper was most commonly alloyed with gold and silver during the time when the Mayans, Incans and Aztecs reigned in Central and South America.

Copper Fact 9
The dead sea scrollsOne of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls found in Israel is made of copper instead of more fragile animal skins. The scroll contains no biblical passages or religious writings - only clues to a still undiscovered treasure.

Copper Fact 10
A museum at the University of Pennsylvania displays a copper frying pan that has been dated to be more than 50 centuries old.

Copper Fact 11
The first example of copper to clad the underwater hull of a ship was the H.M.S Alarm in 1761. It was used to prevent attack of the wooden hull by the Teredo worm in tropical waters. The copper was also found to reduce biofouling of the hull very significantly, which gave ships a great advantage of speed when compared with those dragging around a vast growth of marine weed. The cladding kept ships in commission at times when others had to be dry-docked or careened on a shore for hull scraping. This significantly enlarged the effective strength of the British Navy.

Copper Fact 12
The H.M.S. Beagle, used by Charles Darwin for his historic voyages around the world, was built in 1825 with copper skins below the water line. The copper sheathing extended hull life and protected against barnacles and other kinds of biofouling. Today, most seagoing vessels use a copper-containing paint for hull protection.

Copper Fact 13
In 1797, Paul Revere, of Revolutionary War fame, produced the copper hull sheathing, bronze cannon, spikes and pumps for the U.S.S. Constitution, known as "Old Ironsides." Revere was one of the earliest American coppersmiths.

Copper Fact 14
Developed to prevent seawater corrosion in marine piping systems, the marine industry soon recognized that Cu-Ni alloys have natural antifouling properties that prevent the buildup of waterborne organisms on ship hulls and offshore marine equipment. Ships that use copper-nickel cladding on their hulls do not require the application of special antifouling coatings or extensive cleaning methods to remove biofouling agents. With fewer clinging barnacles, vessels move faster through the water and use less fuel.

Copper Fact 15
Most modern-day hull protection for boats and ships is accomplished using specially formulated copper-based paints. They inhibit the attachment of barnacles, zebra mussels, slime and algae, and other biotic and aquatic organisms, enabling great speed and efficiency for water vessels.

Copper Fact 16
Zebra mussels, brought to North America on freighters from Europe, are kept from clogging the water intakes of power companies around the Great Lakes through the use of copper alloy screens that reject their attachment and impede growth. Copper sulfate crystals are used to treat the water in other infested areas.

Copper Fact 17
A copper strip barrier can keep snails and slugs from entering your garden. The slime they generate creates an electrical charge when contacting the copper and discourages the pests from crossing. Mount the strips around the perimeter of garden beds or containers, and be sure overhanging foliage does not provide an alternative path.

Copper Fact 18
The boilers on Robert Fulton's steamboats were made from copper.

Copper Fact 19
Copper cookware is the most highly regarded by chefs around the world. Its noted advantages - high heat transfer (the highest of any material used in cooking) plus uniform heating (no hot spots).

Copper Fact 20
Restaurateurs, hoteliers and interior decorators look to copper and brass as naturally inviting metals that make a statement of quality, comfort and beauty.

Copper Fact 21
Some things never change. Ten thousand years ago, cave dwellers used copper axes as weapons and tools for survival. Today, high tech surgeons save lives and precious blood by using copper-clad scalpels. The copper conducts an electric current that heats the scalpel to make it self-cauterizing.

Copper Fact 22
The first copper deposit worked extensively in America (by non-native Americans) is located in Granby, Connecticut. It was operated from 1705 until 1770.

Copper Fact 23
Copper and brass tokens are used in slot machines, video and other amusement games, public transportation, bridges and toll roads, laundry and dry cleaning machines, rental golf carts, buckets of balls at driving ranges, and as commemorative medallions, among other uses.

Copper Fact 24
In mid-November 1997, Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to issue a new dollar coin to replace the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which the public had trouble distinguishing from the quarter. The Sacajawea dollar coin, introduced in 2000, is a gold-colored clad coin made up of 88.5% copper. It has been followed by a series of dollar coins which depict each of the U.S. presidents.

Copper Fact 25
The penny contains only 2.6% copper. In 1982, the U.S. Mint converted production of the 95% copper penny to a predominantly zinc alloy, but coated it with copper to preserve its appearance.

Copper Fact 26
The U.S. nickel is actually 75% copper. The dime, quarter, and half dollar coins contain 91.67% copper.

Copper Fact 27
Copper reinforcing rivets for denim jeans, now standard on most brands of jeans originated in 1873 when a customer of Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada, tailor complained that his pants pockets kept on ripping. Davis' solution was to use copper rivets to reinforce the pockets and other points of stress on the jeans manufactured by Levi Strauss & Company, San Francisco. The solution was so successful that Davis decided to patent the concept. Since the patent expired in 1891, many manufacturers of work clothes reinforce their products with copper rivets.

Copper Fact 28
On July 4, 2005, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft jettisoned a 770 pound, solid copper bullet into the comet Tempel 1. A camera and infrared spectrometer on the spacecraft, along with ground based observatories, analyzed the resulting icy debris, as well as the comet's interior material exposed by the impact and were able to determine the composition of one of the oldest objects in the solar system. Copper was used because it of its unique ability to not generate confusing emission lines in the spectroscopic images being analyzed.

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