A Brief History of Copper

Copper is one of those metals you see everywhere and maybe take for granted. But with the trends today toward “being green” metals like copper are enjoying resurgence in popularity, especially in fields from medicine to home décor.

But how much do you really know about this metal? For those who want to learn more, here is a brief history of copper.

Copper: An Overview

Copper is formed in volcanic areas with high concentrations of sulfur, which when under a great deal of pressure become hot sulfuric gases. With a melting point of almost two thousand degrees Fahrenheit, copper is a very stable element that does not degrade or become corrupted easily.

This is one of the aspects that have made copper so useful to humans, as it does not rust or break easily. Copper is one of only two metals that is colored; the other is gold.

Copper and Humans

Copper is has a long history of making life easier for humans. Copper first appeared over ten thousand years ago, found by archeologists among other ruins of human civilization, and was mentioned in the Old Testament. Additionally, copper was the first metal mined by humans and crafted into useful tools. Throughout the history of all people, copper has played a role in medicine, culture, and technology serving as money, a means of sterilization, and even armor.

Modern Uses

Unlike some other materials that were popular thousands of years ago but have been replaced by newer and better construction materials, copper is used today as much or more than it was in the past. In America, copper mining began in the Western part of the country during the late nineteen century and continues to modern day. Some current uses for copper include:

  • Computer chips
  • Solar energy power collectors
  • Space shuttle
  • Coins (nickels, dimes, quarters, pennies, and half dollars all include copper)

The future of copper

Copper is unique because it has a strong history, is used frequently in modern fields, and is likely to have a very real place in the future of mankind as well. Some properties that make copper so appealing for the future include:

  • Malleability – copper can be shaped in many ways
  • High conductivity – makes copper very useful for electronic and technologic applications
  • Recyclability – copper can be recycled almost indefinitely without losing its advantageous properties

From science to construction, from the home to hospitals, copper is here today and will be here tomorrow. One of the most versatile and useful metals, copper plays an essential role in civilization.