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The Origins of Brass

April 2, 2010

Brass Letter Plate Classic
written by Martin Foley

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc with copper as the major component. It has superb properties which have made it ideal for the manufacture of door furniture and window furniture.

THE ORIGINS OF BRASS

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc with copper as the major component. Brass varies in colour from a dark reddish brown to a light silvery yellow depending on the amount of zinc in the mixture. It is harder than copper alone but softer than steel. It is resistant to corrosion, especially from salt water, which is why it is extensively used to make pipes and tubes, and of course on ships.

Metalworkers in Syria and eastern Turkey knew how to melt copper with tin around 5000 years ago to create bronze. Because tin and zinc ores are sometimes found together and have similar colour and properties, brass was sometimes produced by accident. By AD 300 metalworking in brass was flourishing in Germany and the Netherlands, making items like brass coins.

The first patent which established the basis for today’s brass industry was granted in England in 1781 and really came of age in the manufacture of cartridge casings, being particularly successful in the development of rapid fire automatic weapons.

Today brass is widely used wherever easily shaped strong and corrosion resistant items are required. It can be cast, pressed, turned and spun to create all kinds of products from a tuba to an escutcheon and all the constituents are fully recyclable.

Together with it’s elegant look, it is of course ideal for the manufacture of door furniture and window furniture. Take a look at our wide ranges of brass door knobs and door handles, chunky letter plates, door bells, door knockers and lots more! Items are all traditional designs in solid unlacquered brass the way it used to be! Our nickel and chrome plated items all have solid brass as their base too. What a material!

Click on any of the photos below for a link to the product.

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