Copper-zinc alloys were produced as early the 5th millenia BC in China and were widely used in east and central Asia by the 2nd and 3rd century BC. It is likely that the alloys were smelted from zinc-rich copper ores, producing crude brass-like metals.
Greek and Roman documents suggest that the intentional production of alloys similar to modern brass, using copper and a zinc oxide rich ore known as calamine, began around the 1st century BC.
Brass, usually copper alloyed with zinc, is easily shaped, stamped and deep drawn. It has fair electrical conductivity, excellent forming and drawing properties and good strength.
Lead brasses have excellent machining qualities and can be blanked, sheared, sawed and milled.
Different grades of brass, with different amounts of zinc, have different characteristics in surface smoothness, corrosion-resistance, ease and quality of machining, response to plating, ductility levels, chemical and temperature limits. In general, brass is impervious to most common conditions, except for prolonged exterior exposure and substantial abrasion. It tends to yellow from high temperatures. We are often called upon to machine and deep draw brass for decorative items.
One of the objectives of this Brass Gallery is to review the truths and falsehoods surrounding brass in order to better examine its relationship with our lives.