Copper alloys and compositions in 1848

Commemorative copper alloy plaque/pavement cover, Albion Yard, former site of copper and other metal smiths, near King's Cross, London.

Commemorative copper alloy plaque/pavement cover, Albion Yard, former site of copper and other metal smiths, near King’s Cross, London.

The Mining Almanack of 1849, compiled by Henry English is a fount of information and trivia helpful to those interested in historical metallurgy as well as those curious about the operation and output of mines.

Here is a list of alloys and compositions which contained copper. Of the 21 alloys listed 14 contain copper.

Perhaps our histories of the copper industry are too simplistic when we only look at copper ore and metal ‘output’. The sheer variety of materials and products copper transformed is mind blowing. There follows a post which lists alloys used in other types of products such as candelabras and bells for mantle clocks.  Continue reading

The infinite recyclability of copper (was Pittsburg Library’s roof)

Janet Lewis installs copper sculptures (Credit: Janet Lewis)

Janet Lewis installs copper sculptures (Credit: Janet Lewis)

In my weekly trawl of copper stories, I came across this article on the new art adorning Pittsburg Public Library. Metal smith Janet Lewis, herself a previous reference librarian, now metalworker, reused the old copper from the library‘s roof to create a series of 14 sculptures, entitled ‘Legacy’ for the as part of the library’s refurbishment.

Inspired by the shapes and patterns Lewis saw during a visit to Beijing’s imperial Forbidden City, she spent over 500 hours bringing out the metal’s natural shapes and patterns, working with the clean metal found between the lead solder and caulking used in the construction of the original roof. A range of photos of the works can be seen on Pittsburg Public Library’s facebook page. Janet Lewis’ other work also involves reusing found and natural materials. Continue reading