For over 10,000 years, humankind has employed copper in everything from tools to ornamentation. Archeological evidence indicates that ancient Egyptians mined and cast copper for agricultural equipment, cookware, water vessels, and cosmetics, while pre-Columbian South Americans hammered and smelted it to produce decorative and religious objects.
In the 19th century, around North America’s Great Lakes, explorers uncovered copper mines and artifacts, including knives and axes dating back 8,500 years. This strong yet malleable, orangish-red mineral has had a profound impact on history; it effectuated the end of one historic period, the Stone Age, and ushered in the next, the Bronze Age.
Thousands of years later, copper remains indispensable. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, copper ranks third, directly behind iron and aluminum, as the most frequently used industrial metal. Its ductility, thermal and electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion all contribute to its desirability. So, too, does its ability to be recycled repeatedly without any loss to quality or performance.
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