Finding out all about Copper

Copper is one of the first metals that human beings started to use. As stone axes and flint heads became recognised as hard work to use, copper was a metal that could be easily melted and moulded into various other shapes. The plough, for example, made the tilling of soil much easier. This led to farming being established and the basics of food production. Copper Arrowheads could bring down animals quicker, leading to an increase in meat in our diets. It also enabled us to create armour, and jewellery and, most importantly, let us develop pipes for the channelling of water. You only have to look at the increased use of Copper Pipe Fittings from to see that the use of copper as a building material is still very much in evidence. Copper is also great at conducting heat and electricity. It really is a wonderful material.

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Have you ever needed a plumber? It’s very likely that you have. Why are they referred to as being Plumbers, as opposed to, say, water course technicians? The answer comes from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. Early civilisations had used Copper way before. Its first use is thought to be some 8000 years BC before. In fact, copper was the first metal to be mixed with another type, tin, to create Bronze. The Bronze age saw a glorious period of human development, away from the Caves and Field systems to proper, fully functioning societies in an Urban environment. By the time the Romans came along, our understanding of copper and its properties were fully established. Plumbers come from the word cuprum and plumbum (meaning lead).

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Copper is also used in the building trade. It was very popular in the Victorian era to finish off rooves. It’s why you’ll see so many green-roofed and domed buildings for that period. Firstly, Copper is malleable and can be beaten into useful shapes, especially rounded ones. It’s also brilliant at resisting rust, another factor that makes it popular for rooves. Although it starts a sort of reddish-golden brown colour, if it’s exposed to water for too long, it becomes green.

Finally, it’s also essential to the health of our bodies. That’s not to say you should start munching on a bit of pipe or have copper fillings in your tea! It just requires a trace element, which means virtually nothing. The important part of copper in the body is that it provides cytochrome c oxidase. This is great for helping keep the lungs, liver and muscles healthy.

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