Copper is one of the oldest natural substances known to man. It is a chemical element (CU29) and has been in human use since 8000 BC. It was the first metal to be smelted from its ore in 5000 BC, the first to be cast into a shape in a mould in 4000 BC and the first metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze in 3500 BC.
In ancient times, the Egyptians used the Ankh sign to describe copper. This was also their symbol of Eternal Life. The connection was entirely appropriate as this has always been the main feature of copper and is still used for the metal today all over the world.
Copper mining in the United States has been a major industry since the 1840s. In 2014, production reached 1.37 million metric tonnes worth $9.7 billion, making it the fourth largest copper producer after Chile, China and Peru. As of 2014, the US had 35 million tonnes of known remaining reserves of copper, the fifth largest known reserves of copper in the world, after Chile, Australia, Peru and Mexico.
The best years of British copper mining was in the first half of the 19th Century when mines such as Cornwall produced more than half of the world’s output. To meet their rapidly growing industrial needs they also had to import large quantities from abroad notably from Russia, a country that was then well advanced in copper production, as well as from Chile.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognisable monuments in the world. It is also the measure of the worldwide esteem in which copper is held that the architect, Bartholdi, in constructing this famous structure clothed it with the simple red metal. Millions of tourists from every corner of the world have down the years paid their respects and marvelled at the massive proportions of the Lady.
The copper covering the exterior of the statue is 3/32 of an inch (less than the thickness of two pennies) and the light green colour (called patina) is the result of the natural weathering of the copper.
The statue arrived in New York as a gleaming copper icon, but has long since taken on copper’s distinctive green patina that we see today. The statue was plated with over 80 tons of copper sheet, attached with over 1500 copper saddles and 300,000 copper rivets.
The Statue of Liberty is much more than a monument. She is a beloved friend, a living symbol of freedom to millions around the world. She is a tribute to the people who created her, built and paid for her, to the ideals she represents and to the hopes and dreams she continues to inspire.
For Centuries, copper coins have found their way into millions of people’s pockets and are still being used worldwide. Until 1981, the US one-cent coin was minted with 95% copper, but since that time it contains a mixture of copper and zinc as does most other coins in worldwide circulation.
Why is it that so many cultures place such great importance on copper, and why is it continuing to be used today in the form of body aids? In fact, copper has been used for thousands of years as a folk remedy for many of today’s ailments. It’s not only a vital element for living, but it is also known for its ability to heal wounds, treat lung disorders, sterilize water, and relieve the pain of arthritis.
Copper is also a vital mineral for the survival of the human body. It has been found to regulate the thyroid, strengthen our bones, help to form new cells, and enable iron absorption.
Other health benefits of copper, testified by users worldwide, include growth of the body, efficiency of iron, proper enzymatic reactions, as well as improving tissues, hair and eyes. It has also been proven to prevent premature aging and enhancing energy levels.
But the big health benefits of copper relate to its anti-inflammatory actions that assist in reducing the symptoms of arthritis. The consumer market is now crowded with a myriad of copper aids such as bracelets and footwear insoles that have been proven to relieve the crippling pain associated with the condition.
So now we have seen how copper has become an important part of our everyday lives. For 10,000 years, this simple red metal has been serving us faithfully and with an endless worldwide supply still available it will go on enhancing our lives well into the far distant future.
‘The Magic Of Copper’
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