The History of Metal

When answering questions such as “how long has metal been used?” and “what is metal?” the answers can be surprising. Since we always see metal around us, we take its uses and existence for granted.

We know what metal is when we see it, and most of us can remember metal being a crucial component of construction for our whole lives. However, actually defining what metal is and identifying when it first came into construction can be tricky. If you want to know more about the history of metal, what it is, and how long it’s been around, keep reading below.

What is metal?

Simply put, metal is a shiny material that can be reflective when polished. It tends to be a strong conductor of heat and electricity. Metals frequently used for construction and building include steel, copper, and bronze. Other metals are also often incorporated into construction projects, as well.

Many construction and building professionals enjoy working with metal because it is easy to hammer or mold it into shape with the proper tools. It is also strong and durable. We can see metal structures such as bridges and railroad tracks that have stood the test of time over centuries. Although metal isn’t ideal for some projects, it is a versatile material with many different uses.

How long has metal been used?

While various societies have been using metal for centuries, the earliest modern recollection of metal in construction seems to be around the 18th century. Today, we see evidence of metal use in buildings that were constructed in Great Britain as early as the 1700s. Naturally, there may be some cases where metal was used in construction before this. However, it took time for our societies to develop the proper tools to use metal as a construction material. Although earlier societies could use metal to create tools, making buildings out of metal required advanced technology and manpower that were not available before the 1700s.

After the 18th century, metal was used during the late 1800s as a very popular medium for construction professionals at the time. As they called them at the time, “portable iron houses” grew in popularity for folks trying their luck during the gold rush and heading to areas that promised prosperous wealth. Overall, metal construction has been especially popular since then.

From the Second World War to modern times, steel has been widely used to support structures and erect temporary shelters. Steel is a strong metal, so it makes sense that it’s so common to build various structures like bridges, houses, and commercial buildings. It’s also popular for use in jewelry and electronic goods.

Since 1980, J.F. Heat Treating Inc has been your local professional metallurgy and heat treatment company. We provide all types of heat-treating services to soften, harden, relieve stress, or remove contaminants from your metal parts and components. 


Read More

Leave a Reply