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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 12, March 21, 2010, Article 12

MORE ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COPPER, BRONZE AND BRASS

Joe Boling writes:

Agreeing with Bruce Smith, I have read (and can't tell you where) that ANY amount of zinc in a copper alloy requires use of the term "brass" - no matter how dark the product might be. That always bugged me, because I want my brass to be yellow, but this unremembered source insisted that zinc yields brass. Only a copper-tin alloy could be called "bronze" by this author.

Philip Mernick writes:

I am rather confused by Bruce Smith's comments on brass. In saying that brass did not exist before 1400 he is ignoring low zinc brasses such as latten used for English jettons from about 1280 and Roman brasses used for many coins. Articles such as this kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/4252/1/V55N03_137.pdf show that the Romans had sources of zinc and only when these were exhausted did brass cease to be used for coinage. His comment that more than 1% of zinc indicates a fake is surely wrong. 10% zinc is common in medieval jettons and could easily be achieved using zinc containing ores without the need to refine them to pure metal.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COPPER, BRONZE AND BRASS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n11a09.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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