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Questions tagged [metallurgy]

The technical science about theoretical and practical use of metals, their alloys, and preparing them to use.

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37 votes
7 answers
44k views

To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?

When Europeans started showing up in the New World, the native cultures were technologically far behind. Many still used stone tools: North American tribes used flint, while some Mesoamerican cultures ...
Travis Christian's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why did Chinese use high tin bronze for swords?

Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17–21% tin) which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually 10%),...
DVK's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
6k views

How did Mongol nomads acquire metal weapons?

Metal-working requires a furnace, heavy tools and of-course metal ore and yet nomadic Mongols were able to obtain metal weapons, so either they worked metal or traded it. But if they worked metal how ...
JustSomeDude's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
5k views

When and how did the West lose its dependency on the USSR for titanium?

This question was prompted by another one. A long time ago, before I well-documented my internet research, I looked into the history of titanium, its procurement, refinement, and work-ability. I ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

For those who don't know, the Ulfberht sword was a Viking weapon of the finest quality, made with exquisite skill from the best materials available. They were produced between 800 and 1000 CE in ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
7k views

Did any Native Americans make tomahawks from metal?

I'm curious about the evolution of the tomahawk among (North American) Native American peoples like the Algonquin. I assume early versions of the tomahawk had the head made from stone (please correct ...
SeligkeitIstInGott's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
7k views

Was bronze ever used for chainmail?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on mail, more commonly known as chainmail, when I saw a mention that mail could be made with bronze. The section in general did not appear to be talking about ...
Random's user avatar
  • 3,626
11 votes
1 answer
308 views

When were public roads cleaned electromagnetically?

In the first half of the 20th century, tires were more often punctured, so metal waste on the roadway was a bigger problem. The book "Lorries, Trucks and Vans 1897-1927" features an electromagnetic ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
425 views

When did we begin using metal mesh platforms?

I am trying to find the first time we used metal meshes as platforms, like in the image above. I though that a good starting point would be to find the moment metal meshes were created. Unfortunately,...
Saturn's user avatar
  • 219
10 votes
1 answer
612 views

In the 18th century, who built ships built using two-pointed nails?

On April 20th 1774, near Carmel, California, Juan Bautista de Anza wrote in his diary about finding the mast of a ship of unknown origin (his compatriot Garcés did not record it). Here is his complete ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

When did leaf springs appear in vehicles?

Passenger vehicles require suspensions for ride comfort. Most today use helical springs, but leaf springs were at one time a major advance over chain or leather strap suspensions, and are still used ...
user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why didn't North American tribes use bog iron?

Travis's question got me to thinking that may be the relative infrequency of use of ironworking in the Old World was due to the fact that there was no easy availability of bog iron - which was one of ...
DVK's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
476 views

What is the origin of this medallion?

I want to get information on what looks like a medallion that my father found at a construction site (at his home) in 1968 in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. It was found about 10 feet underground. It ...
Dance Party's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did ancient Greeks harden steel weapons?

Let's limit this question to the Classical period (c. 5th-4th centuries BC) Did Greeks harden their iron swords, spearheads, arrowheads etc. before putting them into use? Was hardening technology ...
Eldritch Sandwich's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
294 views

Did bronze metallurgical development peak by the end of the bronze age?

There is a lot of talk, books, and science about the development of iron into increasing qualities and types of steel, but I do not see the same attention given to bronze. This is not counting the ...
Barry Lincoln's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
575 views

How much gold did humans possess by century starting with Neolithic?

Where can I find an approximate chart of total mass of metallic gold in possession of humans by centuries starting with Neolithic? I also would like to see this detailed by civilization/culture.
Anixx's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
148 views

Could a Hellenistic era smith discover the composition of an alloy? [closed]

Assuming a smith from the Hellenistic era of ancient Greece was given a lump of metal (specifically a gold alloy) and asked to produce more of the same kind of alloy, what methods would they have ...
AlienAtSystem's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
181 views

Is there any research on specific details of ancient/medieval blacksmithing related to microelements added via plants?

I have seen the following claim a couple of times before (all in Russian popular science type sources). However, I was never able to find historical OR scientific/technology research directly backing ...
DVK's user avatar
  • 17.8k
4 votes
0 answers
725 views

How much iron ore could a medieval miner extract per day?

I am finding really hard to find an answer to this question. There are some numbers available online, but first of all the numbers range quite a lot from different sources, then they are given for a ...
Redirectk's user avatar
  • 149
4 votes
0 answers
122 views

Where and when were the earliest bronzes made which intentionally added tin to copper?

I’m trying to update my understanding of the early timeline of bronze use in Eurasia. Much of my knowledge on the subject came from the 1976 edition of Tylecote’s History of Metallurgy, which is now ...
richard's user avatar
  • 149
3 votes
2 answers
14k views

How was iron obtained in ancient times? [closed]

Today we have advanced machines to mine iron, but it was not so a millennium ago. How did our ancestors locate the presence of iron deposits, mine them and make weapons out of them? How did they ...
Sisir Simha's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
286 views

How did the Ancient Greeks forge and shape metal gears?

The closest to answer I've gotten is this video: Wikipedia: Making gears by hand without machines However, I don't really know if Archimedes and his contemporaries would have the above tools or not. I'...
James Newton's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
110 views

Did the ancient Egyptians really know that meteorite iron came from meteorites? [closed]

A dagger from Tutankhamun's tomb was probably made of meteorite iron. Quote translated from German from a newspaper article: "Researchers assume, based on hieroglyphics that apparently described ...
Siegfried's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
311 views

What would one call a skilled metal worker in Jerusalem, circa 600 BC?

I'm doing research for a book of fiction in which the main character is a skilled metalworker in ancient Jerusalem, circa 600 BC. I want to be authentic and historically accurate. This person is ...
HerrimanCoder's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
233 views

Are tungsten ammunition cores still to be found on European WW2 battlefields?

With ammunition sometimes missing target and penetrator cores sometimes exiting the other side of the target, i imagine tungsten cores fired during WW2 were seldom collected. Are they still found ...
HannesH's user avatar
  • 1,497
0 votes
0 answers
75 views

How did early metalsmiths devise tools?

As I understand it, the refining of ore requires, at at least one point, the direct handling of high-temperature or molten metal. I can see early coppersmiths beating stone hammers on flat rocks, but ...
Evan's user avatar
  • 11
-2 votes
2 answers
552 views

Sources of iron in the middle east

In the time around 7th century AD, the use of swords and shields was common in the middle east. They should've required iron for that. They didn't know much about smelting. So, how did they get the ...
tryingtobeastoic's user avatar