2/9/16

Copper . . .

Let me tell you a little bit about copper. Yes, copper. NOT "copper" as in the 1920s ganster "Now-lissy-heuh-COPPAH." NOT "copper" as in the dog in Fox and the Hound. NOT "copper" as in the BBC drama that I've watched on Netflix so many times. Nope. Copper. As in . . . copper.

Copper, for the unacquainted, is actually sorta' a big deal around here. I mean - sure - it is not the first place medal of metals (that is gold) and it is not the first prize of jewelry (that is, well, gold (and/or platinum)) and it is not the top of the metal food chain (that is not a real thing) and it might even be the lowest rung on the metal ladder (the friggin' PENNY?) but it is, as stated, a pretty big deal.

Here are twenty "fun facts" about copper. I promise you'll enjoy at least six of them - if not, I owe you a penny.

  1. Copper, "Cu" and element 29 on the periodic table, takes its name from the Latin "cuprum" (which is the island Copper was first discovered - we call it Cyprus)
  2. Copper is one of the first (on the periodic table) metals to be found "pure" in nature and is believed to be 50 parts/million in the earth's crust and the largest single "piece" if it ever found (in Michigan in 1857) weighed 420 tonnes (one tonne = 1,000 kilograms/2,204 pounds).
  3. Copper was the first metal used by humans, first metal smelted, first metal molded, and first metal intentionally alloyed with another metal (to form bronze - the third place medal on the list of metals).
  4. Copper is essentially to all living beings and humans have some in their liver, bones, and muscle. Other beings carry it in their blood/blood equivalent.
  5. Some of the oldest musical instruments in the world - percusion and air-carrying - were made of copper (partially or entirely).
  6. Copper is, as metals go, extremely soft/malleable. This makes it an excellent material for sculpting and decorative accessorizing on buildings, etc.
  7. Copper is a favorite for those needing to conduct/carry heat and/or electricity.
  8. Relatively volatile, the value of copper is around $2/pound - about 1/70th the value of silver, and about 1/3,383rd the value of gold. 
  9. Copper is the most sanitary of all the metals (surgical steel is an alloy, folks). It is the only metal that the US EPA recognizes as "antimicrobial". 
  10. The first copper plumbing was used in one of the great pyramids in Egypt. It still, technically, works 5,000 years later.
  11. Copper is 100% recyclable (in raw form or after extraction from alloys) and it is believed that 80% of all copper ever mined is still in "use" today. 
  12. Copper is so bad assed that, in history, there is the Copper Age and then the Bronze Age (which is sorta like Copper Age 2: The Remix).
  13. The Statue of Liberty - covered in copper - is a testament to the metal's fortitude. Well over 100 years of salt water, boat exhaust, sun, rain, wind, cold winters, hot summers, and New York attitude have not even remotely damaged the statue's metal.
  14. Chester Copperpot, y'uns.
  15. Those copper bracelets and compression clothes/braces that people swear by for recovery and arthritis? There is no scientific proof behind them but if they make you feel better - yeah copper! It is worth noting that since the early, early days of copper use people have believed it to be medically beneficial.
  16. Copper is used as a dye for glass and pottery craftsmen/artisans (green and brown hues).
  17. There are thought to be 18,100,000,000,000 pounds (18.1 trillion) of copper on the earth. We've mined only about 13% of that since "we" started digging it up and almost all of it is still in use today - and can be reused tomorrow.
  18. Nickel-silver (which is the basis for just about every piece of cutlery in American kitchens) has copper as its primary ingredient.
  19. Copper is the most colorful of all the metals. It comes (natural form) in dozens of hues from reds to near-black and it, when exposed to air and dozens of other chemicals, will change colors either immediately or over time. 
  20. Copper is purdy.

Let me know if you still think I owe you a penny (which may/not be all that copper to begin with).