Important Discoveries of Metal

Jess L.


By: Jess L.

The Discovery of Gold

6000 BC

Gold, which has a chemical symbol of 'Au', was the first metal to be discovered. Although, in many of the early artifacts to be discovered, there was not actually 100% gold- it was usually mixed with silver. Gold is found scattered in the earth's crust, and is used a lot today for jewelry!

The Discovery of Copper

4200 BC

Because of the common use of copper, it became a lot less rare and more popular when it was first discovered. Its chemical symbol is 'Cu' coming from the Latin term meaning "From the island of Cyprus". After being discovered, copper was used widely for weapons, tools and jewelry.

The Discovery of Silver

4000 BC

Silver, with the chemical symbol of 'Ag' is the most active of the Noble metals. Because this metals was so soft it was used more for non-stressful uses, like jewelry, ornaments, and even to show off wealth.

The Discovery of Lead

3500 BC

Lead is not a metal found freely in nature, but it has been proved that lead sulfide or Galena was once used for the eye makeup on Ancient Egyptians. Nowadays, because of lead's malleability and lack of corrosive properties, it's widely used for making pipes. The chemical symbol for lead is 'Pb'.

The Discovery of Tin

1750 BC

Again, natural tin does not exist in nature, and the first artifacts found containing any tin were discovered all the way back to 2000 BC. Tin was first thought to be a form of lead at first, and it was rarely used back then; the most common uses were when it was alloyed together with copper forming bronze. One plus side to tin is that it is pretty resistant to corrosion.

The Discovery of (smelted) Iron

1500 BC

Iron was the metal most known for making strong, seemingly flawless weapons. There is such a thing as native iron, which was collected from meteors, but Iron can also be man made, though Iron making didn't become 'normal' until around 1200 BC.In the early days, Iron was 5 TIMES more expensive than gold- imagine that! The chemical symbol for Iron is 'Fe'.

The Discovery of Mercury

750 BC

Mercury was another one of those metals that was found in ancient times, in fact some artifacts found in tombs containing mercury are dated back to 1500 BC! The thing that I find most interesting about Mercury is that it remains to be the only metal that can remain a liquid at room temperature- really fascinates me! Back in the day, mercury was used to clean gentlemen's top hats, and as the fumes from mercury can cause dementia and an almost seemingly insanity, the term 'mad as a hatter' was formed- imagine how dizzy the hat makers must have been! The chemical symbol for Mercury is Hg.

The Develpoment of Platinum


In Mexico, the Spanish discovered a metal called Platinum- Even though it wasn't always 100% pure, it WAS in fact the first metal to be sourced in the 'New World'! The chemical symbol for Platinum is 'Pt'.

The Discovery of Arsenic


Arsenic was discovered in the 13th Century by a man named Albertus Magnus. When arsenious oxide was heated with twice its weight of soap, it became metallic. Arsenic is a poison, and is most commonly used in some mouse and rat traps. The chemical symbol for Arsenic is 'As'.

The Discovery of Antimony

1560 AD

Anitmony was created in 1560 when Agricola roasted stibium or antimony-sulphide in an iron pot. The chemical symbol for antimony is 'Sb'.

The Discovery of Bismuth

1595 AD

Bismuth was created when the oxide was reduced with carbon. Bismuth was not officially named as an element until the year 1753!

The Discovery of 11 New Metals!

1700 - 1799

Cobalt, Nickel, Manganese, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Tellurium, Beryllium, Chromium, Uranium, Zirconium, and Yttrium were 'discovered' in a way throughout the 1700's- all of the metals were only Lab specimens and were all reduced by Carbon, EXCEPT for Tungsten, which was the first metal to be reduced by the element hydrogen.

The Naming of Zinc as an Element

1738 AD

It's said that Zinc was available and used by the Chinese as early as 1400, but it wasn't until a man named William Champion patented a zinc distillation process. Before William Champions experiments and discoveries, zinc was called Indian Tin or Pewter. The chemical symbol for Zinc is 'Zn'.