I will not be wrong to call the iron the most precious metal known to us. You would ask, why? It should be recognized that we would be heavily deprived in absence of iron. Without this metal, we would not have a big deal of many inventions, and our life probably would not be as comfortable as it is now. It is for this reason I dare to say that although iron is one of the most common metals on earth, but at the same time it is the most precious for humanity.
Numerous myths surround the origin of iron and its access to the people’s hands. Legends says that iron was a gift of Gods to humans; scientists say that people started using this metal from fallen meteors. However, currently iron is extracted from several naturally occurring sources. It is believed that the properties of this metal were noticed for the first time when heating the meteoric stones in the fire. Iron began to melt, and then froze again. Until the creation of a furnace metal was heated in a variety of ways, in fireplaces and the like.
Scientists have proven that iron has been used since prehistoric times. The first written records of civilizations contain the information that already about 7000 years ago this popular metal was used in households. It was found that in China they used an alloy similar to steal around about 2550 years before Christ. Greek poets have mentioned that their ancestors began to melt iron and even did it in a number of different ways much earlier than it is believed.
It was found that iron items were used in households less often than the bronze; for this reason, scientists believe that the Bronze Age and the metalworking has started prior to the iron age. In fact, bronze is much more easily extracted and processed. It is believed that bronze processing ceased about 500 years before Christ, when it was completely replaced with iron. The main reasons for this were significant decline in the copper content and abundance of iron on the earth’s surface. The first to process iron were Hindus, then their techniques were taken over by Europeans tribes, such as the Etruscans who lived in northern Italy.
After the collapse of the great Roman Empire, iron production was most intensely developed in Spain. Toledo city smiths were widely famous throughout Europe. These craftsmen have been invited to France, Germany, where they presented metalworking techniques and brought the first blast furnaces in the Central European region.
It was then that cast iron and various iron alloys suitable for molding products, were discovered. For example, fences and gates, the rod after rod were simply cast in and combined into a single workpiece. Later, with the strengthening of the British Empire, iron processing technology began to develop intensively in this country.
Iron mining in the Baltic area started in the end of the first millennium BC. Researchers also find the remains of iron smelting furnaces in our country, the remains date back to the fourth century. It is believed that they melt the iron from local bog ore with charcoal. In Lithuania, most of the iron ore is found near Varena.
Nowadays iron is usually processed in factories. The main and most commonly used iron alloy is steel. Steel is used in construction and other industrial applications. Cast irony is still used in vehicle production. However, you can still find processed iron in a smithery. Modern craftsmen are engaged in making decorative products; often, they include the following: stair railings, fences and gates, outdoor lighting fixtures, outdoor handrails, sculptures. Thus, over the centuries, the use of iron, and particularly the manufacturing processes were constantly changing, but did not decrease the importance of metal, which was constantly growing. Thus, while the iron is one of the most common metals on earth, and maybe in the universe, it is also the most precious metal for the humanity.