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Descriptions of Brass and Zinc in Mappae Clavicula

Descriptions of Brass and Zinc in Mappae Clavicula

The history of brass is complex, and it defies popular ideas about metallurgy – assuming that alloys are made by melting metals together. Metallic zinc was little known in Europe until the early modern period, but its alloy with copper – brass – was in high demand in antiquity and the middle ages. Recipes typically call for powdered minerals or furnace accretions that (unknown to the ancients) contained zinc, and use a “cementation” process to combine the metals – very different to…

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