We know what question keeps you up at night: how is bronze made? ...No? You've never thought about that? ...Huh. Well...good for you.
|Social Studies||History of Technology|
|Technology||History of Technology|
It has to be intentionally made by humans.
People couldn't just whip up a batch of bronze on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. [Woman in kitchen making bronze]
First, we need copper.
And through a little movie magic…boom.
Then we need another natural metal called tin. [Several empty tins]
And believe it or not, ancient folks couldn't just root around in their cupboards for tin [Caveman opens a cupboard to find tinfoil]
…they usually only had Saran wrap back then.
But most major centers of civilization did manage to trade or mine it. [Man trading cattle for tin]
So after we have our copper and tin ready to go, we need to mix them together.
That means that both metals have to be heated to blistering temperatures. [Woman puts copper and tin in a mixing bowl]
We're talking 1000 degrees, which is roughly the temperature of soup after we try to microwave [Soup in a microwave]
This turns them into liquids.
The two liquids can then be mixed and poured into molds to cool.
Like Jello molds…
Sometimes those molds were the shape of the final product, like daggers or shields. [Collection of daggers and shields]
And sometimes the molds were just generic blocks that could be heated and reworked later.
No word on whether or not they used the always-classy poop emoji mold. [Woman pouring molten bronze into a mold]
So there are several reasons why bronze rules and copper drools. [Bronze looking happy and copper looking sad]
First of all, bronze is way harder, its a firmer metal.
Seriously, bronze is just as hard as early iron, which made it the perfect material for
hacking apart your enemies limbs. [Man chucks a bronze sword and kills 3 soldiers]
…We said that more cheerfully than we meant to.
…We promise, we're not sociopaths.
…Moving right along…
Bronze doesn’t corrode. [Bronze statue]
Copper corrodes like crazy, and even iron rusts. [Copper looks worried as it begins to corrode]
That's why most sculptures you see in parks are made out of bird poop. [Statue covered in bird poop]
…Oh, and bronze.
Sometimes it's hard to see underneath the layer of poop.
Alright well here’s the kicker…
Even though bronze was a much harder metal, all the copper in it made it more flexible [Iron gets tired doing jumping jacks and copper carries on]
That meant it was less likely to snap or crack under pressure. [Man snaps his back doing yoga]
…Seriously, we're not sociopaths…
So why didn't everyone run out and get a grab bag of bronze weapons? ['Bronze' handing over a bag of bronze weapons to a kid at a birthday party]
Like most things in life, it was all about the Benjamins.
Bronze was just too expensive. [Man looks shocked at bronze receipt]
Copper wasn't cheap, but there was a lot more of it lying around.
Plus, tin was rare enough that long trade routes crisscrossed the Old World just to [Man chucks a spear at a wild boar]
support the tin trade.
And to top it all off, the process of making bronze required oodles of skill, time, and [Man working on bronze]
fuel to make a 1000 degree fire.
They couldn’t just stick it in a microwave back then.
Which…come to think of it…would’ve been a bad idea for multiple reasons. [The microwave explodes]
All these things meant that arming an entire army with bronze weapons was pretty pricey.
Actually…scratch that: it was impossible.
Sorry, to crush anyone’s bronze army dreams.
Now if you'd excuse us, we're going to go see how expensive a poop emoji jello mold
….don't judge us, it really does sound hilarious. [Man pouring molten bronze into the poop mold]