The History of Metals
We have documented the history if individual metals before and we have also visualized their annual production. However, we have not seen all of the metals on one timeline before such as in this infographic.
Worth noting is gold’s prominence ever since the beginning of history. Because the yellow metal is one of the rare elements that can be found in native form (such as nuggets), it was used by the earliest of our ancestors.
Comparatively, it is only recently that the technology has advanced to allow us to discover or extract the rest of the metals on today’s periodic table. For example, even though we knew of titanium as early as 1791, it was relatively useless all the way up until the 1940′s because of its metallurgy. In the 20th century, scientists advanced a way to remove the impurities, making it possible to get the strong and hard titanium we know today.
Another standout fact is that it took all the way until the early 19th century for two very important elements to be discovered. Both are not found free in nature very often and thus slipped detection for many centuries. Silicon, which actually makes up 26% of the earth’s crust, was discovered in 1823. Then in 1827, aluminum was discovered – we now know today that it is the most common metal in the earth’s crust (it’s actually 1200X more abundant than copper).
Infographic showing the history of metal discovery from Makin – Metal & Copper Powder Suppliers