Are you up on the latest home decor trends? Does your personal space exude the newest chic trends found in home fashion mags? Then you must know that brass is making a comeback.
Yup, brass. But not the shiny brass chandeliers of the 70s. Brass is back with a whole new look.
Brass is Back!
Brass has been around for thousands of years. People from China, Syria and Turkey were known to have tinkered with the metal alloy in the third to fifth millennium BC. Ancient Romans used it to make weapons, coins and household items in the latter part of the first millennium BC. By 300 AD Germany and the Netherlands had begun using brass in their metallurgy projects as well. Of course the British got in on the act and patented a process in the 18th century with the help of William Champion’s advances, which changed the production of brass around the world and survives to this day.
Brass is a metal alloy primarily made up of copper and zinc. Typically there is 55-95% copper and 5-40% zinc, with other materials sometimes added depending upon the purity of the copper used and the intended use of the final product. The percentage of copper versus zinc affects the colour of the brass; the more copper the redder the colour, the higher the zinc content the lighter yellow the shade. While brass is fairly malleable, the higher the zinc content the stronger the metal, but also the more prone to corrosion. When more copper is present, the brass is easier to work with and has higher corrosion resistance.
In more modern times, brass has been used in firearm cartridges, naval construction, musical instruments, and of course home decor items. Its popularity in home decor has waxed and waned through the years though. Victorians loved it. In the 1970s it came into vogue, but as it was considered hard to keep clean, a lacquer was applied which made for a shiny finish. By the 80s, the shine lost its lustre with people and brass was relegated to the status of old-fashioned. Nowadays though, brass has made a comeback with a warm tone, a brushed or antiqued look, and an unlacquered finish which is left to attain a welcome patina with age.
We at Load of Rubbish have seen our fair share of brass pieces pass through our trucks. People clean out their clutter and get rid of items which no longer please them and those old dated brass pieces are a regular sight. It isn’t just straight junk though. In fact, aside from those who salvage brass statues from their own homes, this metal alloy is a metal recycler’s treasure trove. Brass is highly recyclable and can be melted down to be reused in new brass items. If you don’t love Aunt Jean’s old brass candlesticks, no worries. They just might see new life as your next bathroom fixture or door knocker.
Brass is back; recyclers rejoice!