Are you ‘Out of Your Element?’

Written By Rachel Novak

Fun Facts About Brass!

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is known for its resilience, strength, and high quality. It has been around and in use since ancient times, as both a decorative and utilitarian material. Changing the ratios of copper and zinc when producing brass will result in a material with different coloring and different properties.

Did you know that our neighbor to the East, Waterbury, CT, was once known as the most important center of brass production in the country? During the 1800s and well into the 20th century, foundries in Waterbury produced brass for buckles, buttons, and other decorative items. In addition to producing pipes and pipe fittings and many other materials in high demand during both peace and war.

The American Brass Company, Griggs & Smith, Randolph & Clowes – to name a few – were among the giants of the Connecticut brass industry. During the Civil War, all the brass buttons and buckles that went on the uniforms of both the Yankees and the Confederates were produced at the foundries in Waterbury.

Brass is an important alloy, because of its strength, resilience and high quality. It is widely used on craft, fashion and decorative items, like women’s purses, handbag and luggage clips, snaps and snap hooks, as well as in fashion jewelry, belt buckles and shoe buckles. Unlike other metals, it is more malleable and holds up better under pressure.

And, it can hold up to the elements. In addition to its uses for fashion and decorative items, it is used widely in marine, plumbing, and harness industries.

Zinc – A Ubiquitous Element

Listed as Zn on the periodic table of elements, Zinc has an atomic number of 30 and is important to plants, people, and animals. Traces of zinc can be found in certain foods, as well as in dietary supplements. The human body needs a certain amount of zinc every day to maintain proper health and optimal functioning.

Zinc is an ingredient in many cold remedies, and some studies indicate that it may be useful in reversing heart disease and fighting cancer. Zinc plays an important role in hormonal balance, it boosts immunity, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

You’ve no doubt heard of zinc-oxide. It’s that stuff you put on your nose to block the harmful UV rays from the sun. Well, zinc is also the primary ingredient in hot-dip galvanizing of steel to protect it from the elements and prolong its life. So, in different forms, it protects human skin and steel – pretty cool, huh?

Because of its protective qualities and lower pricing than brass, zinc-coated steel products, such as snaps, hooks, clips and pulleys are used regularly in the dairy and farming industries.

Whether your business requires brass, zinc, stainless steel or malleable iron, Henssgen Hardware supplies only the highest quality products. Visit us online and view our catalog for a complete product guide and pricing.


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