A World Without Metal

Stone Age: how a Stone Age axe was made. Art. Britannica Online for Kids. Web. 20 June 2012

When I was writing the post the other week about Cave of Forgotten Dreams, I started thinking about how difficult it would have been living in a world without metal. Sure, it may be kind of a joke that I’m metal obsessed, but metal greatly improved the lives of humans. Then we figured out steel and there was no holding us back.

But imagine having to use stone to cut everything. You’d need to know how to chip flint or obsidian just right to get that sharp edge that you need to cut or scrape with. Now think about making clothes. How do you make a needle to sew with without metal or even a drill to make a hole for the sinew you would be using.

Could you butcher a mammoth without a clever? Could you even kill it? How about chop wood or cut leather, or anything else that needs to happen for humans to survive?

Peddinghaus Forming Hammer, thankfully made of steel.

It must have been amazing when they discovered how to work metal. Of course it was no picnic only using copper (and if you were lucky you accidentally discovered a seam of copper ore that had tin in it to give you bronze.) I watched a program where they used copper tools they way the ancient Egyptians did to cut stone for the sphinx. They had to constantly re forge their tools because copper is so soft.

Now imagine the person who discovered iron and then later steel. You must’ve felt like you could rule the world! Life would have seemed so much easier and faster.

So yes, I may be a bit metal obsessed, but metal is what helped us reach the modern age. and for that I’m thankful that I don’t live in a world without metal.

2 thoughts on “A World Without Metal

  1. The history of metalworking is a fascinating study of human development.
    Once we found out we could make bronze, in Europe we developed complex trading relationships that crossed the continent – and then some – because of the scarcity of the raw materials. When iron became widespread, those trading routes fell into disrepair because iron ore was plentiful and widespread.
    One of my favourite parts of this evolution is the way the new technology was adapted. The first copper axes were made in the solid style of the preceding stone axes. Then, when bronzesmiths had worked out what they could do with this new material, they started to develop an amazing range of tools and weapons that made the most of its properties. Worth looking at the early metalwork designs too for inspiration and just plain respect for their craft.


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