Metal fabrication has a centuries old history. We know humans began working with metal nearly 9,000 years BEFORE Jesus. In fact, the earliest known metal mining operation dates back to a copper pendant found in Iraq that appears to have been fabricated in 8,700 BCE. Early man saw metal and metalworking as a skill initially tied to the Gods, which, at that time, correlated to the planets. There were 7 metals: Gold, Silver, Mercury, Copper, Iron, Tin and Lead. They correlated with the Sun, Moon, Mercury (obviously), Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Metal Fabrication from The Bronze Age to The Industrial Revolution
The start of the Bronze Age around 3,300 BCE changed everything as the mixing of the metals brought the creation of weapons such as swords and armor. The ability to take metals and mix them by melting them down and then shaping them into certain objects resulted in the rise and fall of civilizations based on the weapon of war created. It wasn’t until 100 years after Leonardo da Vinci thought of a rolling press that sheet metal became “a thing”. His press idea, drawn in 1495, was created in 1590 and in the 1700s, when the Industrial Revolution erupted, plants creating lead and tin plates brought metalworking to a whole new level.
Metal Fabrication Now
We know metal fabrication now to be the joining of two or more metal objects to create something; bending, cutting, joining, and forming metals for thousands of different applications. Our ability to bend metal is how we are able to have cars, trains and planes, electronics, jewelry, construction materials and custom metal enclosures. How much will the metal fabrication world change in the next 100 or 200 years? We do know that automation in metal fabrication has helped tremendously in terms of manufacturing time and costs. We know we can manipulate metal in space and underwater. Our industry finds new ways to fabricate metal all the time. It is the human push to learn more that will change metal fabrication in years to come because manipulating metal is how we got this far already!