"Some metals such as gold and copper can be found in nuggets on the surface of the earth. You can smelt then easily and work them into useful or ornamental objects. But iron does not exist in such form: it only occurs as iron ore, which looks like a rock. So it must have taken a very clever person and lots of trials to reduce iron from iron ore. It also needed a much higher temperature to do this. Is there any archaeological story of the introduction of iron? How fast did it spread once it was discovered?"
This was Robert Cailliau's question. Lee Griffiths went ahead and put on a thinking cap and got him an answer!
Mr. Cailliau sent us this note:
which is a very good explanation of how iron was discovered and how it was worked over the ages. I had known for a long time that meteorites were often composed of metallic iron, but it had not occurred to me that therefore early people could have discovered iron that way!
Recently I was sent an URL that gives A Brief History of Steel,
Mr. Cailliau has more questions he'd like to have answered. Click here to visit his site and...with your thinking caps on...get the answers! Send them to Children Come First and we'll forward them to him. Click here for submission rules.