Brass

Article Posted By: Jae Warren

of The Home Depot

Image via WikiMedia Commons

Brass has been around for a long time, and has many industrial and building applications. And, as we’ll see, brass is a very popular material these days for decorating.

As early as 3000 BC, ancient metalworkers in Syria and eastern Turkey knew how to make bronze by melting copper with tin. What they did not know at the time is occasionally they were making brass, too. Zinc, one of the principle alloying elements in brass, is often found in deposits together with tin, and the two share similar colors and properties. So, it’s easy to understand their confusion.

It wasn’t until 1746 that German scientist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf finally identified zinc as part of the alloy. The process for combining zinc and copper to make brass was later patented in England in 1781.

What is brass? Brass is an alloy (or mixture) of copper and zinc. Varying the amounts of copper and zinc used produces brasses in a range of different colors with different properties.

What are some of the cool properties of brass? The machinability of brass sets the standard by which other materials are judged. Its unique combination of strength, corrosion resistance, pliancy and ductility (ability to be stretched without breaking) also makes it the material of choice for applications that require low production cost and long service life.

What is brass used for? Brass can be cast, forged, spun, wrought or die-cut to make plumbing and gas fittings, automotive sensors, rivets, gears, zippers and a host of other machined products. Many music instruments are made from brass metals. The arts and crafts industry also uses brass sheets to make candle holders, decorative bowls, vessels and many other items.

What can you use brass for? Around the home, brass in all its various colors and finishes has many practical and decorative uses. From brassy lighting fixtures, kitchen and bath hardware and backsplash to door knobs and curtain rods, it’s an attractive option that brings warmth to any interior, be it modern or traditional.

Take a moment to browse this rest of the post, where we really get down to brass tacks.

Image of a brass bowel turned into a lighting pendant

Image from Design Sponge via The Hunted Interior

Admit it: When you see a headline like Brilliant Kitchen Makeovers for Under $1oo, your first thought is probably – really? Well, here’s what Kristen of The Hunted Interior was able to pull off with a little paint, new cabinet hardware, L-brackets, a $3 brass bowl from Goodwill and a simple lighting kit. See all the before and after shots on Design Sponge and we’re sure you’ll agree that you can do spectacular things to your kitchen for under $100. 

Images of an accent wall made with thousands of brass sequins

Image via Remodelista

This bold as brass sequin wall is the vision of Parsons School of Design grad Erica Tanov. We’re talking over 4,000 fabricated brass discs individually nailed to the wall of her upscale Marin County, Calif., boutique with brass nails.

A collage of home decor product in brass finish

Brass is back and has taken the shine away from many of the metals that have been adorning homes of late. It can be finished in many different ways, and pairs well with many colors. Here are a few ways you can trumpet the style of your home with the look of brass.

Top Row: Progress Brass Pendant | Devereaux Weathered Brass Ceiling Fan | Studio Spotlight

Center Row: Verdanza Antique Brass Bath Faucet | Pegasus Polished Brass Bar Sink | Hampton Polished Brass Tub & Shower Faucet

Bottom Row: Baldwin Canterbury Handset | Eclipse Ultra Brass Knob | Decorative Brass Wall Tile

Image of a brass cabinet panel repurposed as a jewelry holder

Image via Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up

Wandering the aisles of The Home Depot, Lauren from Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up was taken by the luster of this die-cut brass screen normally used for cabinetry. She thought it would be perfect for displaying necklaces and earrings, and we couldn’t agree more.

Meet the Material is a series designed to introduce you to some of the everyday goods sold at The Home Depot. Is there a material you’d like to know more about? Just let us know in the comments!

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