Casting: History of Ancient Manufacturing

7799-3300 BC - The Copper Age was when man first discovered castings.  Copper was found in the ore that lined the fire pits.  Early man found it could be melted and formed to make weapons and utensils.

5000 BC - The history of casting technology can be traced back to 5000 BC. 

3300-1200 BC - During the Bronze Age man discovered that by adding tin the metal was stronger, more durable and attractive. 

3200 BC -The oldest known casting is a frog cast in copper made around 3200 BC.  It was probably made using clay for the mold and beeswax for the pattern. 

1200 – 550 BC -  The Iron Age followed with a more systematic approach to the production of castings.  Advancements in the casting processes coincided with the changes in farming practices and weapons.  Now cast tools were available to make agricultural work more productive.  

1400 AD - Gun barrels and bullets were first cast in Europe. The Chinese mastered the art of melting iron about 2000 years before the Europeans.

1760 – 1840 AD - The Industrial Age saw rapid advancements in the casting processes and the need for more castings.  The invention of new machines made mass production possible.  As America moved west settlers needed stronger metals for plows, horse shoes, stoves and rail tracks.

The demand was especially strong for steel castings with the development of new farming equipment, the automobile and the airplane industry.

Present Day - Today all metals can be cast.  The most predominant are iron, aluminum, steel and copper based alloys.  Casting weights range from ounces to several hundred tons.  There are several casting processes available from which to select based on material, annual volume, cost of tooling, need for closer dimensional tolerance and the end use of the casting.