Copper in great demand (1900)

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Copper in great demand

United States fortunate in producing a vast quantity of this metal

Producing by far a larger amount of copper than any other country, the United States is extremely fortunate in being able to supply to a great extent the ever-increasing demand for this useful metal. All this year the United States has been selling over a million pounds of copper a day to foreign consumers and yet the supply is not equal to the demand. In proportion to the world’s supply, no metal is now in so great demand as copper.

The market for it is very active because, though the United States and all the leading nations of Europe are great consumers, none of them produces it in large quantities except this country.

The United Kingdom, France and Germany are by far the largest buyers of copper ingots, bars and plates in Europe, but none of them produces the metal except Germany, and the German output is only from 17,000 to 20,000 tons a year. Great Britain can buy copper in no parts of her vast empire except in Australasia and Canada, and the receipts from these sources are only a small part of the metal she consumes.

Of all the copper mined, the United States produces more than one-half and Spain and Portugal about one-fourth. About half the copper mined here is sold abroad and half of this is returned for conversion at the Atlantic refineries into plates and wire for foreign use.

Although the world’s production of copper has increased about one-third in the past decade, the demand has grown faster, being swollen constantly by the expansion of the electric industries. Next to silver, copper is the best conductor of heat and electricity; and the vast development of the telegraph and telephone services and the new use of electricity to transmit power and thus supplant the horse and the steam engine, the demand for the metal steadily grows.

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In addition to the large use of the metal for electrical purposes, enormous quantities also are alloyed with zinc in the production of brass, which next to iron is the most important metal used in the arts. And copper goes with tin to make bronze.


Top image: Colorado Copper Mining Company stock certificate (1900); Second photo: Sample of natural copper.

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