Iron is a metal that is extremely useful to us for a variety of purposes. Since its discovery, it has fulfilled so many different purposes in our lives, that it is impossible to imagine life without this element now. Almost all parts of the world have been using iron for many centuries, so to accurately state who discovered iron and when, is something that cannot be done.
Each civilization that is known to mankind have used iron in some way, so who discovered it is still unknown. There are many different theories about iron and its discovery, but there isn't substantial evidence to back these claims. The wide range of its applicability and its diverse usage means that any of these theories could be right.
Iron is an element that is found almost anywhere on the Earth, and is very cheap and easy to mine. The primary sources of iron are magnetite and hematite, and the abundance of these minerals means that iron covers almost 5.6% of Earth's crust. This easy availability of iron across the planet makes it even harder to figure out who exactly discovered this element. Iron is usually combined with carbon in order to produce an alloy known as steel. The uses of steel in our lives is so profound that we have taken its presence for granted now. Along with carbon, other elements can also be added to iron to give it many other useful properties.
Origins of Iron
Many people widely believe that iron came to the Earth's surface through meteors. There is no way to check the accuracy of this claim, as iron has been around well before written history actually began, though the recorded use of iron can be dated back to about 1200 BC.
By the time recorded evidence of iron began, it was widely used as a component for making jewels and beads of various kinds. In spite of its widespread abundance, iron was considered as a precious metal in those days. The introduction of iron revolutionized the art of agriculture, warfare, and brought about the beginning of metallurgy. The strength of iron and its alloys is such that it can be put to so many innovative and different uses. All these discoveries and processes brought about the iron age which had a huge impact on the shaping of society as we know it today.
Uses of Iron
The importance of iron in our lives has remained constant though.
- Wrought iron, which does not rust easily, is used to make chairs, poles and other such outdoor objects.
- Alloyed steel is widely used for a large number of construction purposes like buildings, ships, tanks, etc.
- Cast iron can withstand high temperatures and thus it is used to make a number of cooking items and other utensils.
- Other uses of iron are subtle and not seen clearly. Machinery and equipment used to manufacture pretty much anything and everything is also made up of iron.
To go about our daily lives without the presence of iron now is almost impossible, and no matter how many changes take place in the future, iron will always continue to play an integral part in society. So although we would really like to know who discovered this important element, it is probably something that we have to accept we are never going to find out!