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History of Bronze

Written by Christian Bell and Kim Nikolaev

Bronze is the most common and widely used metal to cast sculptures around the world. An alloy consisting mostly of copper, its malleability and ability to capture the most minute details are the reasons sculptors choose it over brass, aluminum, or any other metal.

“Dancing Girl” Bronze, Artist Unkown, pre-historic. Year 2300-1750BC.

The precursor to bronze, the “Copper Age” was approximately 6000 BC – 3000 BC.  Because copper could be found in large raw “ingots” and was easy to manipulate, it was one of the earliest metals to be used for large-scale applications such as farm implements and weapons. 

It was later found that mixing other trace elements like tin or arsenic with molten copper would increase its strength.  This brought on the “Bronze Age,” approximately 3000 BC -1300 BC.

Bollinger Atelier uses  Everdur bronze for all its bronze castings:  95% Cu, 4% Si, and 1% Mn.   A true modern bronze, Everdur has excellent casting and welding characteristics and allows for a wide range of patinas. The addition of silicon allows for a better fluidity when pouring and is less brittle than a typical bronze alloy while offering excellent resistance to corrosion, a primary concern for sculptures used in outdoor exhibits and installations.

Though bronze has been refined over the course of history, it continues to be largely unchanged from its original form; being used from early bronze age tools to modern-day industrial applications including beautiful works of art.