By the term "sheet metals" is meant those metals and alloys which are used in thin plates or sheets, such as brass, copper, lead, tin, zinc, tinned iron (tin plate), and thin sheet iron. The arts of making gold, platinum, and tin foils, and platinum vessels for chemical operations, are obviously embraced in the term, but these trades are too special to warrant description here.

The combined strength, durability, lightness, and clean smooth surface of sheet metal, render it particularly useful in a vast number of articles where these qualities are desirable. Another most important property possessed by the majority, especially copper and tin, is that of assuming various shapes without fracture by simple hammering.