While history has always a sentimental value, it has also an indirect, and at the same time through tradition a very direct, bearing on workshop practice. It is besides very interesting, and no apology is necessary for its introduction here. The study of the development of metal-working, and of the many apparently divergent points of view, adds interest to the story of the origin of many processes common to the jeweller and the decorative metal-worker. Only practical workers in each craft can properly appreciate the wide gap that separates them, but many operations are common to all branches dealing with metal. Filing, drilling, turning, hammering, the use of chisels and punches, etc., are as essential to the jeweller as to the decorative or architectural metal-worker, to the watchmaker as to the shipbuilder. A student capable of performing these operations efficiently and so possessing that proficiency which places him in the class of"skilledlabourers has the chance of entering any industry in which metal plays a part. The knowledge of metal-working, as the many specimens in our museums show, dates back to very early historic times; according to various authorities probably as far back as 4500 B.C., or even earlier.
Fig. 4.-Early Egyptian chair and settle, British Museum, showing mortise and tenon joints.
Copper appears to be the first metal generally known and used, although there are evidences that gold was in use in Egypt in 5400 B.C., but the beginning of the uses of metals is known as the Age of Copper.
How copper was first discovered can only be conjectured, but it was evidently known as a malleable stone, and beaten into shape by stone hammers or pounders.
An inspection of the implement now in the Pitt-Rivers collection at Oxford proves this. It was made from a piece of copper ore, and has, as far as one can judge, not been smelted, but it is evidence of the appreciation and use of metal by a race of people living in the Stone Age.
Following this the search for metals would naturally be developed by slow stages; the uses and methods of shaping this new material would increase until the time arrived when metals could be extracted from their ores, and the art of metallurgy be evolved. The discovery of the various metals marks one of the greatest steps in advancement made by the human race, but it is obvious that all the people in the world would not be equally acquainted with these discoveries at the same time. Nevertheless, the efforts of the early workers who made such advances possible deserve attention.