[AS. iren.] The most common and most important of all metals. Iron possesses properties so varied and useful as to give it the highest rank among the mineral productions of the earth. 'It is very hard and yet malleable; can bear a great strain or be made very brittle; is inflexible, but from it the most elastic springs can be made ; it may be used for the heavy sides of a man-of-war, or the slender blade of a surgeon's knife.

Native-Iron. Of this there are two kinds: - 1 Telluric iron, found in small grains in some basaltic rocks, and generally associated with other metals. 2. Meteoric iron - that is, masses of nearly pure iron which have fallen from outer space to the earth in the form of meteors. Some of these masses are of great weight, one found in 1871 near Disco Bay in Greenland weighing nearly 20 tons.