Metals have been essential to human technology and art for millennia. In sign building and design they are an automatic choice of material for anyone who wants a sign that communicates permanence, individuality, and style. With their diverse characteristics, there is a metal to suite any style and signage solution. Some of the metals our foundry works with include:
Bronze has been in use since the fourth millennium BCE – also known as the beginning of the Bronze Age. It is an alloy mainly of copper, with tin and sometimes other metals and metalloids. As an alloy, bronze is stronger than copper alone, and the ability to add a variety of alloy substances means that bronzes can have various properties such as a range of ductility (ability to stretch, for example, into a wire) and stiffness. Cast bronze is one of our most popular choices for signage; particularly for heritage signs and other projects with a traditional or timeless appearance. Bronze is durable and ages attractively. If the copper in the alloy is allowed to oxidize, bronze will take on a green patina which has instant connotations of age, tradition, and permanence. Even without this distinctive patina, bronze has a deep, brilliant tone that evokes timeless tradition.
Aluminum is one of the most abundant metal elements on earth, but it is rarely found naturally in its metallic form, instead appearing in combination with many minerals. Aluminum metal was first produced, in an impure form, in 1825. Until the 1890s, when the current process for producing metallic aluminum was developed, aluminum was so hard to produce that pure aluminum was more valuable than gold! Aluminum now offers an economic, yet stylish and versatile, alternative to metals such as stainless steel. It is light weight, soft, and resists corrosion, and varies in colour from silver to grey. It can be given a variety of finished looks including mirror polish, textured, and brushed, making it an excellent choice for projects with a sleek and modern look or fresh, contemporary style.
Like bronze, brass is a copper alloy, but with zinc rather than tin. Forms of brass have existed alongside bronze since prehistory, but it was not until the early modern period that it was understood as a copper-zinc alloy. In the sixteenth century metallic zinc replaced zinc vapour in the production of brass alloys. Like bronze, varieties of brass can be made more or less hard and soft depending on the proportions of zinc and copper. Aluminum can also be added to the alloy to make it stronger and more resistant to corrosion. Brass’ low melting point makes it good for casting, and its softness and workability make it ideal for applications such as brass instruments. Its golden colour makes it highly decorative. It can have a highly polished appearance or an antique aged finish, both of which communicate prestige and a classic look.
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