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Lead was one of the first metals known to man and has been used throughout history for a variety of structural, ornamental and other purposes. Probably the oldest known lead artifact is a figure made about 3000 BC. All civilizations, from the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians through to modern times use lead for a wide range of decorative and structural purposes.
The alloying of lead with tin, silver, bismuth and other elements results in the formation of alloys with very low melting points. These alloys are commonly called fusible alloys. Alloys containing tin have found particular utility for die casting applications. In fact, the first die casting operations began with tin-based alloys. A wide variety of mechanical parts, such as gears, wheels and weights are cast in tin-lead alloys. Postage meter print wheels, for example, are cast in tin-lead-antimony alloys.
lead tin alloy is an excellent choice for soldering applications because of the low melting temperature that it has. It also has very good electrical properties and is an effective abrasive. It is especially useful in applications where the components being joined can be adversely impacted by a high melting point of conventional solders. The method of purifying lead bullion, pig lead or commercial tin and white metal by the removal of copper, arsenic and antimony consists in melting the metal to be treated, adding aluminum thereto at a temperature not greatly exceeding its own melting point, stirring and cooling to cause alloys of aluminum with the impurities to form in crusts and separating the crusts from the purified metal.