In West Asia and the Eatern Mediterranean early copper-zinc alloys are now known in small numbers from a number of 3rd millennium BC sites. Although forms of brass have been in use since prehistory, its true nature as a copper-zinc alloy was not understood until the post-medieval period because the zinc vapor which reacted with copper to make brass was not recognized as a metal.
By the Roman period brass was being deliberately produced using the cementation process with variations continuing until the mid-19th century. The process was eventually replaced by speltering, the direct alloying of copper and zinc metal which was introduced which was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.
Brass has higher malleability than bronze or zinc. The relatively low melting point (900 to 940 ºC depending on the composition) and its flow characteristics make it an easy metal to cast. By varying the proportions of copper and zinc, the properties of brass can be changed, allowing hard and soft brasses.
The alloy of brass we use has a fairly high copper content so it has many of the same antimicrobial properties that copper does. It machines beautifully and looks great when highly polished or when it has some patina.