, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 2181-2191
Date: 20 Sep 2008

The origins and inspirations of zinc smelting

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The smelting of zinc was one of the most challenging technologies of the pre-modern world; indeed in the application of scientific techniques to industrial processes it anticipated modern industrial practice. Very different approaches to the problem evolved in different parts of the world. As the process required the condensation of the metal from a vapour, it is likely that some of the then current distillation practices might have provided an inspiration for the process adopted. Specifically, the techniques employed for the production of mercury may also have provided methodologies that could be adapted.