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Needs to be differentiated from the stub Extractive metallurgy, which is currently categorized under Engineering. --Leperflesh 22:38, Aug 5, 2004 (UTC)

Done. Noisy | Talk 19:35, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Silver oxide does not require carbon to reduce it to metallic form. Silver oxide in air is thermodynamically unstable above approx 220C. To produce silver power an oxide is often precipitated and then heated to reduce to silver particles. MS Met 1977 worked with silver many years64.26.76.130 (talk) 20:48, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Practical smelting[edit]

I've started a section on how to actually do this. Remember wikipedia will be read all over the world, by kids with one laptop per child etc, and this kind of immediate practical advice could be really useful to communities who want to build forges and metalworks. (Like, it look humantity thousands of years to figure smelting out, and it was arguably the second most important invention of all time after the wheel.) Anyone reading this who has worked as an old-style blacksmith etc, please fill in the details! (also if society is ever wiped out by nukes etc and we have to begin again, asimov-style, wikipedia should contain this sort of knowledge; there are probably hippie-style communities out there who would also be interested too). Possibly this should go on wiki-how and be linked from here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:47, 31 May 2006

First off, an "old style blacksmith" is doing something called forging (basically heat and beat), not smelting. These little global village things sound cute. Take copper for instance: how is your community smelter going to keep from polluting the little community with sulfur dioxide, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and all the cats and dogs found in copper ore? That's why there are no such things, and we therefore regulate the companies that have the means to build large-scale smelters. Please sign your posts. BSMet94 19:56, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

The "Basic Smelting" section says that seven (or rather "7") metals were known in the ancient world, and could be extracted from their ores. Gold is listed as one of the seven metals, but the chemical equations following don't include any gold ores, and I'm not certain that gold is normally refined from ores.

Good point. That whole section has always bothered me. First off, it's unreferenced with respect to the seven known metals in the ancient world. Further, my understanding of gold extraction in ancient times is that it was "free" gold, detectable by eye. It was concentrated by various means (e.g. golden fleece) and melted as opposed to smelting. I've been really busy of late, and haven't had a chance to really work this section over.BSMet94 03:44, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Hello, there. I wrote that paragraph a couple of years ago, when there was almost nothing in the page and someone was asking to improve it. The intention was to say "can be smelted", not that they were smelted in ancient times. There are indeed gold ores and they can be smelted, but I didn't add them with the other ores because gold ores are very rare (for example, calaverite, AuTe2). While it is true that gold (and copper and silver) could and still can be extracted in native form, I thought that this was more related to extractive metallurgy rather than to smelting. Regarding the "seven metals", that's bit of common knowledge; for example, the Bible refers to these seven metals... like in Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness". And so forth. Cheers :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fbastos7 (talkcontribs) 22:59, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Needs major revision[edit]

The formula for cassiterite is incorrect and should be SnO2, not SnO —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:38, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

This is not a good article. The discussion is limited to iron; most metals need to be smelted to obtain metal, but that is nowhere mentioned.

Furthermore, the article has gained certain accretions, like the first use of iron. This is intersting and should appear in Wikipaedia, but would be much better elsewhere. Peterkingiron 08:35, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I have tried to tidy up this article, but it is possible that I have messed up the section on base metals; if so I hope some one will correct it. My familiarity is mainly with historic, rather than existing processes. Peterkingiron 23:12, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

We meet again. I'm on my crusade to clean up all the extractive (or at least pyrometallurgical) articles. It's going to be slow, and I'm coming only from the theory and modern practice standpoint. My knowledge of metallurgical history only goes back to the 1800s. That's where you come in, Peterkingiron! I have a copy of De Re Metallica, but there's a big gap in my library from the 1500s to the 1800s.... heheheh. BSMet94 20:01, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Someone improve this article!![edit]

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:47, 31 May 2006

Ugh. What exactly is (or what should be) the philosophy of this article? When an article is entitled simply "Smelting," I sort of assume that it will be a descriptive article giving simply a definition of smelting, smelting processes (chemistry), and smelting practices. The bit recently added about bronze smelting is way too wordy. That could be covered in two lines at most and a "see also." The smelting article should confine itself to smelting. If you want to discuss history and the role smelting played in history, shoudn't that be somewhere else in a history article?BSMet94 15:36, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

History is often a good means of approaching processes. However I am doubtful how useful it is to say much about 'camp fires'. Nor am I sure of the relevance of pottery kilns and glazes. I would suggest a structure:
Smelting basics → Chemistry
Early history - origins of smelting for each metal
Later Processes - describing them metal by metal, probably by cross-reference to main articles on each metal
Modern processes.
The coverage of lead smelting processes in Wikipedia is abmysal; I have not investigated those for tin, copper and copper alloys (bronze and brass), but suspect they are as bad. Peterkingiron 17:27, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


I know Wiki encourages refernecing, but having references only for Early Iron Smelting looks most peculiar. Furthermore, that section does cite its sources - it says 'see History of Ferrous Metallurgy'. Is that (or even an article subsidiary to it) not the right place for these references? Peterkingiron 13:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


I have reverted the recetn move of the references to the end of the article. I appreciate that this location is unconventional. The problem is that these references only relate to the preceding section. The rest of the article is unreferenced. The change appears to imply that the referneces apply to the whole article. Peterkingiron 22:30, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

How about something up-to-date?[edit]

This is all good historic stuff but how about something more up-to-date? For instance, the reverbatory furnace is horribly polluting and is being replaced fast by more modern copper smelting methods like the Outokumpu flash furnace, the Teniente reactor, Isasmelt, etc. The smelting business is moving on fast. Mafestel (talk) 11:06, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

If you know about it, why do you not write it up? I am a historian, and mainly intersted in iron, rather than non-ferrous base metals. Peterkingiron (talk) 16:20, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
My knowledge is probably too patchy but I will have a go at modern smelting methods when I have time. This would have to be incorporated into the historical side, about which I know nothing. It sounds like a joint effortMafestel (talk) 10:01, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I watch this page and will therefore be able to tidy up anything you produce. Peterkingiron (talk) 16:44, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

First bronze[edit]

1500 bc or 3200bc? that's a 1700 year gap. what does this mean? sometime between those dates? Toyokuni3 (talk) 20:02, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

After looking through the history, it previously listed both 1500 and 3200 BC, so when one of the editors came along, he lumped them together as part of his clean up. A ref needs to be found for the proper date. Wizard191 (talk) 22:48, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

The first sentence is in need of strong revision: "After tin and lead, the next metal to be smelted appears to have been copper. How the discovery came about is a matter of much debate. Campfires are about 200 °C short of the temperature needed for that" What is the temperature of a campfire? What is the temperature necessary to smelt copper? Why would it require a kiln instead of an open flame. Why and how do sources disagree on how copper was discovered?--Johnnydc (talk) 00:15, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree that this is not well expressed. It is however correct that lead can be smelted in a fire, but copper requires a hihger temperature. Some one has added to each paragraph an unreferenced mention of smelting by the Incas. These would be much better collected into a single paragraph at the end of the section, so that the first smelting (several millenia ago) does not keep being interrupted by what the Incas did much more recently. Peterkingiron (talk) 18:43, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Outsider view[edit]

Behold, this is where Wikipedia falls down. I look up Wortley Top Forge (on its own site, not on Wikipedia) as a result of which I look up Bloomery in Wikipedia. From there I get a link to this article (which does not reciprocate) and here I find laments about inadequacy and lack of verification, with appeals for someone else to do something.

Incidentally, the previous editing toolbar was instantly usable. The present one will take some getting used to. --MWLittleGuy (talk) 19:19, 14 May 2010 (UTC)


Which ignoramus was it that removed the chemical equations from this article? Is it the position of the those who control this page that proper presentation of the fundamental processes of smelting should be avoided? Are basic chemical equations too advanced for most readers, or is the objective simply to make this page as unuseful as possible?

My position is that without the equations, this article is little more than idle chatter and of no serious use whatsoever. Even those will passing interest are being shortchanged. Though no doubt there's a WP:RULE somewhere that justifies this hack job. ObsessiveMathsFreak (talk) 15:03, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

I definitely agree, requires chemical equations. (talk) 21:54, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


Just FYI, the chemical equations were removed by Riventree on the 25th of April 2010 at 18:43. To his defense, he does seem to have replaced them by verbal descriptions which the equations were not consistent with. (talk) 10:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone care that PbSO3 is lead sulfite? Lead sulfate is PbSO4. StainlessSteelDoctor (talk) 03:38, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Cultural References[edit]

The cultural reference to Goldmember is a reminder why these "cultural references" sections should be done away with. (talk) 18:56, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Agreed, this one is incredibly tangential, so likely should be removed.Morgan Riley (talk) 19:02, 20 March 2013 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be a connection to Redox somewhere in there ? --Jerome Potts (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2014 (UTC)