Ordinary copper ore from Alderly Edge, Cheshire.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The mines at Alderley Edge were worked from probably as early as the Bronze Age until the early 20th century. The material mined was predominantly copper, which is combined with tin to make bronze. From the 1690s, copper mining occurred at the site on a more industrial scale. Copper has many uses, particularly as an electrical conductor, and is also a component in many alloys in addition to bronze. This sample is from a collection formed by Dr John Percy (1817-1889) FRS, between 1842 and 1889, illustrative of his treatise on metallurgy. The collection comprises examples of fuels, ores, metals and their alloys, with specimens illustrating the adaptability of various metals to industrial purposes.