When people hear the word “brass”, the image that usually comes to mind is either that of Louis Armstrong blowing into his brass trumpet, or that of the school band’s tuba. However, this alloy of copper and zinc is much more versatile than that. As an example, an article by David Keeps in the Wall Street Journal discussed the metal’s popularity in interior design:
Though copper and bronze, its pricier cousins, are also looking newly desirable, brass—a poor-man’s-gold alloy of copper and zinc typically relegated to plumbing, tubas and Olde English doorknockers—has gained the strongest following. Leading designers from Jonathan Adler to Michael S. Smith, Kelly Wearstler to Celerie Kemble, all offer products in brass: burnished chairs, glowing desks, honeyed chandeliers, lamps, barware, desk accessories and more. Brass is also entering the mainstream, prominently featured in catalogs from such retailers as Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware. Relatively affordable, this ancient metal is nevertheless speaking to a 21st-century desire for luxury, timelessness and artisanship.
The burnished golden sheen of brass fixtures, along with the aura of classic elegance that the material projects, is what attracts many interior designers to use the metal for indoor decorations. A single sheet of high-quality brass sheet metal from an established supplier like Rotax Metals would be able to provide enough raw materials for several of these fixtures. An additional benefit is that the copper in brass has a germicidal effect that also works on molds and fungi, thus assuring people of the long-term cleanliness of brass items.
Sheet metal’s flexibility doesn’t end in fixtures. It can also be molded into other useful forms such as pipes or channels. Plumbers prefer using brass pipes because the material doesn’t rust, unlike steel or iron; this lets people use smaller pipes without worrying about them being rusted through. Also, brass is a low-friction metal that lets water move through it smoothly. Furthermore, since it is quite malleable, brass is easier to thread and bend than normal steel pipes.
Meanwhile, architects and construction workers find that using a durable brass channel can assist in completing a construction project. Brass doesn’t crack easily, unlike wood, and can form brackets to support shelving. Additionally, the fire- and spark-resistant nature of the alloy makes it perfect for framing and reinforcing windows and other structures.
(Source: The Brass Revival in Home Decor, The Wall Street Journal)