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A lethal discovery

The Age of Bronze replaced the Age of Copper by the time of Nora. Two cultures were the first to adopt bronze: Nora's Pestrib, and Darian's Linsenta. The two tribes became opposing power centers in the ensuing total war.
— Larissa, History of the Salt Plains
  Bronzeworking was a technology discovered by Kelban approximately seven thousand years ago. Arsenical bronze was the first form of bronze to be discovered, followed in five hundred years by tin bronze. Originally, bronze was dangerous to smelt due to arsenic fumes, hence Kelban's moniker "the blind" for the night blindness his arsenic poisoning caused. Eventually, due to the use of tin, the process became much less dangerous.  


I may have been blinded, but discovery comes only from bronze and blood. I shall continue until death. Forward the forge!
— Kelban the Blind
  Kelban was a copper smith from the Pestrib tribe of the Salt Plains. Unsatisfied with the relatively soft qualities of the copper blade, he sought to advance his trade, experimenting with the various ores near his town.   Kelban was considered by many as the best of his profession. By day, Kelban forged high-quality copper tools. By night, after everyone else was asleep, Kelban experimented with ores. One night, reducing enargite, he produced a bronze stronger than other coppers, the first bronze tool.   However, afterwards, he experienced severe headaches and nausea. Many others would have continued the production of this bronze from enargite, but Kelban knew better. He had never experienced these headaches before, and assumed it was due to the fumes emitted from the enargite. He rested and tried to recuperate, which probably saved his life from the arsenic fumes. However, his eyes were not saved, and he developed night blindness from his work, curtailing his studies.   However, he continued for the advancement of technology, not worrying about his new conditions. He commissioned an apprentice, to help him study during the night. After about a ten years of experimentation sponsored by the elders, he found that olivenite gave a stronger bronze than the enargite, with little toxic fumes. He profited immensely from his study, but died shortly thereafter as a result of arsenic poisoning from his tennantite experimentation.  

Manufacture and Use

Don't mess with me. This process isn't easy to do, and I don't want you dead from fumes or scalding.
— Kelban to Candace
  To cast a single object, a master smith must first form a model. Kelban, originally known for being the son of the inventor of "lost-wax casting", used the model extensively. The method is similar to the twelve-step process used today, and therefore will not be explained particularly in-depth.   Then, the arsenical bronze is smelted. Generally, this is done in an earth furnace in the craftsman's building. Special fire precautions are taken to make sure the building does not burn down. Once the ore is smelted into bronze, the bronze is put into a clay crucible, which is heated until the bronze melts. Finally, the bronze is poured into the clay mould. Many years of training are needed to perfect this technique.  

See Also

  Sabine Klein and Heather Lechtmann paper referenced for the minerals in question that Kelban the blind worked with.
Kelban as well as Marisa of Linsent
Access & Availability
Knowledge of the technique was relegated to the artisans' guilds and the elder council. It was independently discovered by smiths in Pestrib and Linsenta.
Grand Artisan Kelban the Blind, partially sponsored by the Pestrib elder council, and helped by Master Smith Candace. Discovered over a fifty-year period around 7,000 years ago.

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18 Dec, 2018 23:22

Interesting that such an old technology has such wellkept records on it's discovery! I would have imagined more of the figure of Kelban to have fallen into legend and myth rather than the straightforward nature of this article, after all, 7000 years is an extraordinary amount of time and, presumably, all of civilization developed since then!   Is Kelban held in any level of high regard in modern day or is this a meta-article outside of what is truly known in the world?

19 Dec, 2018 15:08

Yes, it is really long ago, however there are some nice things about this that allow all history to be written, crystal-clear. So a bunch of drones from Earth came to terraform the planet, Earth got destroyed, so the drones are stuck on the planet kinda like "what do we do" and one of their projects is to document the history of the species on this planet. So that's why there's such a clear history from so long ago. :)