What is Brass?

Brass is a kind of metal. It’s made from a mixture (the technical term is “alloy”) of copper and zinc. It has a golden appearance, is harder than pure metals and resists corrosion.

Here are some everyday things sometimes made from brass. Can you name them? What are they for? (Answers below).

brass-water-tap--78529_01  Candle sticks brass screw brass_sitting_cat_door_knocker letterbox


old threepenceOur copper coins used to be made from brass, and there’s an old Yorkshire saying “where there’s muck, there’s brass!” meaning the job might be dirty, but it pays money!”.

Brass is a good metal for making brass musical instruments because it can be worked easily into the required shape, it resists corrosion (i.e. it doesn’t rust) and it is widely available and affordable.

Gold bars Silver cornetOther metals are used for making “brass” instruments e.g. solid silver or gold plating (a very thin gold layer over another metal like brass) but brass is the most common.


Picture answers: a water tap; candlesticks; a screw for fixing things in place; a cat door knocker; and a letterbox in a front door.

Can you find anything in your home or school made of brass?