Write Letters on Copper “Paper” (Feb, 1933)

Wow, it’s pretty hard to imagine a time when copper was cheaper than paper.

Write Letters on Copper “Paper”

ARIZONANS have thought up a clever idea for getting rid of the surplus copper mined in the state. They are making the metal do duty as paper, and writing business and personal letters on it. The sheets are one-thousandth of an inch thick, and according to testimony make very substantial material for typing. Below is shown a steno inditing a letter on one of the copper sheets of business stationery.

11 comments
  1. Rick Auricchio says: March 20, 20089:27 pm

    My first thought was “And they can recycle them!” But then I realized they were trying to get rid of all that excess copper.

    I guess it didn’t work well as toilet paper.

  2. Orv says: March 21, 200812:47 am

    That was a rough period for the copper industry. The government stockpiled copper during WWI, then dumped it all on the market after the war, causing the price to crash. Then the Great Depression hit, which drove demand and prices down.

  3. jayessell says: March 21, 20085:30 am

    …and during WWII it was in such short supply silver had to be used in the electromagnetic isotope separation machines.

    Guarded better there then when it was in the mint!

  4. Al Bear says: March 21, 20087:52 am

    Wow! surplus copper!

  5. luke the obscure says: March 21, 200810:21 am

    Copper, let us take you to a furnace where we’ll break you, fire’s so big and
    pretty, you could cry,
    as a buckle, you could ask me what was wrong with me before -
    did I need the silver to be suitable?
    Copper, I have a use for you, it’s easy work and it suits you,
    dazzled dirty beauty, you must know
    Copper is a conductor and makes for decent cooking,
    dazzled by your beauty still, you know,
    plated or anodized, you even fool a layman’s eyes,
    presentable though you might be, it’s unwise to try to fight me.

    Copper – you’ll never be gold

    (Shellac)

  6. Rick Auricchio says: March 21, 20083:10 pm

    The high copper prices are especially tough here in the coastal environment. It’s best to use copper for roof flashings, so that there’s no rust. (When copper oxidizes, the green “rust” doesn’t stain the house. Rust from steel does.) Within a hundred yards of the ocean, even galvanized metal begins to rust wherever there’s a cut edge or scratch.

    Flashings are bad enough, but copper gutters and downspouts make for more expense. Occasionally, people will use aluminum for these items, carefully insulating them from the adjacent copper. (See http://en.wikipedia.org…)

  7. Casandro says: March 22, 20088:54 am

    Well one advantage probably was that you could use it for small-run prints.

  8. jayessell says: March 22, 20083:07 pm

    It would be good for Braille.
    Do any of these documents exist today?
    I’m guessing WWII took them all for the war effort.

  9. Thomas says: March 28, 20088:17 pm

    That’s interesting. I never heard of copper being used for anything of this sort before.

    I wonder if DamnInteresting.com has anything written about this yet…

    Thomas :)

  10. Anne says: April 9, 200812:48 pm

    I would love to see a copper letter written like this. Even if copper is expensive now, this would make a fun novelty item. (I think there are even some how-tos about making post cards something like this?). Too bad there is a severe lack of typewriters these days.

  11. jayessell says: April 9, 20085:03 pm

    Will aluminum foil destroy my inkjet printer?
    Can’t find my dot matrix.
    I’d have to print mirror imaged.

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