Lead was one of the earliest metals known to humans. The Chinese used it to forge coins as long as 4,000 years ago, and the ancient Romans, upon discovering its corrosion-resistant properties, used lead for water pipes and bath linings. Of course we now know of the dangers of using lead for some of these items, but when managed properly lead is still an extremely useful metal today.
Lead is soft and malleable, highly resistant to corrosion and is a poor conductor of electricity. When you first cut it, lead reveals a silvery-blue luster, although it immediately darkens to a dull gray when it hits the air. Lead is abundant in the form of ores that also contain minerals like zinc, copper or silver. The most commonly known lead-containing ore is galena.