Nickel has been used for thousands of years, but it was not classified as a chemical element until 1751. With an atomic number of 28, nickel appears as Ni on the periodic table in the wide central block that holds the transition metals, most of which are moderately hard, structurally sound metals. Nickel has catalytic properties and alloys readily, resists oxidation and corrosion, and is ductile, magnetic at room temperature, can be deposited by electroplating, and has a high melting point [for more commodity information and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Lead, one of the periodic table’s ordinary metals, was used thousands of years ago by the Romans for aqueducts, tank linings and water pipes. Valued for its malleability and resistance to corrosion, lead and lead-rich pewter were used also in the making of cooking pots, kettles and tableware [see also Top 7 Strangest Commodity Futures].