Stannum has been known since the olden days and it has also been used as a homoeopathic remedy for a long time.
The name is originally a Latin word. It is one of the oldest known metals. In astrology it is associated with the planet Jupiter.
In the old days they used to make jugs, drinking beakers and spoons out of tin. This sometimes caused problems because of a phenomenon called ‘tin-rot’ which could suddenly pulverise a tin object. The same thing can happen in parts of the object, where you get ‘tinspots’ which are ‘contagious’.
Bronze is made of tin and copper together (7% tin), and is used to make bells and statues. It is the tin that gives the bells their beautiful ringing sounds.
The main use of tin is in the manufacture of ‘tins’, because it doesn’t corrode. Other applications are in solder, alloys to make smooth bearings, and in organic tin compounds like pesticides and fungicides. It serves as a catalyst in the manufacture of PVC. It used to be a component of foil, as the name tin foil still suggests, but nowadays it has been replaced by aluminium, which is much cheaper.