Tin is one of the oldest metals known by man. There are domestic utensils and arms made of brass (copper with about 15% of tin), dating from 3500 b.C.. The Phoenicians had a very important role in the spread of brass utensils due to its commercial trades with Britain, Spain and the Middle East. Pliny referred, in 49 a.D., to the existence of tin and lead alloys, what we now know as solder, as well as recipients of tinned copper. Tinned iron was only developed in the 14th century in Bohemia, and tinned steel appeared only in the 17th century.

Originally confined to Britain and Spain, the tin extraction spread throughout to other countries of the Southern Asia and to Congo, Nigeria and Bolivia.