Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/282

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fig. 91

this period. One of them (fig. 91) is the most perfect specimen I ever saw, and is so little affected by its long sojourn underground, that but for the fact of its having been found with fibulæ, a lamp (lucerna), and other characteristic memorials of the Roman æra, together with its peculiar form, one would be perfectly justified in asserting it had quite recently come from the anvil of the blacksmith. It has never been worn, a circumstance to which its high preservation is partly due; the edges are perfectly clean and sharp, and every stage in its manufacture can be readily traced, as there is not the smallest speck of rust upon it. The iron of which it is composed is of the very purest description, and so white and ductile, that it was at first conjectured to be silver. This, however, has been ascertained to be owing to the presence of a somewhat large proportion of nickel,[1] which has most largely contributed to the exemption from oxidation. I am informed that iron of this character, with much nickel in it, is found on the surface of the ground in Wilts. The outside of the shoe

  1. An analytical chemist who examined it, informed me that it was the rarer metal titanium.