Tales About Metals – Venetsky

We now come to a wonderful book titled Tales About Metals by S. Venetsky. Earlier we had seen the sequel to this book On Rare and Scattered Metals by the same author.



For ages have metals faithfully served humanity in all its endeavours to conquer the elements, unravel the mysteries of Nature and build powerful machines and installations. The world of metals is diverse and absorbing. The history of some of its representatives, notably, copper, iron, lead, mercury, gold, silver and tin dates thousands of years back. Others were discovered within just a few recent decades.

The properties of metals are extremely varied. Mercury will not freeze even at below-zero temperatures, while tungsten will not be consumed by the hottest of flames. Lithium could make a fine swimmer, being half as heavy as water and unable to sink no matter how hard it would try: osmium is a heavy-weight champion among metals and, thrown into water, will hit the bottom faster than a stone. Silver “gladly” conducts electricity, while titanium has an aversion to this “pastime”: its electrical conductivity is only a 300 th part that of silver. We come across iron wherever we turn and holmium is found in such minute quantities in the earth’s crust that it is fabulously expensive: a grain of pure holmium is several hundred times more expensive than gold.

But for all their differences, metals have one thing in common— they all belong to one large family. S. I. Venetsky’s Tales About Metals contains much information on the history of discovery of many metals and on their present and future uses.

It was not the author’s idea to give any systematized account of every metal he tells about. The history of metals abounds in amazing incidents, at times romantic or humorous, at times tragic. And it is mostly this aspect that the author had in mind when he wrote his book.

The book is intended for those who are ever curious, not only youngsters who are just discovering the world of science for themselves, but also those who have probably said goodbye to school and college, but still seize upon every opportunity to learn more about things around them.

The book has many Tales about metals related to their uses and discovery. It is a joy to read these, and I have cherished these Tales since my childhood. The Tales take you to distant times and lands, place the metals in a humanistic framework and expand your imagination. Hope it invokes same feelings in you too. Also the little water paintings that appear in these Tales make the reading much more fun, as a reader you are taken to the fantasy world through these little images.

Some of them can be seen below:







This book was translated from the Russian by N. G. Kittell and was first published by Mir in 1981 and was reprinted in 1988.

This is one of the first books that I had ever got, so has a special meaning for me. There is a Marathi version of this book as well (धातुंच्या नवलकथा), I used to have a hard copy, but it is no longer with me. Also a Hindi translation titled काहानियां धातुओं की for Tales About Metals exists.


Many, many thanks to Guptaji for the scan of this wonderful book.

You can get the book here.


About This Book 6

The Lightest Metal 7

Space-Age Metal 14

A Fighter Against Fatigue 21

Silver from Clay 28

Son of the Earth 38

“Vitamin V” 47

The “Red Lead” Mystery 54

Iron’s Old Companion 63

A Great Toiler 71

The Charge of the Guns of Peace 83

“Copper Devil” 91

One of the Oldest and Celebrated Metals 100

A “Clothing” for Uranium Rods Ill

The Forty First 118

Iron’s Ally 125

Of a Noble Origin 133

“Hard” but Soft 144

Born “in Torment” 151

Giving Light 157

Behind Three Locks 165

The King of Metals and the Metal of Kings 173

Silver Water 186

The Metal that Destroyed Rome 193

The Fuel of the Twentieth Century 200

About The Mitr

I am The Mitr, The Friend
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14 Responses to Tales About Metals – Venetsky

  1. jaideep parchure says:

    hi , anyone has “On Rare and Scattered Metals” by S. Venetsky? can you please share the link ..


  2. Somu says:

    This is an wonderful book which is written in very interesting way.It should be read by every one as we all are depended with various metals in our daily life.Luckily i have a original copy of this book.


  3. db.jan says:

    Thank you.


  4. s.sanjay says:

    yes, dear Damitr. a wonderful book. we don’t have such books in India. neither do we have such authors with wonderful ways of conveying scientific ideas. requires love for the subject and force of conviction. a sad state of affairs.


    • The Mitr says:

      Rightly said s.sanjay, unfortunately it is the state. The kind of commitment these authors had towards disseminating knowledge that they had is found missing. In India (I am from an academic background) most the researchers think it is below dignity to write books for science popularization or do science popularization. That being said neither is their academic work that great, whereas the Russian authors were some of the best in their field. Perhaps the flame will be rekindled at least in some by reading these gems. that is the hope.


      The Mitr


  5. Any body having Marathi version “Dhatuchya Nawal Katha” So please share it


  6. Gordon Freeman says:

    Have cleaned the book using page extraction and scan tailor. Now it looks white, crystal clear, straightened just like other books here.
    But final pdf file size is 240 MB. Because it is color etc tif size is huge. Will try to reduce the book size by experimenting and post here soon.


  7. Gordon Freeman says:

    – Cleaned using scantailor. 40 MB size . It is not perfect, but cleaner. (240 MB file is slightly more clearer, but file size is huge)
    – (If you see pdf in Adobe Reader and ‘Fit to window’, text looks clipped, but that is because it is a image which shrinks. Just zoom it and all text is clearly visible )
    – Hope people can keep this version also as a cleaner addon of original


  8. i am having the hard copy in english and hindi in excellent (both are new) condition. bought from bookseller. really missing marathi copy. have a complete xerox taken before 15 years. love it in marathi.


  9. Pingback: Some suggested literature for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry for students in age group 11-17 years | sjmbitspilani

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