What is chromium?

   Many people know what chromium looks like, for the bright metal trimming on automobiles is plated with chromium. The plating is very thin, but it makes a pretty covering for the steel underneath and keeps it from rusting.
   Chromium, however, would not be a very important metal if it were used just to trim automobiles. Really very little of all the chromium used goes for trimmings. Far more goes into making stainless steel.
   The name "chromium"'comes from the Greek word for "color." Chromium gives a beautiful color to many of the substances in which it is found. Rubies, emeralds, and some sapphires owe their color to the presence of chromium.
   Chromium is never found pure. The people of ancient times did not know that there was such a metal.
   One of the ores which contains chromium is called chromite. Chromite is useful as a lining for furnaces for making steel.
   There is a great deal of chromium ore in the United States. But until World War II supplies were easier to get from other countries. Then, during the war, there was danger that the supplies might be shut off. Americans started mining their own chromium. Men blasted tunnels into the Bear-tooth  
Mountains in Montana and began digging away tons of ore. With this huge supply American manufacturers will probably never have to worry about needing chromium.