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Iron (n.) The most common and most useful metallic element, being of almost universal occurrence, usually in the form of an oxide (as hematite, magnetite, etc.), or a hydrous oxide (as limonite, turgite, etc.). It is reduced on an enormous scale in three principal forms; viz., cast iron, steel, and wrought iron. Iron usually appears dark brown, from oxidation or impurity, but when pure, or on a fresh surface, is a gray or white metal. It is easily oxidized (rusted) by moisture, and is attacked by many corrosive agents. Symbol Fe (Latin Ferrum). Atomic weight 55.9. Specific gravity, pure iron, 7.86; cast iron, 7.1. In magnetic properties, it is superior to all other substances.