Ever since man has started using iron and steel for structures, implements and tools, we have been combating the rust and corrosion that attacks it. There are several techniques that are commonly used.
Hot dip galvanizing tanks allow steel or iron pieces to be dipped in a series of processes which leave them coated in a zinc alloy. This process protects the pieces from rust and corrosion.
Galvanizing tanks must be rather large to hold the kinds of metal pieces that are typically treated. For example, lamp posts, fencing material, metal roofing materials, and piping are typical of the metal pieces which are galvanized.
Coating iron and steel with tin to protect it from rust is an older technique. While this method is not as durable as galvanizing, it is relatively safe for food products and can also be used for cookware and other items.
Painting is often used, either instead of galvanizing or even in addition to it. Paint is less durable than galvanizing, but it can be repeatedly applied after a metal item or structure is assembled. Paint is also available in every color imaginable, as it can be blended and tinted to match the colors needed. Paint is available in many different chemical bases as well depending on the application. Water-based latex paint is increasingly the norm, but oil-based and even epoxy paints and coatings are available as well.
Cosmoline is typically used for weapons and tools, especially when they are in storage and not being used regularly. It is an oily substance that can be wiped off when no longer needed. It’s different than the other techniques mentioned, as it is not meant to be permanent. However, items stored in cosmoline can be kept for a long time.
All of these techniques protect iron and steel from rust. This keeps these items suitable for use for a long time, saving money and resources.