At some point before life crawled out of the ocean, some alien alchemist managed to turn all of the lead on the earth into gold. Galena becomes some sort of Electrum, and any existing Anglesite and Cerussite separate into gold and sulfates or carbonates. What are the most significant (history/paradigm-changing) technological advancements that would be stunted or stopped entirely without the existence of terrestrial lead?
The easy implications seem to be:
- Gold is 3500x more plentiful by mass, so it probably never becomes a precious metal. Likewise, it likely replaces copper in electrical applications.
- Certain types of glazed ceramics may never have been created.
- Plumbing (and thus metropolises) would have taken longer to be invented, as gold is nowhere near as ductile for use as pipes in aquaducts.
- The printing press would be significantly delayed, as nothing is quite as cheap and suited for printmaking as lead lettering blocks.
What other significant technological advancements would have been changed by both lead not existing and gold being 3500x more plentiful?