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REESE LIBRARY
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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

(7
Accessions ~\'o. Shelf No
UNIVERSITY

MANUFACTURE OF IRON.

7
AT a period when the iron trade has The manufacture of iron may be di-
arrived at an extent and importance vided into two great heads first, the
:

hitherto unknown, some account of the production of pig-iron from the ore by
various processes of the manufacture of smelting ; and secondly, the conversion
iron in the district of South Wales may of pig-iron into a malleable state, and
not, perhaps, be uninteresting. the rolling it into bars.
That district, from the establishment The first process, the production of
of several new works in the course of the pig-iron, is effected by means of
the last five years, as well as the in- blast furnaces. These differ
materially
crease of many of those before existing, in theirform and structure. The leading
has had its relative importance most peculiarity of those in Wales is, that
materially increased, and is at present they are much larger than those in use
producing between two and -three hun- elsewhere, and produce, of course, a
dred thousand tons of iron annually. The much greater quantity of iron. The
iron- works of South Wales and Mon- general external form of a Welsh fur-
mouthshire are comprised in a range of nace is a square mass of masonry, with
country of about 25 miles from one ex- a base of from 30 to 50 feet these di-
;

tremity to the other, stretching in the mensions gradually diminishing to about


direction of north-west and south-east. 25 feet at the .height of 45 feet from the
The works at Hirwain, in Brecknock- ground. A cylinder of brickwork is
shire,and Aberdare, in Glamorganshire, then carried on to the height of 10 or 15
form the extreme points to the west- feet more, making a total height of 55
ward. Then comes Merthyr Tidvil, to 60 feet, somewhat resembling the ac-
with its thickly-peopled neighbourhood companying sketch. There is a large
and important works, the focus, as it
were, of the manufacture; and from Fig. 1.

Merthyr there is a continued line of


furnaces formed by the works at Dow-
lais,Romney, Tredegar, Sir Howey,
Beaufort, Nant y Glo, Blaenafon, the
Varteg, Abersychan, and Ponty Pool,
which finishes the mineral range in that
direction.
It is not proposed to give
any account
here of the method of working the coal
and iron-stone, as that forms a distinct
subject of itself. Suffice it to say that,
from the nature of the country, the
draining of the underground workings
by steam-engines, as well as the sinking
of shafts or pits, is in a great measure
avoided. The minerals are obtained by
excavating a tunnel, or driving a head-
ing, as it is technically termed, into the
side of a hill. This tunnel is available
as a road along which to bring out the roof extending trom one or more sides
coal and iron-stone, and at the same of the furnace, to shelter the workmen,
time as a drain for the whole of the and keep the cast-house dry, which is
work with which it communicates. not exhibited in this figure, that the
J3
O
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
shape of the furnace may be more dis-
and there is also a covered Fig. 3.
tinctly seen;

communication between the top of the


square masonry and the high ground at
the back, for the purpose of supplying
the materials, which is left out for the
same reason. The cylinder at the top,
called the tunnel head, is furnished
with from one to four doors or openings
generally two opposite each other,
through which are introduced the mate-
rials for the supply of the furnace it is :

made of fire-bricks, hooped together


with iron, and is about eight feet in dia-
meter. The masonry of the whole fur-
nace is also strongly bound together
with iron stays. There are arches in
the centres of the four sides, forming-
recesses in the solid masonry. That in
front is to enable the workmen to work
the furnace and run out the iron ; those
at the sides are for the more convenient
introduction of the blast.
Fig. 2 is a ground-plan of a furnace,
in which the square in the centre is the
hearth for the reception of the melted
iron as it is formed. The recesses are possible the action of the intense heat to
which they are to be subjected. Re-
also seen here, and the pipes for the in-
cently, however, some hearths have
2. been constructed of fire-bricks, which is
Fig.
a great saving in expense and the plan
;

has been found to answer in durability


better than was expected.
Asa proof of the importance that
was formerly attached to the quality of
the hearth stones, or of the prejudice
and ,want of enterprise of our forefa-
thers, there is a legend that, on the
establishment, many years ago, of a
work in Monmouthshire, by a Stafford-
shire person, it was thought necessary
to take the stones for the furnace hearths
from Staffordshire, and that a stone of
some tons weight was actually removed
to within a few miles of its destination,
when it was discovered that the grit
stones to be found in abundance on the
spot would answer the purpose as well !
troduction of the blast. The hearth is Whether this tradition be true or not, it

a cube of about 3 feet each way. isa fact that a large stone is now to be
The section of a blast furnace is seen seen on the London and Milford road,
in Jig. 3, in which the broadest part of which is pointed out as the identical one
the interior (a) is called the boshes, and alluded to in the above tale.
is from 14 to 17 feet in diameter. Above Much has been said about the best
the boshes fire-bricks are used as alining form and dimensions of the hearth
to the masonry, and the diameter is gra- more, probably, than the question de-
dually decreased to 7, 8, or 9 feet at the serves, as it is found that, in a very short
tunnel head. time, the sides and bottom are so worn
The hearth and boshes are generally away by the constant action of the
made of large pieces of a coarse grit, or melted iron, as to become of a sort of
plum-pudding stone, carefully jointed rude hemispherical shape.
with fire-clay, so as to resist as much as The inclination of the sides of the in-
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
terior of the furnace,from the boshes to weight of iron produced. If this should
the hearth, is a matter of more import- be proved to be the case, it is certainly
ance. If they are too steep, the mate- no economy to make use of them, for
rials press with too great a weight upon the saving in the first cost of a furnace
the melted and melting mass ; if, on the is a drop in the ocean,
compared with
contrary, they are not steep enough, the the amount of what may be lost or saved
action of the furnace is injured and im- by even a very slight constant difference
peded by the adhesion of the half- melted in its working. This will be seen by and
masses to the sides, sometimes leaving by, when the amounts of the materials
a hollow space underneath, and at others consumed will be stated.
suddenly dropping down in large quan- One very important particular of a
tities. These lumps adhering to the furnace remains to be described. This
sides are called scaffolds, and when a is the application of the blast. The three
furnace is in this state, it is said to be recesses, with the blast pipes, are seen
scaffolding. in/-. 2. The holes through which the
There is another and more blast is admitted to the furnace are called
simple
form of constructing furnaces, which twyeres (pronounced tweers). The ge-
has been resorted to in Wales, and neral practice in Wales is to blow with
which is called a cupola. It is in the three twyeres, as seen skfig- 2, although
form of a large chimney (fig. 4), and very frequently but two are used, and
from the boshes upwards is simply the occasionally only one. It is evident that
length of a single brick in thickness. It the same quantity of air, or blast, may
is held together by an iron hoop at every be introduced into the furnace through
joint. The bricks are laid in fire-clay one twyere as through three by merely
instead of mortar, and are from 15 to 17 increasing the size of the pipe.
inches long at the boshes, and gra- The management of the twyeres re-
quires very considerable practice and
skill ; and the profitable working of a
furnace depends very much upon the
way in which this part of the business is
conducted.
It has been stated that the twyere is
the orifice through which the blast is
admitted to the furnace ; this orifice,
however, does not always assume the
same aspect; the constant rushing in
of the stream of cold air chills the mass
of melting matter to which it is opposed
on its entrance to the furnace, and pro-
duces a sort of artificial pipe or channel,
extending more or less into the interior.
It is a rude perforated cone, adhering
by its base to the side of the interior of
the furnace, and stretching its apex
horizontally towards the centre. The
different appearances which it exhibits
indicate the manner in which the fur-
dually diminished upwards to the tunnel nace is working, and are the signals to
head. the workman who has the charge of it,
The lower part of the furnace is of (the keeper, as he is called,) to make
masonry, carefully and very strongly the necessary changes in the proportions
connected with cast iron rings and up"- of the materials or the application of
rights. The hoops in the upper part the blast. Sometimes the twyeres will
are of wrought iron, about 3 inches wide become so strong, and project so far, as
by half an inch thickat the boshes, and to meet together in the middle of the
proportionably smaller towards the top. furnace. When this is the case, the
progress of the blast is, of course, much
This form of furnace is rather cheaper
and more simple than the other ; but it obstructed. At other times, the twyere
has been thought that the thinness of will drop off close to the side, which is
the sides occasions a greater as prejudicial as the opposite extreme.
escape of
heat, and thereby causes a greater con- All these variations are met or prevented
sumption of fuel in proportion to the by the careful keeper, who will watch
B 2
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
every indication of change,and take his will be capable of keeping up a blast at
measures according to the emergency of a pressure of 2^ pounds per square inch;
the case. Sometimes he will stop one forit is calculated that the pressure in

twyere entirely, and provide for the the steam cylinder of such an engine,
admission of the same blast to the fur- deducting the friction, is about 1 pounds
nace by increasing the size of the re- per square inch. This pressure may be
maining blast pipes at other times he
;
reduced at pleasure, by working the en-
will increase or diminish the total quan- gine more slowly, or with a lower pres-
tityof blast, or he will alter the propor- sure of steam in the boilers.
tions of the materials at the tunnel head. If the volume of air thus generated
With all these precautions, he is unable were to be passed immediately through
always to keep the furnace in the most small pipes to the twyeres, it would pro-

advantageous state of working, and, duce an intermitting, irregular blast,


what is more extraordinary, he is unable almost dying away at the end of every
to account for the changes that fre- stroke of the engine, and exerting its
quently occur. utmost force between the pauses. This
The iron trade can, perhaps, hardly would be very injurious to the furnace,
be said to be still in its infancy ; but we for which great regularity in the blast is
have certainly much, very much, to a desideratum. To obviate this incon-
learn, before we can boast of anything venience, the air is passed from the
like a complete knowledge of its different engine into a large iron reservoir, called
processes. We observe many facts in a regulator, from its effect in equalizing
this, as well as in other branches of the the current to the twyeres. The regu-
manufactory, of which the most that we lator is sometimes in the shape of a
can say is, that they are connected with sphere, entirely closed up, with the ex-
or caused by certain other accompany- ception of the passages for the ingress
ing facts, though we are ignorant how and egress of the air, and produces the
this connexion exists ; often, indeed, our required effect simply by the elasticity
knowledge does not extend so far. of the large volume of condensed air
We come now to the method of gene- which it contains it is then called a dry
:

rating the requisite blast, and the mode regulator. Sometimes it is in the shape
of equalizing and applying it. It is pro- of a cube or cylinder, open at the bottom,
duced by powerful steam-engines, with and fixed in a larger vessel or cistern of
one or two exceptions, where a great water. In this case it is called a water
local facility of water power obviates the regulator, and the column of water at
necessity of steam. Water, however, the sides keeps up the requisite pressure
can only be used where it can be de- within ; but there is an inconvenience
pended upon in a constant and ample attending this construction, that is likely
stream even through a dry summer, as gradually to bring it out of use. The
it isof the first importance that the blast introduction of moisture into a furnace
of a furnace should not be withheld even with the blast has a bad effect both on
for a few hours. Instances have been the working of the furnace and the qua-
known of the whole contents of a fur- lity of the iron produced ; and it is
nace becoming one solid mass from found that the condensed air in the wa-
having been cooled by the accidental ter regulator, exposed as it is to a large
stoppage of the blast. and constantly agitated surface of water,
The blast- engine is supplied with a has the property of taking up a very
large cylinder at the opposite end of the considerable quantity of moisture in so-
beam to the steam cylinder, and of lution. This is particularly the case in
double its diameter i. e. four times its
; summer, as the higher the temperature
area. The blowing piston, therefore, of the air, the more moisture it is capable
will produce a volume of air at each of dissolving. This circumstance ac-
stroke of the engine equal to four times counts in part for the fact, that furnaces
the contents of the steam cylinder, but never work so advantageously in sum-
at a pressure of only one-fourth of that mer as in cool weather ; so sensitive are
on the steam piston by the joint action they in this respect, that, after working
of the vacuum and the steam, friction
extremely well for some time with a dry
deducted. Thus, suppose that an en- north or east wind, they will frequently
gine with a steam cylinder 54 inches change all at once when the wind veers
diameter, and a pressure of 5 pounds per to the west or south, with moisture or
inch of steam, is supplied with a blow- rain. It was long thought that the dis-
ing cylinder of 108 inches diameter, it advantage experienced in the summer
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
months was to be attributed (by some will be afterwards explained. The mine
unknown connexion) simply to the heat in South Wales is the argillaceous or
of the weather ; and it was, therefore, clay iron ore, occurring sometimes in
supposed that a cool blast was most strata, sometimes in detached lumps or
favourable to the smelting of iron. So balls. We cannot here enter into detail
mistaken does this notion now appear, with regard to the method of working
that a patent has been recently obtained the minerals, as that would be too great
for heating the blast artificially before a departure from the immediate subject
it is
passed to the furnace. Care is, of before us. The mine contains different
course, taken that it has no opportunity proportions of iron in different parts of
of absorbing moisture with its increase the South Wales district, and also in
of temperature ;
otherwise the effect different strata at the same work. What
would be injurious, instead of advanta- is generally used may be stated to con-
geous. The invention has not yet been tain from 18 to 55 per cent, after having
brought into general use, and therefore remained some time in the air, and be-
no certain decision can be pronounced fore it has been calcined or roasted.
as to its efficacy there seems, however,
: From 30 to 35 per cent, may be consi-
to be a strong probability of its ultimate dered not a bad average of mine through-
general adoption and success. out a work.
It is ascertained that air cannot sup- Carbonic acid and clay enter largely
port combustion until heated to 1000 into the composition of the ore ; and
degrees of Fahrenheit; and, therefore, water, sulphur, silex, and perhaps a little
until it acquires that temperature from arsenic, complete the list of ingredients.
being in contact with the heated medium, It is an important point to get rid of the
it must
produce an inverse effect ; and impurities as completely as possible be-
the nearer it can be brought to that fore the mine is used in the furnace,
point before entering the furnace, the and for this purpose it is roasted or
better. The natural effect to be anti- calcined in kilns, which are kept sup-
cipated from the change is economy of plied at the top, as the mine is with-
materials from their more speedy and drawn fit for use at the bottom. Care
complete conversion under the action of must be taken in this process to give
the hot blast. The degree of heat pro- the necessary degree of heat to the kiln,
duced in the blast by the new system is and no more. If there be too much
from 300 to 320 degrees of Fahrenheit. heat, the pieces of mine partially melt
The diameter of the blast pipes at the and adhere together if too little, they
;

twyeres is various, according to circum- still contain a


portion of water or sul-
stances. With a strong pressure of phur, and are obliged to be thrown aside
blast and three twyeres, a diameter of by the filler, or workman at the tunnel
3 5 inches may be considered a maxi- head, as raw or green mine. In the ope-
mum. The
greater the quantity of blast ration of roasting there is a loss of weight
that is introduced, the greater generally in the mine of from 20 to 30 per cent.
will be the quantity of iron produced, The coke is also of great importance
though the quality will be deteriorated. in the smelting of iron. There is a great
Thus, if foundry or melting iron is difference in the quality of the coal in
wanted that is, the best quality to this district. At one extremity, where
be used for melting and running into the works of the British Company, the
articles of cast iron, the blast used is Varteg and Blaenafon, are situated, the
not so great as when an inferior quality coal is of a bituminous nature, swelling
is made, to be subsequently refined and and caking together in the coking, and
manufactured into bar iron. In these binding like the Newcastle coal, but in
cases, the quantity of the iron produced a less degree, in common fires. At
is generally increased in proportion as Merthyr Tidvil, on the contrary, does it

the qualityis deteriorated. not possess these qualities. There, it


But
to proceed to the materials used is capable of being coked in a much
in the production of pig-ironto the shorter time, nor does it bind together
food required to satisfy the voracious in the manner just described. In the
appetite of the furnace. The iron stone, former case, the ton of coal will produce
or mine, as it is technically termed, about 13 cwt. of coke ; in the latter, the
stands foremost in importance. To this proportion of coke to coal is greater,
is added a proper supply of coke to keep though the coke produced will not go so
up the necessary combustion, and a por- far in the manufacture of iron. .,

tion of limestone to act as a flux, as The method of coking in Wales is not


6 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
remarkable for that economy to which or less than half of that time. The coal
it may and will probably be brought when coked, has parted with all its
when coal is of more value than it is at moisture, tar, and hydrogen gas, and a
present. The general system is to place great part of its sulphur and according
;

the coal in long open heaps, containing to its properties, is either of a dull jet
30 or 40 tons, laying the pieces of coal black, with the appearance of charcoal,
as loose and open as possible, to allow or exhibits a bright metallic or vitreous
of their swelling, and covering the whole lustre, with a porous texture. The more
with smaller pieces so as to give the ex- carbonaceous matter it contains, the
ternal surface a tolerably level appear- better and those beds of coal are there-
;

ance. The heap is then set on fire in fore the most esteemed which present in
different places, and suffered to burn the fracture the dull, soft appearance of
till the whole surface is carbonized vegetable matter. Small
completely ig-
nited. When this is the case, the coker pieces of coke may be occasionally se-
covers it entirely over with the dust and lected from such a quality that can
ashes of former fires, to exclude the air hardly be discriminated from charcoal,
and prevent waste, and it is left to burn having that fibrous texture and peculia-
put,
or rather to cool gradually, till it is rity of lustre by which it is characterised.
in a proper state to be uncovered and Coke, indeed, may be considered only
carried to the tunnel head of the fur- as a substitute for charcoal in the smelt-
nace. The cooling is generally, how- ing of iron, and was formerly unknown
ever, expedited by pouring water upon as applicable to this purpose. Charcoal
the cokes before they are uncovered. is at present in general use in Russia
This issometimes done to a great ex- and Sweden, and indeed is now used at
tent, and is found to improve the quality a few works in this country. The iron
of the coke, by making it harder, and produced from it is particularly calcu-
more of the sulphur of the coal
expelling lated for conversion into steel ;
but its
than would be got rid of without the high price and insufficient
quantity
application of water. would totally preclude its general use,
By the system of open fires much of even were it a much greater desidera-
the coal must be reduced to ashes be- tum than it is. The impurities of the
fore the air is excluded. This is more coke of South Wales, or, in other words,
the case when the wind is the ashes that are left after combus-
particularly
high, as it not unfrequently is in those tion, are a very important subject for
mountainous and exposed situations. the investigation of the iron-master.
On a stormy night, the unremitting They are of many different kinds, some
exertions of a double set of cokers are of which are much more prejudicial to
perhaps required on the coke hearth to the working of the furnace than others ;
keep the fires tolerably covered ; and in and the strata of coal in which these
an extensive work, probably sixty or a prevail the most should therefore be
hundred tons of coal may be wasted in avoided altogether, or used with caution,
one night in spite of all their labour. mixed with other qualities of coal. If
The coke-hearth of an iron work in the coke, after combustion, leaves a
full operation presents a grand and im- red ash or residuum, sulphuret of iron
posing spectacle in a dark night. The is indicated, the sulphur of which pro-

long rows of flame produced by the duces a positively bad effect on the qua-
burning of many hundred tons of coal, lity of the iron smelted in the furnace.
extended over a vast space of ground, If the ashes are white, they probably
and flickering in the wind, the black, contain magnesia, silex, or alumine,
grotesque figures of the cokers bran- either singly or combined. The two
dishing their long rakes, and partially latter of these earths are only detrimen-
visible through the thick lurid smoke, tal as so much extraneous matter; in-
with the roaring of the blast and the deed, they may each singly be of service
noise of machinery, seem to realize the as a flux, according to the nature of the
descriptions of the infernal regions by iron-stone with which they come in con-
Virgil or Dante, rather than anything tact ;
but magnesia is injurious, as it
familiar to our experience in this habit- produces an opposite effect in rendering
able world. the flux less fusible by combining with
The bituminous coal of Monmouth- it.

shire requires from five to nine days to To understand the mode of working
become thoroughly coked, whilst that the Welsh furnaces, it should be stated,
about Merthyr takes only about half, that they are invariably situated on some
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
natural steep declivity, so that, by a little argillaceous and the calcareous) could
artificial excavation, the ground is made be found so near to each other as to be
level with the tunnel head at the back used in the same furnace, no flux would
of the furnace, and with the bottom of be necessary, as the extraneous matter
the hearth in front. Thus a perpendi- of each, if used in the proper propor-
cular cliff is formed of about forty feet tions,would combine together, melt,
high immediately in the rear of the fur- and detach themselves in the state of
nace, supported, if necessary, by a wall cinder without any addition.
of masonry. The mine kilns are on the In the selection of limestone, all those
upper level, immediately behind the fur- beds which contain magnesia should be
nace ; and thus the calcined mine when sedulously avoided. The necessity of
drawn from them is at hand ready for this will be evident from what has been
the filler the
at the tunnel head. On said above of the injury produced by the
same level, and as near the furnace as magnesia found in coke. The same in-
possible, is the coke hearth, a large jury, of course, would arise, in whatever
level space, capable of containing some way magnesia is introduced into the fur-
hundreds or thousands of tons, accord- nace. The magnesian limestones of
ing to the number of furnaces. Again, Wales are generally of a coarser texture
in front of the furnace, on the lower than those that are aluminous or sili-
level, is the cast-house, in which the ceous, and of a reddish colour; but
pigs and castings are run from the fur- practice and analysis only will enable
nace and also a proper space for the
;
the iron-master to determine the quality
convenience of weighing, stocking, or of stone best calculated for his purpose.
sending them off. The materials are introduced into the
The limestone, the remaining ingre- furnace at the tunnel head by the filler,
dient in the manufacture of iron, is ge- whose business it is to see that the
nerally procured at some distance, and coke is brought to him from the coke-
brought to the tunnel head, where it is hearth properly burned that the mine
;

broken into small pieces, that it may is


sufficiently calcined and unmixed
mix more intimately in the furnace with with clay or rubbish; that the lime-
the mine and coke. It is used as a stone is broken small enough ; that
flux, combining with the clay of the the proportion of each material, as di-
ore, and forming with it a fusible com- rected by the keeper or manager, is
pound, which runs off below in a slag maintained ; and also to take an ac-
or cinder. Although limestone is the count of the number of charges that he
'
universal flux in South Wales, its use puts into the furnace during his turn'
in other districts would not answer this of twelve hours. A charge is one bar-
purpose. In South Wales, as has been row of coke, with its proportion of mine
stated, the iron-stone is argillaceous, and limestone ; and the furnace is said
but in other places, in the forest of to drive fast or slow, according to the
Dean, for instance, in Gloucestershire, number of charges required to keep it
it is found in combination with lime or full during the twelve hours. The bar-
calcareous spar. Now as lime, silex, row of coke contains about twenty cubic
and alumine are not of themselves rea- feet, and weighs about six cwt. It is,

dily fusible, they are combined in the therefore, the product of about nine cwt.
blast furnace and in the selection of the
;
of coal, according to the calculation
flux, the object of the iron-master is to stated above. The proportion of burnt
separate the impurities from the iron in mine used to the charge varies consider-
the most complete manner possible. It ably, according to the working of the
would obviously be absurd to attempt furnace, and the quality of the iron
to use limestone as a flux with the cal- wanted to be produced. If foundry
' '
careous iron-stone of the forest of Dean, iron is wanted, the burden of mine to
as that would be only adding to what the charge must not be so heavy as
existed in excess before it would be when forge pigs are to be made. The
greater the quantity of mine used to
worse than useless, as it would be filling the
up the furnace with additional impuri- charge, the warmer, and the more dis-
ties,without facilitating its working. In posed to burn, as it is called, the furnace
that district, therefore, clay is the flux becomes. If there be an excess of mine,
and lime the substance which it is to a great additional heat is created, the
separate from the iron-stone just the twyeres will perhaps come short off the
contrary of what takes place in South sides of the furnace, and all the portions
Wales. If these two kinds of ore (the adhering to its interior will melt away.
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
Even parts of the brick work about the an iron work depend very much upon
twyeres will be injured by the intense- the capability of the materials to work
ness of the heat, requiring to be repaired to a good yield. The importance of this
from the outside. Under these circum- point must be obvious when it is recol-
stances the iron will become thick in the lected that, by the above calculation,
hearth, the quality of it will be very the daily consumption of a single fur-
bad, and the quantity small. To re- nace amounts to 57 tons of coal and 36
medy all these evils a portion of the of mine.
burden must be immediately taken off; The limestone is a matter of less im-
that is, a less weight of mine must be portance, being generally obtained at a
used to the charge. After a short time, small expense, and used in smaller
the effect of this change begins to ma- quantity, only about a ton being re-
nifest itself. New twyeres begin to quired to the ton of iron.
form, and to run in towards the centre ; It has been stated, that the iron is
the sides of the furnace become cooler, cast, or the furnace tapped, every twelve
and the quality of the iron improves. hours. This operation is managed by
Sometimes, when a scaffold has formed the keeper at the bottom. He will occa-
on the side, occasioning that irregularity sionally be obliged to cast more fre-
in the working of the furnace which has quently, as it is from the hearth
possible,
been before described, it becomes neces- being partially choked up, or from the
sary to scour the furnace out, as it is furnace making an unusually large
called; that is, to remedy one evil by quantity of iron, that it will not hold all
another to increase the burden, and that is produced in that time.
produce all this heat and burning, by The hole through which the iron is
which the offending mass is melted and let out is, of course, on a level with the
got rid of. The burden is then again bottom of the hearth, and in front of the
reduced, and the furnace works regu- furnace. It is stopped with a mixture
larly as before. of sand and clay, to prevent the escape
Let us now inquire into the quantities of the iron between the times of casting.
of raw mine (iron stone), coal, and lime- There is also an aperture level with
stone required to make a ton of pig iron. the top of the hearth, by which the liquid
The iron is run from the furnace every scoria or cinder is constantly running
twelve hours, and we will assume six off, except immediately after casting.
tons as the quantity produced in that The iron, being much heavier than the
time, although perhaps five would be cinder, sinks to the bottom of the hearth
nearer the mark as an average. We as it is melted whilst the cinder, form-
;

will assume also, that the furnace is ing much more rapidly, soon fills the
driving 50 charges a turn, with a bur- hearth and escapes, not, however, ob-
den of 6 cwt. of mine ; the quantity of structing the constant passage of the
burnt mine, therefore, required to make iron, which falls through it to the bottom.
6 tons of iron will be 50 times G cwt., or The appearance of the cinder is con-
15 tons, equal to about 18 tons of raw stantly watched by the keeper, as an
mine. Thus, according to this calcula- indication of the working of the furnace,
tion, 3 tons of raw mine are used for and he can generally tell with tolerable
the production of one of pig iron. The certainty the quality of the iron he is
coke for the turn, reckoning 9 cwt. of about to cast, by this criterion alone.
coal to the barrow (or 6 cwt. of coke), If it is of a whitish-grey colour, with a
will, in the same way, amount to 50 fracture somewhat resembling limestone
times 9, or 450 cwt. = 22^ tons, or 3 tons and running freely from the furnace to a
15 cwt. to the ton of iron. This is the considerable distance, he augurs well of
actual consumption of coal for the sup- the furnace ; the materials are then doing
ply of the furnace a further quantity is
: their duty, combining properly with each
used at the mine-kilns and engine-fires, other, and leaving the whole of the iron
which should properly be included in the in the hearth without loss ;
the furnace
account, and which will amount to about is
making good iron and to a good yield.
another ton, making a total of 4 tons At other times the cinder will assume
15 cwt. of coal to the ton of iron. These a glassy appearance, being very tena-
are called the yields of coal and mine, cious and tough whilst hot, and running
or, more indefinitely, the furnace yields, down sluggishly. The colour is, per-
and are the objects of great attention haps, of a light blue, or dirty yellow, or
with the iron master. sea-green. This shows the furnace to be
The facilities or local advantages of working cold, driving slow, and probably
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
not producing iron to so good a yield as down in an opposite state of things.
in the former case. This is true ; but it is sometimes difficult
But the most unfavourable aspect to convince the workmen of its truth,
observable in the cinder is a jet-black when the consequence to him will be a
colour, both on the surface and in the diminution of his gains and, from the
;

fracture ; the surface being rough and same cause, the master will sometimes
uneven ; and the stream broad, hot, and be unwilling to acknowledge the neces-
shallow. These symptoms are always sity of an advance of wages so soon as
accompanied by an unfavourable yield, his men desire. His object should be to
as a portion of the iron combines with induce, as much as possible, a mutual
the clay and limestone in the furnace, confidence between his men and him-
and comes away in the state of a black self; to anticipate their demand for an
oxide with the cinder, causing its dark advance, if he feels that, from the state
colour. Theory would teach us that the of the trade, it is unavoidable, and to
most favourable aspect of the cinder act with decision and firmness when he
would be that of a perfect glass, indica- is under the necessity of opposing their
ting neither the presence of iron by the wishes.
black colour, nor the excess of the flux But to return to the furnaces. It may
by the stony opaque appearance of the be supposed that the quantity of cinder
fracture. But in practice, this precise produced by a furnace is very great, when
point is found so difficult of attainment, the weight of the ma-
it is recollected that
that the appearance of the cinder is terials put in 36 tons in the twelve
is

always considered the most favourable hours, whilst the iron produced in the
when it is " strong of the stone," as the same time weighs only 6 tons. The
workmen say. weight of the cinder will not, however,
The keeper has a personal interest in by any means balance the account, it
the well working of his furnace, and, if having been found that there is a loss of
he is a good and steady workman, will weight, in the process of smelting,
watch all these points with constant greater in amount than the quantity of
care. He is paid on the ton of iron coke used; that is, from 36 tons of
produced, and, indeed, the fillers, co- materials put in at the tunnel head, the
kers, limestone breakers, mine burners, total process at the bottom in cinder,
and all others connected with the fur- iron, and ashes, will not exceed 20 tons.
nace, are generally paid in the same way; The deficiency is occasioned in the pro-
for if any one of these various operations cess of combustion by the escape of
is neglected, the furnace is sure to suffer, oxygen, carbon, &c., from the mine and
and by uniting the men in one common limestone, as well as from the coke.
interest, the best security is obtained for Still the quantity of cinder
continually
the well regulation of the whole. The accumulating is so great, as sometimes
wages of labour constitute so very great to occasion considerable expense in its
a proportion of the cost of iron, that it disposal. The situations in Wales are
is a matter of first-rate importance to generally very favourable for this object,
economise them as much as possible ; being upon elevated ground. The cin-
and it has been said, with too much ders being carried in the direction of the
truth, that the business of the iron mas- declivity, and formed into a horizontal
ter is a constant struggle with his work- terrace, soon acquire, from the nature
men, the endeavour on his part being to of the ground, a very great thickness,
keep down or to reduce their wages ; the road remaining level. Large ridges
and, on theirs, to get as much for their or hillocks of cinder are thus produced,
labour as possible. called cinder tips; and often, from their
This contest, unpleasant as it maybe, great extent and elevated position, form
is to a certain extent unavoidable and a remarkable, though dreary, feature in
natural, and neither masters nor men the aspect of the country. "Where the
are to be blamed for making the best works are situated on a flat ground,
bargain for themselves that they can. without any great fall in the immediate
It may be said, that there is a natural neighbourhood, this facility in the re-
and imperious standard of wages in the moval not afforded, and
of the cinders is

state of the trade, beyond the control of a serious item of expense is consequently
the master or the workman that, when
;
incurred. In one or two instances, they
iron is low and the demand dull, it is as are obliged to be taken about two miles
impossible for the former to give high from the furnaces before they can be
wages as it is for him to keep them disposed of.
10 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
The pig iron produced in the operation These two sorts are all that are re-
of smelting is of very various qualities, cognized in some places as foundry iron.
according to the purpose for which it is Their being combined with so lar^e a
wanted, and the circumstances under dose of carbon and oxygen renders them
which it is manufactured. It may be unfit for remanufacture into bars but ;

divided, first, into foundry iron and forge iron of the next quality, or No. 3, having
iron ; the former being used in the state less foreign admixture in its composi-
of pigs, for casting ; the latter being only tion, is destined indifferently for the
applicable to the manufacture of bar forge or the foundry. It is used exten-
iron. The reason of this is, that, from sively for castings where great strength
its nature, it is too thick, when melted, is required, or in situations where it is
to adapt itself to the shape of the mould, to be exposed to constant wear and tear,
and, when cold, is too weak and brittle such as tram plates, heavy shafts, and
to be serviceable as cast iron, even if wheels, cylinders for steam-engines and
the other objection did not exist. many descriptions of heavy work. It is
But the foundry iron comes first to be selected for these purposes from being still
described. There are three qualities of harder than No. 2, and possessing so
it, second, and third.
first, great a degree of toughness as well as
No. foundry iron differs in its che-
1 hardness as to make very strong and
mical composition from the other sorts, durable castings. In appearance it
by containing more carbon. It is, in- differsfrom No. 2, in the same way as
deed, combined with as much carbon as that from No. 1, being closer
does
it is capable of holding ;
and to effect grained and more regular, and darker
this combination in its full extent, the when broken. From its appearance, it

coke containing the fibrous appearance is often called dark grey iron ; by which
of charcoal, or the purest carbon, is term it is, indeed, as well known as by
selected. The tendency of this combi- that of No. 3.
nation is to render the iron soft, and to The next quality, bright iron, is never
make very fluid when melted, so that
it called foundry iron, although used ex-
it will run into the finest and most deli-
tensively for large castings. It possesses
cate mouldings. It is used for small great strength and hardness, but not
and ornamental castings, and anything enough to adapt itself to intricate
fluidity
that requires a minute and perfect or minute mouldings. It derives its

adaptation to the shape of the mould. name from appearance, which is of a


its
It is distinguished in its appearance by lighter colour and brighter lustre than
great smoothness on the face or surface that which has hitherto been described.
of the pig; and in the fracture it ex- Mottled iron is used exclusively for
hibits a large, dark, bright, open grain, the purposes of the forge, as it is too
intermixed with dead spots of a lighter thick and brittle for the foundry. It is
colour and closer texture. When broken, smooth in the fracture, hardly exhibiting
the pig does not ring, but sounds rather any grain, and appears to be com-
like lead, falling dull and dead upon the pounded of two qualities imperfectly
block over which it is broken. It is also combined, being spotted or mottled with
so soft as to yield readily to the chisel. grey and white.
In running from the furnace, the sur- White iron is supposed to contain a
face of the melted metal is smooth and very small portion of carbon less than
dull, breaking occasionally into streaks any other sort of pig iron. It is totally
and cracks of a darker and brighter red. unfit for casting, and is sometimes so
When it is highly carbonized, the pigs thick as hardly to run into the pig moulds,
and the cinder are frequently covered although they are purposely made very
with small bright black laminae of a large and so brittle, that the largest
;

substance called kish. It is a pure car- and most unwieldy pigs may be readily
buret of iron, or black lead, and evinces broken by a blow with a sledge-hammer.
an excess of carbon in the pig. It is too hard to yield in any degree to
No. 2 foundry iron is less carbonized the chisel. The colour of the fracture
than No. 1 ; not so soft, closer grained is a silvery white ; shining and smooth
and more regular in the fracture, not in its texture, with a foliated or crys-
so fluid when melted, nor so smooth on tallized structure.
the face of the pig it is, however, harder
; Thus we have six distinct gradations
and stronger, and is preferred for all the of pig iron, produced under different
less delicate parts of
machinery, where circumstances in the blast furnace:
strength and durability are required. No. 1 and No. 2 foundry, No. 3 foundry
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 11

or dark grey ; bright, mottled,


and white. twyeres could not be kept strong the ;

The difference in the properties and ap- cinder became black, and the iron of a
pearance of these sorts has been at- very inferior quality, being entirely white
tempted to be described; but any de- and very thick in running out of the
scription must be imperfect, unless
furnace. Under all these discouraging
illustrated by reference to specimens. circumstances, it was thought that no
in determining the precise substitution of forge or refinery cinder
Accuracy
quality of any particular specimen is for mine could be advantageously made,
only to be attained by experience ; for and the cinder was consequently laid
when one sort is approaching to the aside as entirely worthless.
next either below it or above it, the The contrivance of Messrs. Hill and
shades of difference are so minute as to Co. consisted in mixing the cinder with
make it difficult to determine its proper argillaceous matter, so as to form a more
rank. instance, we often hear iron
For complete imitation of the ore in its na-
spoken of as good bright or indifferent tural state. A
portion of the shale or
dark, or perhaps as second foundry, but clunch adhering to the natural ore when
so good that it may do as first. Expe- first raised, was to be put into the fur-
rience also is necessary as to the local nace with every charge of cinder. This
differences in the appearance of the pig; combination was to make the material
for foundry iron, especially, is found to less rich, or leaner, as it is termed, and

vary materially in appearance at different thereby to prevent the injurious effect


works, the quality being the same. before described of the burning of the
All these six descriptions of pig iron furnace. The experiment succeeded,
contain oxygen and carbon. The car- and a patent was obtained, which pro-
bon exists in the greatest proportion in mised to be very lucrative. It was,
the No. 1 foundry iron ; and in the least however, soon invaded. An action was
in the white iron last described ; its pro- brought for the infringement of the pa-
portion being gradually diminished in tent, which was successfully defended, a
the intermediate stages. Its tendency use of the system in question hav-
prior
seems to be, to give a softness and tough- ing been proved. Thus, then, every iron
ness to the pig, so that, as far as carbon master had it in his power to avail him-
is concerned, the purer the iron is when self of his large stores of cinder, the ac-
run from the furnace, the less fit it is for cumulation perhaps of many years, in
foundry purposes. any quantity or proportion that he
In describing the management of a might find expedient. Many were the
furnace, and the selection of the mate- experiments made, and numberless the
rials, there has been no reference to a tons of bad iron produced in consequence.
discovery made some time ago, and re- It was thought that the substitution,
cently brought into very general appli- even in small proportions, of a cheap
cation. Messrs. Hill and Co., of the for an expensive material, must more
Plymouth works, near Merthyr, ob- than counterbalance all the disadvan-
tained a patent many years ago for the tages that would arise in quality, &c. ;
use of forge and refinery cinder, as a but time and experience sobered down
substitute for mine, in the furnace. these anticipations, and counteracted
These materials are the scoria or dross these erroneous impressions. The ge-
produced in the different operations of neral opinion of the application of cinder
the forge and the refinery hereafter to in Wales now is, that it can be advan-
be described. It is an oxide of iron, tageously used only to a certain extent,
with but little foreign matter, and there- and with great care. Indeed, it is
fore containing a great proportion of thought to be very fair work if the con-
iron, frequently 60 or 70 per cent. It stant production of the cinder at the
had not been generally used before for forge and refineries can be used at the
any purpose for although it was known
;
furnaces as it is made, so that the large
to contain a large proportion of iron, all stores before collected may, still be in
attempts to smelt it effectively and eco- part at least, preserved, to be made
nomically had failed. It was thought available at some future time when the
to be so prejudicial to the working of a manufacture of iron has undergone fur-
furnace, and the quality of the iron pro- ther improvement.
duced, as to render its extensive appli- The use of cinder certainly deteriorates
cation impracticable. The effect it pro- the quality of the iron. It rarely pro-
duced was to make the furnace burn, duces foundry iron, even when mixed in
although a light burden was used. The small proportions with mine ; and when
12 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
the proportion is increased, or when is soft and tough. Thus then we are
used entirely by itself, the pig pro-
it is struck with this apparent contradiction,
duced is not of a clear bright white colour, that the purer the iron is in the state of
or compact solid texture, but of a dirty pig, as far at least as carbon is con-
dull colour, very rough and uneven on cerned, and in that respect the more it
the surface, and somewhat porous in its resembles malleable iron in its chemical
internal structure. In the subsequent properties, the more removed it becomes
processes of conversion into bar iron, from it in its appearance and mechanical
there is a greater loss of weight in pig properties the white iron of the furnace
;

produced from cinder than from mine, being, as we have seen, the hardest
with also a certain deterioration of qua- and most brittle that can be produced.
lity in the finished bar. All these cir- It is, however, so difficult to follow up
cumstances show that the greatest care chemical analysis and obtain results
must be taken to ensure the advantage- with minute accuracy, in a process re-
ous application of cinder. It should be quiring intense heat, that hitherto the
remembered that these remarks are only phenomena attendant upon the refining
applicable to Wales ; the cinder in Staf- of pig iron, and its conversion into bars,
fordshire having been more extensively may be said rather to be guessed at than
and profitably applied. perfectly explained.
There is little doubt that the time will The operation of refining the pig iron
come when this material will be found is performed in low furnaces,
small,
much more valuable than it can now called refineries. They are about three
be considered ; that when chemical feet square at the base in the inside.
science has made further advances, a The bottom of the hearth is of fire brick,
more effectual method will be disco- and the front, back, and sides, of cast
vered of separating the metal, which is iron. The castings used for the sides
known to exist in a very large propor- are made hollow, and so contrived as to
tion, and combined with so few impuri- allow the passage of a constant stream
ties. We must be content, however, to of water through them. This contriv-
proceed gradually. When we look back ance is necessary as a precaution against
to the process of manufacturing iron the intense heat of the fire, which would
twenty years ago, we have every reason otherwise soon burn away, and destroy
to be satisfied with the progress which the sides of the refinery. Near the top
has been made in the knowledge and of this square are three holes in the side,
improvement of the subject; and we for the introduction of the blast pipes.
may confidently anticipate that the next Refineries are of two kinds, according
twenty years may be equally marked by as the blast is applied on both sides or
advancement. It is true that many only on one. In the former case, they
schemes projected by scientific and ex- are called double fires ; and in the latter,
perienced men have failed that many; single. The double fire being larger
favourite speculations, which have ap- than the single, and having a more am-
peared most plausible in the closet or ple supply of blast, will make a much
laboratory, have been incapable of being greater quantity of refined metal. It
followed up in practice on a large scale. would have been therefore universally
But this want of success should by no preferred, if it had not been thought to
means dishearten us. The very failures carry on the process of refining at a
themselves lead us on to more accurate greater expense of iron and coke than
knowledge and correct results, and thus the single fire ; that is, in .the technical
language of the trade, to work to a
'
pave the way, slowly it is true, but
surely also, to ultimate success and cer- worse yield.' This may be the case un-
tainty. der peculiar circumstances of materials ;

Ourpresent want of knowledge is re- but generally it will be found, that, all
markably displayed in the different ope- other things being equal,~ the greater
rations of converting pig iron into mal- the quantity produced in one fire, in-
leable, or wrought iron. Pig iron is stead of distributing the production be-
commonly supposed to be a combination tween two, the greater will be the eco-
of the pure metal with carbon and oxy- nomy of fuel ; for a portion of heat will
gen ; bar iron is the same metal freed always be lost at the surface and sides
from these impurities. It is not ascer- of the fire ; and therefore the smaller
tained in what proportions oxygen exists the fire, the greater will be the propor-
in the pig ;
but we know that the carbon tion of surface and consequent loss of
is more abundant in proportion as the iron heat. _ But the yield of iron in the re-
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 13

finery is of more consequence than the the subsequent operations which it has
yield of coke, inasmuch as the former to undergo. This is effected by keeping
material much more costly than the
is the pigs in the state of fusion for some
latter. therefore, the yield of iron is
If, time, exposed to a very great heat and
w.orse in the double fire than in the a strong blast. How the change is pro-
single one, Ihe latter ought to be pre- duced, what is the quantity of carbon
ferred, in spite of the greater loss of separated, and combined in what pro-
coke. This, however, is not generally portion with oxygen, are rather subjects
the case ; and the double refineries are of speculation than demonstrated facts.
It would appear that there is a certain
consequently the most commonly in use.
They are furnished with three small combination of carbon and oxygen in
twyeres on each side, the pipes being the pig more favourable than any other
about an inch in diameter, and the pres- for the process of refining, for dark grey
sure of the blast the same as for the fur- pigs will produce a much better quality
nace, viz. from 1 fib. to 2 ^Ibs. or even 3lbs. of refined metal than mottled or white,
on the square inch. The twyeres are pro- though it might be supposed, from the
tected by a conical case of wrought iron, latter being combined with less carbon

projecting a little into the fire, and made than the former, that they would the t

hollow, or double, so as to allow of the more readily part with what they do
constant circulation of a stream of cold contain. The white pig, in its chemical
water. These are called water twyeres, properties, as far as we know them, ap-
and are found necessary to keep the proaches very nearly to the refined me-
sides of the refinery cool, and the twyere tal. In its appearance, also, and me-
pipes from being burned. Water twyeres chanical properties is very similar to
it

are also occasionally used at the smelting it. The plate of metal run into the re-
furnace, when it is working hot and finery mould is very brittle, and easily
there is a propensity to burn, and they broken into convenient pieces for use at
are then of much advantage in checking the forge. In its fracture, it presents
the heat of the furnace and preserving the same bright silvery whiteness that
the masonry of the sides. has been described in the white pig.
The refinery is furnished with iron With all this apparent similarity, white
doors at the back, but is open in front ; iron is disliked by the refiner, as occa-
and when the doors behind are closed, sioning more trouble in working, and
it looks not unlike an old-fashioned producing refined metal of a worse
kitchen fire-place, though by no means quality than dark grey, bright, or mot-
so approachable, for the heat thrown out tled pigs ; and it will be seen afterwards
is too great for any one but the work- that the white pig cannot be wholly sub-
men who are accustomed to it, to come stituted for refined metal at the forge.
near. The- whole is surmounted by a There is then an essential difference in
low, wide, square chimney of brick- the composition of the iron in these two
work, the entire edifice not being more states, though what this difference is
than 18 to 20 feet high. In front, the has not hitherto been accurately ascer-
workman is protected from the weather tained.
by a shed coming forward from the fire. The refiner selects his materials ac-
There is a hole at the bottom of the cording to the quality of the iron wanted.
hearth in front, for running out the me- The best quality is made from the dark
tal, similar to that in the furnace. It grey pig, or No. 3, and the inferior sorts
communicates by a short channel with from bright, mottled, and white, in their
an oblong flat mould of cast iron, about order. The very worst white iron can-
20 feet long by 2 broad. This is placed not be used by itself in the refinery,
over a cistern of water, with the surface being too thick to be readily run out,
of which it is in contact, and is thus and consequently clogging up and set-
kept cool, and chills the metal as it runs ting in the hearth. It is got rid of by
into it. It is necessary to cast the being mixed with pigs of a better qua-
mould very thick, to provide against the lity, by which
means little inconvenience
frequent cracking to which it is liable, is occasioned to the refiner.
from the unequal contraction and ex- From the time the pigs are put into
pansion of the iron. the refinery, it requires^about two hours
The process of refining consists in before they are in a proper state to run
separating a portion of the carbon from out. Thus, the refiner will run out his
the pig, and thus reducing the iron to a mould of metal six times in his turn of
greater degree of purity preparatory to twelve hours ; and as there is always a
14 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
double set of men, to avoid the loss of satisfactory way of stating the yield is to
time and fuel consequent upon allowing give it in the coal, as some qualities will
1

the fires to go out, the refineries will produce a greater quantity of coke than
continue at this rate from the Monday others. The running out a mould of
morning to the Saturday night. The refined iron, or metal as it is called for
weight of each plate of metal is about a shortness, is a brilliant and beautiful
ton. The quantity then produced in a spectacle. The impetuosity of the stream
double fire in the week will be from as it issues from the hearth when first
sixty to seventy tons. Let us now see opened, the hissing of the liquid metal,
at what expense of material it is pro- the beautiful sparks of ignited iron fan-
duced, or, in technical language, what tastically dancing in all directions, and
are the refinery yields. afterwards the sluggish progress of the
The yield of iron to the ton of refined cinder bubbling up, and frequently ris-
metal, like every thing else in the trade, ing into grotesque forms, cannot fail to
varies according to good or bad manage- be striking and interesting to the ob-
ment, to the quality of the purs, and also server, however unacquainted he may
to the quality of the coke. Dark grey be with the chemical and scientific solu-
tion of the phenomena he is witnessing.
pigs, with well carbonized coke, will
sometimes work to a yield of 2 cwt., The refiners, like the furnace men,
i.e. 22 cwt. of pigs will only be required are paid on the quantity of metal pro-
to produce the ton of refined metal. duced. It requires considerable expe-
More will be required with the inferior rience and skill to be a good refiner.
qualities of pig ; and 23 cwt. will not
Their occupation also is one of great
probably be too much to state as the exertion, and occasional exposure to an
average quantity of pig to the ton of re- intense heat. Their business consists
fined metal in Wales. This deficiency in putting the charge of pigs on the fire,
of weight is more than balanced by the which they do by opening the iron doors
at the back in attending to the pro-
quantity of cinder produced, showing ;

the combination of a portion of the iron gress of the melting, supplying the fire
with oxygen and other impurities. At with coke from time to time, and fre-
each running out of the refined metal, quently stirring it up to equalize the
a quantity of the cinder comes with it, heat in all parts of the hearth ; in at-
and being lighter than the metal, it floats tending to the twyeres, and taking care
on the top, and detaches itself as it that the circulation of the water conti-
cools. It is an oxide of iron, and, as has nues uninterrupted ; in running out the
been seen, is now duly appreciated as a metal when it is ready ; and finally, in
valuable substitute for mine at the fur- raising the plate from the mould, when
naces. From an actual trial, carefully it has a little cooled,
by means of a lever,
made during one week at two refineries, and wheeling it forwards beyond his
the following results were obtained : shed, removing the cinder, and prepar-
Tons. Cwt. ing the mould for the reception of the
- - - - 151
Pigs used 7 next supply of metal. The metal is
Refined metal produced 135 weighed by a person appointed for the
-
purpose, who keeps a separate account
Showing a loss of 16 7 of the work of each refiner, to be car-
from which it appears that the yield was ried to his credit in the pay book.
2 cwt. 1 or that 1 ton 2 cwt.
qr. 22 Ibs., Having now got through the business
1 qr. 22 iron was used to
Ibs. of pig of the furnace and the refinery, the va-
make the ton of metal. During the rious operations of the forge come next
above period, the refinery cinder pro- under our notice. The forge and mill
duced was 3 1 tons 4 cwt. which, it will be are perhaps the most interesting depart-
observed, more than balances the waste ment of an iron work. In what has
of the pig iron by 1 4 tons 17 cwt., show- been hitherto before us, there has been
ing a combination of iron with extra- no succession of active business brought
neous matter to that extent. The cin- palpably to the view of the spectator.
der, therefore, in this instance, would It is true that things are constantly
contain rather more than 50 per cent, progressing, but the proceeds are only
of iron. occasionally brought to light.
'
'
A sow
The quantity of coal used to the ton of pigs is cast at the furnace every
of metal is not great, ten or twelve cwt. twelve hours, and then all is compara-
being sufficient. It is used in the state tively quiet again. Aplate of metal is
of coke at the refinery ; but the most run out at the refinery only at intervals.
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
The continued action is carried on in of rolls, the hammer, shears, and lathe.
secret as were, out of our sight, and
it To an engine with
effect these objects,
beyond our observation. see the We a steam cylinder of forty-five inches will
rough materials put into the furnace at be required. The work to be done by
the tunnel head, and are told that such this engine is of a peculiar kind the ;

and such combinations and results are strain, or the force and friction to be
to follow ; but, unfortunately, we can- overcome, being at one time very great,
not ourselves observe these operations, and at another comparatively nothing.
and we must therefore content ourselves If it has only the machinery to keep in
with a partial and imperfect contempla- motion, which is occasionally the case
tion of the progress of the manufacture during short intervals, it has of course
so far. little resistance to overcome. If, on
In the forge and mill, on the contrary, the other hand, there is a bar passing
all is bustle and activity ; nothing is through every pair of rolls at the same
left to itself ;
under the constant
all is time, the resistance becomes so great,
observation of the workman and we ;
that if it were continued instead of being
can watch the progress of converting temporary, the engine would be stag-
the refined metal into bars, through all gered and finally stopped. This great
its different states and stages. variation ought to be avoided as much
Steam power here, as with the fur- as possible by the workmen, who should
naces, is in most general use; conve- so contrive as to keep the work of the
nient situations affording an ample sup- engine tolerably regular, neither allow-
ply of water being extremely rare. But ing the rolls to remain long idle, nor
as* it is not so important to have an un- supplying them all with bars at the
interrupted power for the forge as it is same time and in quick succession.
for the furnace, water power might be This equalization of power is also pro-
applicable to the former, though it vided for necessarily by other means.
would be rejected for the latter purpose. It is well known that all engines that
Stoppage at the forge is not attended communicate power by means of a
with the fatal consequences that would crank must be furnished with a fly
result at the furnace. It is an incon- wheel, to carry the crank over the
venience rather than a positive injury ; centres. This they do by their momen-
merely a loss of production, a hinderance tum ;
if it were not for the fly wheel,
and
to the progress of the work. the engine would be liable to stop at the
Supposing then that steam power is end of every stroke that is, whenever
;

the primum mobile at the forge, and the piston and the crank get to their
that one engine is used, let us inquire lowest point of depression or their highest
what it has to do. The forge consists, point of elevation. At these points the
we will say, of a hammer and two pair power of the engine is nothing, as it has
of rollers, (or rolls, as they are termed, no leverage upon which to act in the
the workman being called the roller,) crank. At the intermediate parts of
with a pair or two of strong shears to the ascending and descending stroke
cut the bars. We
will not stop to de- the power varies, being the greatest at
scribe these now, as they will come the half stroke, when the crank presents
again under our observation. We will the longest lever to the connecting rod,
assume also, that the mill contains two and proportion ably smaller as it ap-
pair of rolls of fourteen inches diameter, proaches the top or bottom.
for making large sizes of bolts and bars ; This irregularity of power is common
two pair of ten inches, as an interme- to all engines working with a crank,
diate size ; and two or three pair only and they are all therefore provided with
seven inches in diameter, for rolling the a fly wheel. But when, in addition to
smallest sizes of iron. The mill also, this unavoidable variation in the action
as well as the forge, should be provided of an engine, it has to perform work of
with strong shears, for cutting the bars. an intermitting kind to resist great
If nail rods are required to be made, and sudden strains, that come at inter-
there must be the proper machinery for vals, and last for only a short time, the
them also viz. a pair of rolls and a fly wheel becomes eminently useful. In
pair of slitters, as they are called. To engines of this description, therefore, it
conclude, a heavy and powerful lathe is made unusually large and heavy,
is necessary, for the purpose of turning weighing perhaps 8, 10 or 12 tons, and
the iron rolls. The engine then will of the diameter of 16 feet, the weight
be required to put in motion nine pair being disposed as much at the circum-
16 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
ference as is consistent with the strength which ought, when finished, to present
of the wheel. The speed at which it is an uniformly smooth and firm surface.
propelled is also very much greater than The founder, however, has a means of
in ordinary cases, being 70, 80, and even obviating this unsoundness of texture.
100 revolutions in the minute so fast, The mould of the roll is sunk in the cast
that the spokes or radii of the wheel are house in a perpendicular direction be-
sometimes not discernible. The mo- low the surface, and above it is a second
mentum of such a mass of iron moving mould or head, as it is called, which,
at so great a velocity, may readily be when that of the roll is filled, receives
conceived to be tremendous, and to be an additional quantity of the melted
a most effectual coadjutor to the engine metal. The founder introduces a bar
in carrying it through sudden strains. through this head into the body of the
Indeed, hardly any force that could be roll, with which he gently stirs the iron

opposed to it would be sufficient to stop as long as it is sufficiently fluid to admit


it all once.
at So irresistible is its of his doing so. The deficiency occa-
power, that in case of any sudden impe- sioned by the shrinking of the iron in
diment, too great for the machinery to the body of the roll is thus supplied
surmount, some part of it must give from above, and the whole casting is
way, and as these cases will sometimes sound and solid throughout.
occur, it is contrived to make a subor- In turning so large a body, and one
dinate part of the machinery weaker composed of so hard a material, a very
than the rest, so that, by breaking, it slow motion is necessary, otherwise the
saves the more valuable parts from in- steel tools would soon become so hot as

jury, and is itself easily replaced. to lose their edge. This is accordingly
As may be supposed, all the ma- provided for by a succession of large
chinery of a forge is obliged to be par- and small wheels, which reduce the
ticularly firmand strong. Very heavy speed at the lathe to about a revolution
cast iron plates are imbedded in ma- and a half in a minute.
sonry underground, to form a firm From what has been stated of the
foundation. These beds are furnished number of shafts and wheels in the ma-
with grooves and other conveniences, chinery of a forge and mill, each of
by which the uprights or sides of the which must have its axles or bearings,
rolls are immoveably secured. The it
may be supposed that the friction to
different sets of rolls require to be be overcome is of itself enormous. It
turned at different speeds, and a num- is increased from the necessity of all

ber of wheels and shafts are therefore these axles and bearings being large and
necessary, which are carried chiefly un- strong ; and the only means there are of
der ground for the greater accommoda- keeping it at all within bounds are there-
tion of the work. Thus there is almost fore anxiously resorted to. The first of
as much weight of machinery under these is to have all the machinery con-
ground as above and the spectator will
;
structed and put together with great
at first be at a loss to trace the con- accuracy ; the wheels correctly centred,
nexion from the engine to the more dis- perfectly true, and in line with each
tant parts of the machinery. other ; the shafts carefully levelled, and
The rolls are cast solid ; and to pro- in line also ; and the rolls exactly pa-
vide for the great and constant wear rallel. The next is to have brass bear-
they have to sustain from the pressure ings for all the necks of the rolls, the
of the bar, as it passes through them, axles of the wheels, and the ends of the
they are made of bright iron, as being shafts, the friction occasioned by the
the hardest quality that is consistent rubbing of two different metals being
with a proper degree of strength. Now well known to be much less than that
it is found that in very heavy castings of two pieces of the same metal. The
the body of the iron is not uniformly third of these means is, to keep all the
firm and solid throughout. The outside points of friction well oiled and perfectly
may not, and probably will not, betray cool. If the axle of a wheel or neck
this defect, as it cools and hardens be- of a roll be suffered to become hot, the
fore the rest but the shrinking of the
;
friction is prodigiously increased at
iron within, as it cools, occasions small once, and the parts in question begin
holes and a partial honeycomb texture, rapidly to rub and wear against each
which of course is prejudicial in all cases. other ; thus producing a double evil,
It is particularly so in rolls, which have the immediate one of increasing the
the outside taken off in turning, and work of the engine, and the more re-
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 17

mote, though not less important one, of a more intense heat than at others. The
of line or draft and heat of these furnaces are so
bringing the machinery out
levelhy the unequal wearing of its parts. great, that the flame is carried com-
In describing the manufacture of bars, pletely through to the top of the stack,
we shall have to encounter many tech- where it comes in contact with the
nical terms, all of which will be noticed which is frequently nearly
damper,
and explained as they occur not that it
;
The bottom of the furnace (c)
red hot.
is necessary to introduce them all for was formerly always composed of sand,
the purposes of clear definition to the and occasionally is so still but the ;

desirable most general plan is to construct it of a


general reader, but it is surely
that those who interest themselves in thick cast iron plate, which is preserved
from fusion by a coat of the oxide of
any subject should be made acquainted
with the terms in which they would hear iron or cinder, which is formed in pud-
that subject explained by those imme- dling. An artificial bottom is thus
diately engaged in it. created, and found to answer better than
The first grand process at the forge one constructed upon sand.
is the puddling, an operation by which Fig, 6 is an outline of the exterior of
the oxygen and carbon are still further
Fig. 6.
and more completely separated from the
iron than could be accomplished in the
refinery. It is performed in a reverbe-
a fur-
ratory furnace, called puddling
in
nace, of which a section is annexed,
fig. 5, to give
an idea of its structure.

Fig. 5.

a puddling furnace, in which the whole


side is of one or more plates of cast iron
lined with brick, the two sides being
connected by bars at the top, over the
brickwork of the roof, a is the stoke-
In this figure, a is the grate, supplied hole, so contrived as to be stopped with
with coal through an aperture in the a piece of coal, which is used to equalize
side, called the stoke-hole, and furnished the heat, by preventing the ingress of
with bars at the bottom for the proper air to the furnace, except through the
supply of air and escape of the ashes. bars at the bottom, b is the door^, raised
b is the body of the furnace, where the when necessary by the lever and chain d.
refined metal is placed and exposed to c is the stack, where a portion of the
the heat of the flames, which are drawn chain is shown by which the damper is
from the fire by the current of air over raised or lowered. The furnace, when
the little brick-work division between a first lighted, requires three or four hours
and b, and are turned downwards again before it is ready to be charged, or to
by the inclination of the roof, so as to receive a heat of metal, as it is called ;
curl and play upon the surface of the that is, the proper quantity of refined
melted iron at b they are then carried
; iron.
through the narrow part, or neck of the The first department at the forge is
furnace, to the stack or chimney c. The the weighing out of these charges, and
chimney is carried up to the height of delivering them at the puddling furnaces.
about 30 feet, and bound together at The general weight of the charge is
different points with iron, to keep it about 3^ cwt., or from that to 4 cwt. ;
firmly together. There is a damper at it cannot be stated with precision, as
the top of it, by which the puddler regu- the practice varies at different works.
lates the degree of draft (and conse- Indeed, all the statements of quantity,
quently heat) to his furnace ; for, during and weight, and yield, that have hitherto
some parts of his operations, he wants been made, as well as those which will
C
18 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
come under our discussion before we part of it in turn to the action of the
conclude, must necessarily be somewhat flame. In doing this he is obliged con-
vague and imperfect. Certainly, no two stantly to change his tools, which soon
works in Wales correspond exactly in become red-hot, and are plunged, as they
the quality of their materials, the results are withdrawn, into a vessel of water to
of the different branches of their ma- cool them. The liquid mass heaves and
nufacture, and their mode of working. boils whilst it is being stirred, showing
The attempt here is to establish a kind the escape of an elastic fluid. After a
of average. If we were to ground our time it becomes more and more thick,
calculations, and confine our description having a sort of curdy appearance as it
to any one particular work, we should, is turned over, the points and corners of
in all probability, give a very unsatis- the small crumbs being of a bright glow-
factory account of the general practice ing white heat, whilst the body of the
and the general results in Wales. As mass looks cooler. When the iron is in
it is, errors may have been made as to this state, the workman says it is coming
the correct averages, for these are not round to nature. The puddler still per-
always easy to obtain ; but however severes in stirring, or rather moving it
inaccurate the statements here made about, till it is so thick and tenacious as
may be, considered as averages, they to stick together and form into lumps.
are, nevertheless, points that have been He then begins to ' ball it up ;' that is,
selected between two extremes." to divide it into a certain number of por-
But, to return. The puddler being tions, generally five or six, which he
supplied with his charge of 4 cwt. of brings into a round form with his tools,
metal, which is broken into small and making them as firm and compact as
convenient pieces, puts it into his fur- he can. In this state they are called
nace through the door. The instrument puddler's balls or blooms, and the pud-
he uses for this purpose is something dler has now finished his heat, as it is

like a baker's wooden shovel. In all termed.


his operations he is assisted by his The number of heats that a puddler
underhand, an inferior workman, not will work in the twelve hours, with the
recognized by the master, but paid by common puddling furnace, is from six
the puddler out of his price for puddling. to nine. In the course of the heat he
The metal being all put into the furnace, occasionally throws in a little water,
the door is shut down and carefully which, in his own language, brings the
closed, to prevent the admission of air ;
iron round to nature faster. He also
as any air admitted, except through the uses a small quantity of the black oxide
body of the fire, tends to lessen the heat of iron, formed in the subsequent pro-
and derange the regular circulation of cesses of the forge. This enables him
the current. In about half an hour the to improve his yield, as it affords a por-
pieces of metal begin to melt, and then tion of iron, and increases the weight of
begin also the labours of the puddler. the produce of the furnace, on which
At the bottom of the door isla small weight he is paid. He has sometimes
hole, shaped like a scollop (shown in a premium for good yield, receiving
fig. 6), and only large enough for the an extra price when the proceeds of
puddler to introduce his tools and see his furnace exceed a certain weight,
the progress of his work. His first busi- the quantity of metal used being in all
ness is so to dispose the pieces of melt- cases the same. This is not, however,
ing metal that those which are the least a very satisfactory mode of payment, as
exposed to the action of the flame may it holds out an inducement for the im-
be drawn more immediately under its moderate use of cinder, which injures the
influence, and that the whole quantity it is also a tempta-
quality of the iron :

may be brought to the same state, and tion to the puddler to supply himself
melted as nearly as possible together. with metal by stealing it from the yard
If is not so
it
managed, that which is or from his neighbours' stock, and thus
first melted begins to burn and waste using more than the regular
and au-
before the other is ready and the yield
;
thorized charge. These petty thefts are
is, therefore, worse than when all goes not difficult of execution, particularly at
on well together. When the whole is to commit
night ; and the temptation
melted, the puddler, sometimes with a them should always be withheld when it

tool turned at the end like a hoe, and is possible to do so.


sometimes with a flat one, stirs it about Iron masters, in the late depressed
diligently in all directions; exposing every times, have been put very much on the
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 19

qui vive for projects of re-


all 'possible body. This is an argument which ad-
trenchment and economy. Indeed, eco- mits of no reply. The very same cir-
nomy may be considered as the very cumstances of flat demand and low
essence and soul of their manufacture. prices, that force the cheap manufacture
One change to which they have recently of iron, require also that the greatest
turned their attention more than for- attention be paid to its quality. If a
merly, is the substitution of white pig work acquires a reputation for quality,
iron for refined metal in the puddling it will at least have a preference in the

furnace. As far as chemical analysis market over others, if not an advantage


goes, the quality of the one differs very in price and in times of extraordinary
;

slightly, as we have seen, from that of depression, such as we have recently


the other. If, therefore, the white pig witnessed, it is essential to preserve this

were found to answer at the forge as advantage, to maintain this preference ;


well as metal, the saving would be very otherwise very much more is lost by the
great. In the first place, the 3 cwt. loss iron master being obliged to accumulate
per ton in the refinery yield would be a stock of iron, or to force it into the
saved ; this, supposing pig iron to be market, than can be saved by the undue
worth 31., is of itself nine shillings. To substitution of pig for metal. No doubt
this is to be added, the wages of the a portion of it may be advantageously
refiner, the cost of the coke, and the used for common iron, although it is far
charge for weighing and loading the from being the important saving that it
metal; so that, altogether, we may put would at first appear to be.
down the refined metal at 31. 15s. per When the puddler has completed all
ton, supposing the pig as above to be 31. his balls, his underhand proceeds to
The saving, therefore, being so great as deliver them over to the shingler, or the
fifteen shillings on the puddler' s mate- roller ; for, in some works, the process
rial, there is a great inducement for the of shingling is omitted, the puddled ball
substitution, provided it can be made being rolled at once into the rough bar.
without any correspondent disadvantage. The shingling consists in giving the
This is the consideration ; and the diffi- puddled balls a few blows with a very
culties and disadvantages are by no heavy hammer, which makes them more
means To put a case in its
trifling. solid, and reduces them to an oblong
strongest colours it is best to make it an shape, better calculated for going be-
extreme one. Let us suppose, then, tween the rolls. It also squeezes out
that white pig iron is exclusively used a portion of the liquid cinder or oxide,
in the puddling furnace, without any which is separated from the pure iron in
admixture of refined metal. In the first the puddling. The hammer, generally
place, the charge of pig works hot and weighing about four tons, is represented
fluid in the puddling furnace. It takes a in fig. 7, in which it appears as at rest,
long time to come round to nature,' and
'

is, therefore, more laborious for the pud- 7.


-
Fig.
dler, who requires a higher price for his
work per ton. It will admit of little or
no cinder being used, as its own deposit
of cinder in the operation is great. By its
great heat and fluidity in working, it
burns through the artificial coating of
cinder on the bottom of the furnace, and
wears out the iron bottom very fast,
occasioning much care and trouble to being supported by the upright bar a.
the puddler. As it deposits a greater When this bar is removed, the six little
quantity of cinder than metal does, it, projections or arms in the solid wheel b
of course, loses weight in proportion, raise the point of the hammer c, and let
and works to a bad yield. Probably, in it fall again in the course of their revo-
thisway, there is nearly 1 cwt. difference lution. From ten to twenty blows are
between pig and metal in the yield. All generally sufficient to give the bloom its
these are drawbacks, though not very due form. Whilst under the action of
material ones; but the chief disadvan- the hammer, the sparks and pieces of
tage is the deterioration in the quality cinder fly with great force in all direc-
of the bar iron produced in this way. tions, and the shingler or hammer-man
This mode of manufacture has uniformly is obliged to protect himself by very
a tendency to impair its strength and thick leather leggings and apron. The
C 2
20 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
bloom and bubbles, and
itself hisses, the quaint denomination of a shadrach.
flames under the operation, showing that This term has, no doubt, a scriptural
the escape of an elastic fluid is still go- derivation ; the thing to which it is ap-
ing on. If properly puddled, it is brought plied having come out of the fiery fur-
to a firm and tolerably tenacious mass. nace unchanged, or, at least, not suffi-
Sometimes, when not well puddled, it ciently changed from its previous nature.
does not adhere equally together, a por- For every shadrach the puddler has a
tion appearing harder than the rest, and fine set down to him, which is deducted
not amalgamating well with it. It is from his wages on the day of reckoning.
then turned back to the puddler, under The roller takes the bloom from the

Fig. 8.

shingler, and, whilst it is still hot, passes unsound in the body, and therefore not
it through the puddle-rolls, which are yet calculated for the smith's use. It
shown in Jig. 8. It is first put through has still to undergo a further purifica-
the largest hole in the rolls at a, and tion at the mill, the operations at the
then goes through the smaller ones in now concluded.
forge being
succession. It is received by a boy on At some works there is no forge-
the opposite side, called the catcher, hammer, and the blooms are there com-
*
and handed back by him, with a pair of pressed into an oblong form, or nobbled,'
tongs, over the rolls, to the roller, who, by the puddlers with a heavy iron bar,
when he has reduced the size of the bar before they are taken out of the fur-
in the first pair of rolls, passes it through nace. But as they are in this way very
different grooves of the second. There imperfectly formed, the first groove of
it is reduced to a more accurate form, the rolls is necessarily much larger than
and to the required width and thickness. where a hammer is used. The puddler
The pressure of the rolls upon the bar is paid on the weight of rough bars pro-
as it passes between them expels a fur- duced and the weight of each furnace
;

ther portion of cinder, some of which is, therefore, kept separate, an account
flies violently off, but the greater part being taken of each man's performance.
falls into a hollow beneath the rolls, The yield of the puddling furnace de-
where it is afterwards gathered up and pends very much on the quality of the
laid aside. refined metal used, and the degree of
The iron is now in the state of a rough licence that the workman has in the use
bar, having undergone a most signal of cinder. If he is allowed to use as
change. The metal that was put into much as he pleases, and is working upon
the puddling furnace was easily fusible, good metal, the weight of the rough bars
very hard, and very brittle it has now
;
will sometimes be as great as that of the
become a long, slender bar of malleable metal put into the furnace ; but this is
iron, soft, tough, and hardly fusible ; and not to be desired, as it indicates an ex-
this great change, it is supposed, is cessive use of cinder, and what is gained
effected merely by the separation of a here is lost afterwards in the mill, as the
little oxygen and a minute portion of rough bar is unsound, and contains still
carbon from the pure iron. It must so great a portion of cinder as to lose
not, however, be supposed that the bar weight considerably when again heated
in this state is finished, or fit for sale ; in the mill. 22 cwt. is about the usual
it is scaly and uneven on its surface, quantity of metal required to make a ton
rough and imperfect on the edges, and of rough bars, supposing the puddler is
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 21

allowed to use little or no cinder; and being, of course, attended with a propor-
about 17 cwt. of coal is consumed to tionate increase in the weight of the pro-
the ton of rough bars. duce, it follows that there must be a
There is a species of puddling furnace, considerable economy of coal; for the
of which no mention has hitherto been quantity used at the furnace is only the
made, but which may with propriety be same, or nearly the same, whether it be
noticed before we quit this part of the constructed on the old or on the new
subject. In the process of puddling, as syslem.
above described, there is an obvious loss The rough bars, when they come from
of time from the point when the metal the puddle rolls, are cut into lengths by
is first put in, to that when it is suffi- a strong pair of shears, worked from the
ciently heated for the puddler to begin engine. In some works, they are cut
his operations, a period of from twenty hot, immediately after being rolled, and
minutes to half an hour. the timeNow weighed afterwards in others, they are
;

required to complete the heat is under laid aside in the first instance to cool,
an hour and three-quarters, the puddler the work of each puddler being kept
usually finishing seven heats in his turn. separate, and then weighed and sheared
The produce of these seven heats will when cold. The first of these plans is,
be about 25 cwt.; so that, reckoning perhaps, rather more econoimcal in
eleven turns in the week, the make of labour, but the saving is not great ; the
one furnace in a week is between thir- other method affords the greatest facility
teen and fourteen tons. But if half an of seeing and comparing the work of
hour in each heat could be saved, and each puddler. The rough bars are of
the workman be kept regularly on with- such sizes and cut into such lengths as
out interruption, many more heats could are best adapted to the size of the fi-
be completed in the same time, and nished bar wanted. They are generally
there would be a considerable saving in 2, 3, or 4 inches wide, by or J- of an
coal. inch thick. These, when cut into the
To this end there have been several proper lengths, according to the sizes
contrivances for warming the fresh wanted, are wheeled to the balling or
charge of metal whilst the preceding heating furnaces, and delivered to the
heat is in progress. One plan is, to pilers.
make the flue rather wider, so as to The construction and shape of the
form a sort of recess for the reception balling furnace is very similar to the
of the fresh charge, which is placed puddling furnace. It is a reverberatory
there by the puddler' s underhand through furnace, heated by a coal fire at the end,
a small door for the purpose, without the flame of which is drawn on by the
any interruption to him, and, when his current of air, and turned downwards in
heat is finished, is drawn forward, and its course to the flue by the inclination
is ready for him to go on with, without of the interior of the roof. Instead,
any delay. The simplest method, how- however, of its having the iron bottom,
ever, yet used, is to make the body of with the protecting coat of cinder, as in
the furnace longer than according to the the puddling furnace, it is of loose sand,
old plan, and to have a second door, renewed from time to time as it becomes
between that where the puddler works uneven or wears away. The stack of
and the stack. This affords sufficient the balling furnace is of the same height
convenience and room for the succeed- and proportions as that of the puddling
ing charge of metal, which at the same furnace, and, like it, is furnished with a
time is so near the workman that, when damper at the top to regulate the heat.
he has completed the heat and sent the A similarly constructed door at the side
balls to the shingler, it can be instantly completes the resemblance.
drawn to the scene of action, and, if put The term balling furnace is not, in the
in at the right time, is just in the proper present day, by any means an applicable
state. With these furnaces, nine heats one, as its use is simply to give a welding
can readily be worked by one man in heat to an oblong pile of the rough bars,
twelve hours ; and if, as is sometimes which are then to be reduced by the rolls
the case, the furnace is provided with to the shape of finished bars. The pro-
'

three sets of men


instead of two, (each
'
cess is called indifferently balling and
set working eight hours out of the twenty- heating,' the latter term correctly de-
'

four, instead of twelve,) ten or even twelve fining the operation but, in Wales, the
;

heats may be finished in the twelve furnace is always designated as a balling


hours. The additional number of turns furnace, and the workmen as bailers;
22 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
and we must therefore adhere to the com- the rolls, will, perhaps, have suffered so
monly received nomenclature, however much from being overheated as to break
false may be the impression it conveys. quite brittle, and be unfit for sale. A
The business of the pilers, generally circumstance of this kind is not, by any
boys or women, is to pile up or place means, of frequent occurrence ; but as
together the lengths of the rough bars, was] done before, an extreme case is
which are delivered to them from the cited to show the effects in their strong-
shears. The pile generally consists of est colours. This instance is quite suffi-
five or six of these pieces laid evenly cient to prove that much mischief may
one upon another, all being of the same be done without great care on the part
length, so that one does not project be- of the bailer. It is his business not to

yond the rest. It is important that the barstake out the piles indiscriminately from
should be flat and the pile laid smoothly, the furnace as they present themselves,
for wherever there is a projection or in- but to select those first which are the
terstice, the iron will be more or less hottest and most likely to burn, either
wasted in the balling furnace. This isfrom having been put first into the fur-
shown by the appearance of the pile nace, or from being placed in a hotter
when drawn out of the furnace after part of it than the rest. He should also
being heated. All the corners and sharp so put in his piles as to have them ready
edges are rounded, and if there are any in their proper turn with the other ball-
pieces projecting beyond the rest, and ing furnaces, so that the succession may
not protected by the main body of the be kept up without any waiting either
pile, they appear very much wasted by on the part of the bailer or roller. He
the action of the fire. Small bodies are, is restricted in the number of piles he
of course, much sooner heated than puts into the furnace, a regular scale
large ones ; and when the proper degree being provided for him according to the
of heat is attained in the balling furnace, weight of each pile ; if they are small,
the action of the fire afterwards is merely he puts in perhaps twelve or sixteen, as
to waste and injure the iron. If, there- a small bar is so soon rolled that no
fore, the pile, instead of being a compact injury is found to arise from the
last of

body, is ragged at the sides and uneven the piles waiting in the furnace. The
at the ends, all the projections will be number is diminished as they become
sufficiently heated long before the pile heavier and when very large, only four
;

itself, and whilst it is acquiring the pro- or five are put in.
per heat, they will be burning and wast- The waste in the balling furnace is
ing away. The post of the bailer is not considerable, and, unlike the puddling
one of great labour, but it requires con- furnace, the greater part of the cinder
siderable experience, attention, and care. runs off the pile in the furnace, and thus
The point of time when the piles in his separates itself from the iron without
furnace are just ready for the roller, is mechanical force. As the pile is attain-
a most critical one. If he takes them ing its greatest heat, the cinder first
out too soon, they are not completely forms a sort of glaze over its surface,
welded together, and do not make a and then flows down the bottom of the
smooth and compact bar ; and, on the furnace, which is purposely made in-
other hand, every minute that they are clined, to a small outlet at the end oppo-
allowed to remain beyond the proper site to the grate. It is beneficial to the
time is productive of injury and loss. iron, by protecting the pile from being
The injury arises from the iron being burnt, filling up the interstices between
burnt, as it is called, or over-heated, the rough bars, and preventing the flame
which causes it to be weak and brittle from acting upon the interior. Its be-
in the bar, sometimes to such a degree nefit in this way is proved by the cir-
as rather to resemble cast than malleable cumstance, that a bar is frequently
iron. As a proof that the injury may be burnt at one end, and quite uninjured at
done in a very short time, it sometimes the other; and, upon investigation, it
happens that the first two or three piles will be found that, in this case, the burnt
that are taken out of the balling furnace end has been upon a higher elevation in
(the heat consisting, perhaps, of ten or the balling furnace than the other. The
twelve piles) are perfectly tough and cinder has run from the upper end of
good in the bar ; whilst the same number the and left it to the action of the
pile,
taken out at the end of the heat, at an flame; whilst the lower end, having
interval of a very few minutes, as fast as been amply supplied with its due cover-

they can be successively passed through ing, has been protected.


MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 23
The
balling being the last branch of Small iron is not rolled from piles
the manufacture of bars in which there like the
larger sizes, but from billets or
is a waste of the material, the
yield is of single pieces of bars, which are cut into
more importance here than in any pre- convenient lengths,
according to the
vious operation, the material being more size of the finished bar wanted. Where
valuable. The yield is generally tried billets are used, the bailer can very much
separately on the iron rolled at the large increase the work of his furnace, by
rolls and that produced at the small
putting in a fresh billet for every one he
ones. With the large sizes the yield is draws out, instead of waiting till the
better that is, the waste is less than whole furnace is drawn. He is enabled
:

with small iron.; for, as has been seen to do this, as, instead of
drawing the
before, the loss in the furnace is pro- hot pile to the rolls, he throws the billet
portionably greater as the size of the to the roller with his tongs, without
pile is smaller. With the ordinary sizes moving far from his place. He has,
of bars, as they occur in the large rolls, therefore, sufficient time
upon his hands,
the yield may be about If cvvt., the ton before the roller has finished that bar,
of finished bars being produced from to
put in his fresh billet, especially as
21f cwt. of rough bars. With the a billet is put into the furnace much
smaller sizes the yield rises considerably more
expeditiously than a pile would be,
above 2 cwt. ; so that, to take all the which requires to be put in with care,
sizes of bars as they are produced, the to
prevent its different pieces from being
yield will probably be about 2 cwt. on displaced.
the average. The last operation in the manufacture
9.
Fig. Fig. 10. Fig.U.

of bars is the rolling. The variety of holds it


by the other in his"'
tongs* and
sizes is very great, but may all be di- pushes through the grooves it is re-
it :

vided into three heads : rounds or bolts, ceived by a man on the other side, called
squares, and flats. Figures 9, 10, 11 the catcher, who returns it over the top
represent three pair of rolls ; the first roll. It is handed backwards and for-
for round iron, the second for squares, wards with as much expedition as pos-
and the last for flats. These are what sible, that it may not be allowed to cool,
are called the finishing rolls, for before for if much time is lost it becomes too
the pile is brought to them, it is reduced cold and hard to be reduced to the re-
to a size somewhat approaching to that quired form by the pressure of the rolls,
required, by the roughing rolls, which and must be heated again before^it can.
are larger than the finishing rolls, and be finished. The number of layers in
provided with wider grooves. The pile the pile produce a fibre in the bar that
is passed through several of these, each adds very much to its strength and
rather smaller than the preceding one, toughness. However perfect the weld
and by this means reduced from its ori- may be, this fibre is always perceptible
ginal form to that of a solid bar, the in good iron.
various layers of which it is formed In rolling flat bars, the layers of the
being firmly welded together, and the pile are kept horizontal, that the fibre
remaining portion of cinder and impu- may intersect the bar in its breadth, and
rity being thoroughly expelled. not edgeways as it were, like fig. 12
There is a sort of rest or small bench rather thanjfig-. 13. The section or end
in front of the roughing rolls to support of a bar is here represented, in which
one end of the bar, whilst the roller there are six layers or strata, the pile
24 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
r
140 for the middle 'sized rolls, and 230
Fig. 12. Fig. 13. or 240 for the small ones, which will be
found on calculation to give them a
considerably greater velocity than the
others. After being rolled, all that re-
from which it was made having con- mains that the bars have the ends
is,
sisted of six pieces of rough bar. In cut off by powerful shears worked by the
the first of these figures, the workman when they are ready for ship-
engine,
has kept the bar in the right position ment. They are, however, previously
throughout ; in the other it has been straightened by boys on a long bench of
turned on its edge, producing a trans- cast iron, and stamped with some letter
verse grain. It will be readily seen that or device to distinguish the works where
the fibre in the first bar is much more fa-
they are made. Small iron is put up in
vourably disposed for strength than that bundles of half a hundred, or a hun-
in the second, just as a deal plank is dred weight each, which gives it a neater
stronger when the grain corresponds appearance, and more convenient form
with its flat surface than when it inter- for removal. Notwithstanding the hard-
sects its smallest diameter. In roll- ness of the kind of iron selected for the
ing square bars no precaution of this rolls, they are found to wear very fast
kind is necessary ; but the experienced from the pressure of the hot bars passing
smith, if he wishes to make the most through them that is to say, the sur-
of his iron, will always work it with a face becomes rough, and the angles
due regard to the direction of the pile. blunt and irregular,' and when this is
However true the rolls may be turned, the case, the manufactured bar is neces-
there will always be a little space be-
sarily rough and imperfect. It is not of
tween them which will prevent the great importance, for the larger sizes to
angles of the square bar formed at their be a little uneven on the surface, but it
junction, from being so perfect as those is very much so to have the small iron
formed in the moulding of the roll itself.
perfectly smooth and accurate in its
When the bar, therefore, has been re- appearance and size; and this is pro-
duced to the required size, it is again vided for by producing an artificial hard-
put through the same groove, turning it ness in the iron of which the small rolls
so that the angles shall be changed, are cast. are what called case-
They is
those formed before at the sides being hardened in the casting, that is, instead
now at the top and bottom, by which of being cast in sand like the large rolls,
means they are sharpened and corrected. and the generality of castings, they are
Round iron also, being formed between run in a thick solid iron mould. The
the two semicircular grooves of the two
suddenly on the
effect is to cool the iron
rolls, is liable to the same imperfection outside, or chill it, and thereby to give
unless it is passed several times through it the hardness and appearance of white
the last hole and even this repetition
; iron on the surface, whilst the inside is
does not succeed, unless the bar, during dark grey or bright. It is thus suffi-
its progress, be held in its position by
ciently strong to sustain the strain to
the roller ; otherwise it will twist round which it is to be exposed, which it would
and adapt itself to the same situation in not be if it were cast entirely of white
the rolls that it before occupied, the iron. Thesurface being infinitely more
streak or finn, as it is called, still re- hard than the inside, the turning it, and
maining. There are generally three
cutting the necessary groves in the latter,
sizes of rolls, as has been stated before is a very tedious process, but when finish-
the largest about 14 to 16 inches dia- ed it retains its polished surface for along
meter, the middle 10, and the small rolls time, and effects so great an improvement
7 and to produce the same speed to in the appearance of the work done, as
the bar in passing through these dif-
amply to compensate for the extra ex-
ferent sized rolls, they must of course
pense and trouble in its manufacture. The
be made to revolve more quickly in pro-
very small sizes of iron are generally rolled
portion as the circumference is de- in long lengths, sometimes as much as
creased. But this is not all that is ne- 40 feet, and afterwards cut into two or
cessary, for the small iron is required three lengths for the convenience of re-
to be rolled at a greater speed than large moval. They look better rolled in this
sizes, as becomes cold so much sooner.
it
way than in short lengths, and at the
About 70 revolutions a minute are con- same time are less trouble to the roller,
sidered a good speed for the large rolls, who can roll a long piece almost as
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
readily as he can one of half the length. between them, till it is reduced to", the

The manufacture of common bar iron required thickness. Boiler plates and ,

.has now been described in all its dif- sheet iron are also rolled between plain
ferent stages. The Welsh iron masters rolls, which should be case-hardened if
confine themselves more to this regular the work is required to be turned out
trade than those of Staffordshire, who, well. Boiler plates are frequently very
from their situation and longer standing heavy as much as 2 cwt. each, and
in the trade, have a constant demand when this is the case the work is very
for a great variety of articles on which laborious for the rollers, of whom an
they get an extra profit. Of these additional number is required. The iron
articles we may mention slit nail rods, for them is prepared by making a pile of
boiler plates, and sheet iron of all sorts, rough bars which is heated in a puddling
hoop iron, spade iron, &c., as some of or balling furnace and brought under the
the most important. They also roll forge hammer, where, by repeated blows,
angle iron, wrought iron rails for roads, it isbeaten into a solid slab of about two
&c. These branches of the trade of or three inches thick and nearly square,
course require extra attention, and are long and broad, according to the weight
sometimes troublesome from their hin- and shape of the boiler plate for which
it is destined. It then requires to be
dering the regular progress of the work,
but they have hitherto been a source of again heated, as it has become too cold
great profit greater than they are ever under the hammer to be rolled at the
likely to be again, for they
are now be- same heat: when heated again it is
coming much more general than they rolled to the proper thickness, the rolls
have been, and will probably be exten- being brought nearer to each other by
in Wales before very screws every time it passes between
sively entered into
long. Indeed at present nail rods and them. It is also brought to the required
boiler plates are regularly made for sale shape by passing it through the rolls in
at some of the Welsh works; the first different directions, sometimes length-
to a great extent, the last only in a less ways, and sometimes with the side or
degree. The manufacture of nail rods one corner foremost. A
skilful roller will
in this way bring it very nearly to what-
is performed in a very easy and expe-
ditious manner. It consists in rolling a ever dimensions are wanted, so that the
flat bar five or six inches wide, by the ragged and uneven edges which are after-
thickness required in the rod, say a wards to be cut off shall amount to as
quarter of an inch, and then, while it is trifling a sum as possible.
yet hot, passing it between steel rollers, There is a great difference in the
or cutters that intersect each other. It quality of bar iron, which has not yet
is drawn in by them as they revolve, and been explained. It varies in this respect
cut into twenty or thirty small rods ac- as much as almost any other manu-
cording to the width of the cutters. The factured article, and, without great care
rods are completed at once, and merely on the part of the manufacturer, will
require to be straightened and put up in lose its reputation in the market as well
bundles. As may be expected, they will as most other commodities. The iron
not bear a comparison in appearance produced in different districts is naturally
with rolled iron, as they are always more different in its
quality, and that of Wales
or less ragged at the edges, and rough has peculiar and distinguishing pro-
its

and imperfect in their general execution, perties. The foundry iron and the bars
but they answer very well for the manu- of Wales differ in the same way from
facture of nails, and are infinitely cheaper the same descriptions elsewhere: they
than rolled iron of the same size would are both remarkable for strength. The
be. The waste of iron in the balling Welsh foundry iron is, therefore,
furnaces is so great, and the process of esteemed for all castings where great

rolling so slow with the very small sizes, strength is required. It has been as-
that the cost is prodigiously increased, serted that this advantage is counter-
and the slitting mill is therefore an ad- balanced by a defect, and that, though
mirable expedient for obtaining small the Welsh pig iron is undoubtedly strong,
iron at a low price. it will not run into the fine delicate cast-
Hoop iron is rolled
in the same manner as bars, except that ings that can be made of Staffordshire
the rolls are perfectly plain instead of iron, and, in addition to this, that it is
being grooved. They are brought nearer liable to shrink unequally in cooling, to
to each other by a screw, at each suc- draw, as it is called, forming an imper-
cessive time that the hoop is passed fect and unsound casting. We have a
26 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
strong argument against the first of these rally inclined to be cold short must be
objections in the fact, that a great deal heated with great care to prevent the
of Welsh foundry iron has actually been evil. If, upon trial, the bar should be of
sent to Staffordshire for the purpose of good quality, instead of breaking short
being run into saucepans, nails, and bend double, and those por-
off, it will
other small castings for which a very tions of to the depth of the notch on
it

fluid iron is necessary. In reply to the both sides will separate a little from the
second objection, namely, that Welsh body of the bar and split up just as a
iron makes imperfect and unsound cast- piece of fresh ash stick would do, and
ings, it may be stated that it has been will exhibit a clear, distinct, silky fibre.
used in the execution of government con- If this appearance is shown on the trial
tracts forcannon with great advantage. of the bar cold, and if it is then taken to
This could hardly be the case if the al- the smith's shop and bent double at a
legation were valid, for it is well known cherry-red heat, first in the direction of
that cannon are required to be perfectly the pile, and then at right angles to it,
sound and accurate, and any unsound- without being at all cracked on the outer
ness in the body must either be detected side of the bend, it may safely be pro-
in the boring, or lead to failure in the nounced to be of excellent quality,
proving of the gun. neither red short nor cold short. There
Nearly the same may be said of the are some works in Wales where the iron
bar as of the pig iron of Wales. It is very has a tendency to be red short, and
hard and strong, not working so easily others where the opposite quality is most
under the smith's hammer as a softer to be dreaded. A
cold short iron is
iron, and therefore is frequently found generally produced from a lean ore, that
fault with by the smith, who would pre- is, one containing only a small per cent-
fer an inferior iron because it would age of iron, and at several works in
give him less trouble. This description South Wales it is found advantageous
applies mostforcibly to the iron of the to the rich red hepatic ore of Lan-
mix
south-eastern part of the Welsh district, cashire and Cumberland with the poorer
that of the north and west not being so iron stone of their own district. The
hard. The two great defects of bar iron mixture gives strength to the iron, and
are its being red short, or cold short ; the prevents it from being cold short. The
former term is applied to iron that cracks Lancashire ore is an oxide of iron con-
when bent or punched at a red heat ; it taining few impurities, and producing as
is generally very strong when cold, but much as 75 per cent, of iron. It does
the difficulty of working it is a great ob- not require roasting, but is put into the
jection in the market not but that it furnace in the state in which it is brought
may be readily worked with care, as it from the mine. If smelted by itself, it
is generally only at one degree of heat would produce a very red short iron,
that the imperfection shows itself, but and it is, therefore, only when mixed
it is not every smith that will give him- that itcan be advantageously used.
self the trouble to find out and avoid this There are three qualities of bar iron
particular heat ;
and it is certainly an regularly recognised in the trade ; com-
advantage, all other things being equal, mon iron, best, and best best, or chain
that iron should work readily at any cable iron. The manufacture of the first
temperature. Cold short iron, on the of these, or common iron, is what has
contrary, is wrought without difficulty hitherto been described. Best iron, as it
when hot, but is weak and brittle cold. produces a higher price, is more expen-
The method of trying the quality of iron, sive in the manufacture, and requires
is to nick a bar at one side with a chisel, greater care in the selection of the mate-
and then to break it, or double it down, rials. The refined metal used by the
as the case may be, at the notch. If the puddlers for best iron should be made
iron is cold short, it will break off at of dark grey pigs, selected for the pur-
once with a blow of the sledge hammer. pose. Best metal differs from common
The fracture will be bright and shining, by being more and when broken
brittle,
the texture large grained, with little or itsfracture is more shining and sil-
of a
no appearance of fibre ;
in fact, it will very white. The texture is also more
very much resemble foundry iron in its compact and less broken and interrupted
appearance, and sometimes will be al- by air-bubbles. This quality of metal
most as brittle. Any iron may be brought is puddled by itself without any mixture

to this state by being overheated in the of pig, nor is the puddler allowed to use
balling furnace]! and that which is natu- any cinder in his furnace. By these pre-
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 27

cautions a stronger and tougher rough texture of the iron having become closer,
bar is obtained, and the quality of the and the fibre appears harsher, smaller,
finished bar is proportionably better and and less silky than before the trial. The
more regular. Scrap bars are frequently following table shows the proof which
used with best rough bars in the ball- cable iron ought to bear in the trial with-
ing furnace. The scrap bar is com- out breaking.
Inches. Tons. Tons.
posed of the short imperfect pieces that 19
are cut off the ends of the finished bars,
I 17.15
In a large work they form an important
U 26 23
II 32 27.10
amount, and are collected and either 1| 38 35
piled up carefully together to be heated li 44 39
and rolled at once into a bar, or if they 1| 52 44.10
are too small to be so arranged, they are The first column shows the diameter of
put into a puddling furnace, and at a the bar; the second the required proof of
welding heat formed into a ball which is the manufactured chain ; and the third, the
shingled and rolled like common puddled proof of the bar before it is manufactured
iron. Scrap bars are of a strong com- into the chain. Thus an inch bar ought
quality, and produce very good to bear a weight of seventeen tons and
Eact
nished iron when mixed with best
three-quarters without breaking, and
rough bars. Cable bolts are differently when made into a chain it ought to sustain
made at different works, according to the nineteen tons. Charcoal iron is another
strength and other peculiarities of the variety in the manufactured article that
material. In all cases they are made of is made to a certain extent in Wales, but
carefully selected materials, and have only at a few works. It receives its
more work upon them than common name from an extra process of refining
iron that is to say, have been wholly or to which the iron is subjected, and in
in part piled, heated, and rolled a se- which charcoal is used instead of coke.
cond time. This extra process always In this second refining the iron loses its
very much improves the quality, and a fluidity in the same way as it does in the
bar of inferior common finished iron, if puddling furnace and indeed the char-
cut into lengths, piled and rolled again, coal refining is not altogether an addi-
will be found perhaps of best quality tional process, but rather a substitution
merely from having undergone this ad- for that of puddling. The bloom when
ditional process. It will possess more it istaken out of the charcoal fire is put
fibre and consequently be stronger and under a heavy hammer and beaten down
tougher than it was before. Cable bolts, to a flat cake, in which state it is called
being intended entirely to resist a longi- stamped iron. It is then broken up into
tudinal strain, should possess this tough- small pieces, piled, heated, and again
ness and fibrous texture in an eminent put under the hammer, and reduced to a
degree, and any inequality or variation regularly shaped slab of about a hundred
should be sedulously avoided, for one pounds weight. The slab so formed is
defective link in the chain would be as sold to the tin-plate manufacturers to be
destructive as if the whole were weak. rolled down into thin sheets, and after-
The strength of cable iron is proved by wards tinned. It is particularly tough
stretching a short piece of bar (or of the and strong iron, and much harder than
manufactured chain) in a machine for that made in the common way. Char-
the purpose, till it break, and noting coal iron is used also for other purposes,
down the precise weight required to pull the principal of which is the manufac-
it in two. It is surprising how much ture of horse-nail rods, for which the
a good bar will stretch before it sepa- strongest and toughest material is re-
for instance, a piece of inch and
quired. Every branch of the Welsh
rates iron
quarter bolt, of about two feet six inches master's trade has now been described.
long, will sometimes be lengthened six All that has been attempted has been a
inches, or twenty per cent., before it plain straight-forward delineation of the
breaks. In the beginning of the expe- the subject before us,
practical part of
riment the little oxidized portions of the rather than a chemical or scientific trea-
outside will scale off and drop down ; and tise ; and if the matters that have been
just before the bar breaks, the point treated of have been so explained as to
where it is going to separate will be be clearly understood, the object will
shown by a considerable contraction in have been attained.
the bar. The broken ends will be quite It may perhaps be interesting here,
hot, latent heat being evolved by the to look back for a moment to the various
28 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
yields of which mention has been made and ascertain the total 'consumption of
at different times, and to form a calcula- all the materials. Supposing 4^ tons of
tion of the total consumption of the coal to be used at the furnace for the ton
different materials to make a ton of bar of pigs, including the engine and mine
iron. It should be stated that, in speak- kilns, the 1 ton 6 cwt. 3 quarters and
ing generally of bar iron, common iron 1 9lbs., as above, or, stating it decimally,
is to be understood and it is 1.345 of pig iron will require 6.378 tons
; necessary
to make this remark here, as the manu- of coal, or 6 tons 7 cwt. 2 quarters and
facture of best and cable iron, requiring 6 Ibs. reducing the decimal to cwt., quar-
an extra process, is of course attended ters, and pounds. In addition to this,
with an extra expense of material, and we have to take the consumption of coal_
in all calculations of the yield of bar at the refinery, the puddling furnace and
iron, all the current sizes made at the the balling furnace, including what is
three different sizes of rolls should be used at the forge engine. The consump-
taken into the account. It would be tion of coal at the refinery has been
fallacious to make the calculation on the stated as about 10 cwt. to the ton of
larger sizes only, as the result with those metal; but as 1.222 of metal is taken to
would be much more favourable than the ton of bars, the coal must be calcu-
with the small sizes, and an average of lated this quantity, and will therefore
on
the whole forge should therefore be taken be or rather more than 12 cwt. The
.6 11,
as the fairest and most correct result. third item of coal to come into the ac-
In the first place, then, let us establish count is what is used at the forge, in-
the quantity of pig iron required to make cluding the puddling and balling fur-
a ton of bars, and for this purpose it naces and the engine. This may be
will be necessary to follow it through all taken at once, and will be found to be
the different stages of the manufacture. about 38 cwt. on the ton of finished iron.
The refinery is the first of these ; and we We have therefore to add together the
have seen that there the yield of pig three sums of
iron to the ton of metal is from 2 to 3 first. . . 6.378 tons used at the furnace
cwt., and we will therefore assume as an
secondly 611 refinery"
average that 22 cwt. of pig is taken. thirdly 1.90 forge and mill
The next stage is the puddling, in which tons cwt. qr. Ibs.

we will say that 2l cwt. of refined Total.. 8.889 ....or 8 17 3 3


metal is consumed for the production of of coal to the ton of bars. The calcula-
a ton of the rough bars. 22 cwt. was tion of the consumption of iron stone is
before stated as the average puddler's very simple, that of pigs having been
yield, but this was on the supposition ascertained. Three tons of mine being
that little or no cinder is used, and for assigned as the yield to the ton of pigs,
common iron a pretty free use of cinder 4.035, or rather more than four tons, will
may be allowed. But the 21 1 cwt. of be the amount required as the yield of
refined metal will be found on calcula- iron stone to finished bars. In the same
tion to be equal to 24.188 cwt. of pig way, supposing 21 cwt. of limestone is
iron ; and this is therefore the yield of used to the ton of pigs, 1.415 will appear
pig iron to the ton of rough bars. The as the proportion of limestone to bars.
third and last process in which there is It will be seen from the foregoing obser-
a waste of the material is the balling, vations, that in the manufacture of
and here it was stated that the waste per foundry iron, the great object is not to
ton was about 2 cwt. which we will produce pure iron, but a compound of
therefore take as an average. By pur- iron with carbon ; and the greater the
suing the calculation, we shall see that proportion of carbon, the better will be
supposing one ton of rough bars equal the quality of the pig. In wrought iron,
to 24.188 cwt. of pigs, 22 cwt. of rough on the contrary, the aim is, to attain to
bars will be equal to 26.909 cwt. of the the greatest possible purity, any admix-
pigs, which will be the quantity neces- ture of a foreign substance being found
sary for the production of a ton of bar disadvantageous. Two eminent che-
iron, the yields being as above stated. mists (Bergman and Meyer) found that
The above figures, when reduced from by treating cold short iron with sulphu-
the decimal to quarters and pounds, will ric acid, a white powder was separated,
be 1 ton 6 cwt. 3 quarters and 19lbs. which they discovered to be phosphuret
To continue the subject, we will now en- of iron, but the same result did not at-
deavour in the same way to trace down tend the experiment if the iron operated
the yield of coal, mine, and limestone, upon was not cold short. Hence it
MANUFACTURE OF IRON. 29

would appear that this defect is to be


attributed to the presence of phosphorus.
December ~,,
The same chemists also pronounced that
February 1828
silica, as well .'as carbon and oxygen,
enters into the composition of cast iron. May ,,

October
It is curious that such slight chemical
December
differences should be attended by so
January 18 9
wide a difference in the properties of
iron and this remark is in no instance April
;
May
more forcibly illustrated than in the com- June
position of steel. Steel is produced by
the combination of carbon with pure September
October
iron in so small a proportion as the ^th December
part. Again, plumbago, black lead as March 18
it is called, or the kish that has been

described as being produced in the fur- April


nace in the smelting of foundry iron, is May
October
also a compound of carbon and iron,
January 18 1
though in different proportions.
The iron trade in Wales was formerly April
June
a source of great profit, and a few very
large fortunes have been made in it but ;
Aprodigious increase of the make
like many other branches of our com- in 1825 was the natural consequence
of the excessive prices of that pe-
merce, the production of iron has lat-
riod, and likewise the natural cause
terly been so excessively extended, as
to force down prices beyond anything amongst others of the subsequent de-
that could have been anticipated. pression. The quantity of iron now
By
this means the profits of the iron master made is probably greater than it has
have not only been extinguished for the ever been, for it is found that in an
last few years, but his anticipations as extensive establishment like an iron
to future gains have been, to say the work, the general charges are so heavy
that low prices are only to be met by
least, very much moderated, and he can
now only expect to realize even a small increasing the productiveness of the
work. Thus the evil operates to its
profit on his investments by the very
strictest attention to economy and ma- own extension and it has been only
;

nagement departments of his


in all the by the opening made in the increase of
trade. To justify these remarks it may our foreign trade, that markets have been
be stated, that in the year 1825 the cur- found for all the iron that has been ma-
rent price of ^common bar iron at the nufactured. The foreign demand, it is
to be hoped, will still continue, but whe-
shipping port was 14. per ton and that ;
ther its extension is likely to continue
now, July 1831, the same article is
in
The different as it has hitherto done, is a very proble-
selling for 5l. 5s. per ton.
matical point, for iron works are esta-
points of reduction between these two
extremes, with the occasional checks blishing rapidly in North America and
and revivals in the price, are shown by elsewhere. And the Welsh and Stafford-
the following list of prices from 1824 to shire iron masters are at this moment
the present time. actually employed to their own destruc-
Price of Bar Iron tion, in the execution of castings, &c.,
per Ton. for a very large establishment that is
September, 1824 . . 9 forming under the auspices of a public
November . . 10 company in France. One of the chief di-
January 1825 . . 12 rectors and shareholders in this company
March . 14 is Marshal Soult, hitherto better known
August . . 12 in a military than in a commercial capa-
October . . 10 city. The works are erecting at Alais,
May 1826 . . 9 in the province of Languedoc, not far
October 8 10 from Montpellier. The iron stone and
900
.

November . coal ore are said to be of excellent quality


February 1827 8 10 and most abundant so much so, that it
800
. .

May .
.
. . is confidently anticipated that pig iron
August 8 10 will be made there at half the price that
September
.

. 900 it can now be manufactured at in Great


30 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
Britain under the most favourable cir-
cumstances. The great drawback is the Cyfarthfa and Hirwen works,
situation of the works, which will be Messrs. Crawshay and Co. 25,412
thirty-five miles from the Rhone, the
Dowlais . Guest and Co. .
.
25,020
nearest navigable river, and forty from Plymouth . Hill and Co. . . 14,500
the sea. Until a facility is afforded
by
the establishment of a rail-road or canal,
this circumstance will occasion a
charge
Aberdare
Gadlys
....
Pen yDarran, Foreman and Co.

.
10,805
9,262
593
in carriage that will more than double Bute 177
the cost of the iron.
It may be Total
interesting here to give the 85,774
comparative quantities of iron manu-
factured in Great Britain at different In 1829, the total quantity sent down
periods, as stated in the British Alma- the Glamorganshire Canal was 88,000
nac of 1829, from which the precise in- tons ; and in 1830 it was rather reduced
crease in the production is seen up to again, the quantity being 87,364 tons,
1827. distributed in the following
proportions
Iron made in
Anno Great Britain. No. of
amongst the different works.
Tons.
Tons.
Furnaces.
Dowlais .
29,621
1740 . 17,000 . . 59
Cyfarthfa, &c. 21,312
1788 . 68,000 . . 85 Pen y Darran
1796 12,582
. 125,000 . . 121
1806
Plymouth 13,046
. 250,000 Aberdare 7,248
1820 . 400,000 Blakemore and Co. 2,891
1827 . 690,000 . . 284 Brown and Co. 664
By this table we find that the make
of 1827 is prodigiously above any pre- Total 87,364
vious year. The following is a state-
ment of the distribution of this quantity The above works do not comprise half
in the proportions in which it was the South Wales district, the shipments
pro-
duced at the different iron districts. from the port of Newport being greater
than those from Cardiff. The returns of
iron by the Monmouthshire Canal to
Newport, are for
Tons.
1829 . . . 108,000
1830 ^.
. .
106,000
This superiority on the part of New-
port to Cardiff, was by no means the case
some years ago, but latterly the works
Of this quantity three-tenths is calcu- ofMonmouthshire have been much in-
lated to be foundry iron. This table shows creased, and have given a population
that the Welsh furnaces are considerably and an importance to that district that
more productive, as to quantity, than was before unknown. Indeed the face
those of any other districts ; and the dif- of nature has been entirely
changed in
ference would, probably, be even greater some places in the space of a few years,
at the present time, as the average make by the establishment of new works.
of the furnaces in Wales has certainly Romantic vallies, that before were rarely
increased since 1827. The following is traversed by a human being, are now
a list of the quantity of iron sent down intersected by rail-roads, and studded
,

from some of the principal works in the with rows of workmen's houses. The
Merthyr district, by the Glamorganshire flourishing woods that clothed the sides
Canal, in 1828. The particulars are of the hills, and in the winter sheltered
supposed to be not all of them perfectly innumerable woodcocks, are now cut
correct, though they are probably not down for pit timber, or blackened by
far from the truth. They do not pre- smoke, which prevents the former tenants
cisely establish the make of the different from resuming their visits; and the clear
works, as they only, of course, include mountain streams that teemed with life,
the iron sent to the shipping port, and and afforded a never-failing resource to
can take no account of home consump- the fisherman, are now thickened and
tion, or increase and decrease of stocks poisoned by the mineral waters that
at the works. drain into them.
MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
The statistical inquirer may perhaps the following is a statement of the num-
be curious to learn some particulars as ber employed on a work where there
to the number of people supported by are five furnaces, and a forge and mill
the manufacture of iron in South Wales. capable of manufacturing about two
These particulars are not to be obtained hundred tons of bar-iron weekly. Each
with facility, from the circumstance of particular class of labour is here kept
there being many master workmen, or separate, and the number of women and
contractors, at every work, who employ boys is given as well as that of the
a number of workmen under them, men, from which it will be observed
whose names are not. returned in the that the employment for the former at
pay books. From the best information iron-works is not very extensive.
that could be obtained on this subject,

Colliers, including
bourers .....
road-men, horse-tenders, and sundry la-\

Miners, including stacking and loading the mine, road-men, j


horse-tenders, and sundry labourers . . /
280

395 40
Boys.

27

73

Furnaces, &c., including furnace-labour, viz., keepers, fillers,!


refiners, cokers, pig-weighers, engineers, fitters-up, moul- \
257 39
ders, smiths, carpenters, sawyers, stable-men, brick-ma- J
kers, masons, machine-men, carriers, &c. &c.
Forge and mill, viz., puddlers, shinglers, rollers, catchers,}
straighteners, smiths, bailers, engineers, bar-weighers, > 145 55
clerks, &c., &c. . . . .
J
Agents, overlookers, and others, not included in the above 31

TOTALS . . 1108 84 191

From the above statement it appears their support from'the labour of the men,
that five furnaces, with a corresponding and the much larger number who are ne-
establishment for the manufacture of cessarily employed and maintained in a
bar-iron, provide direct employment for variety of way sin every populous district.
near fourteen hundred individuals. Sup- It will be seen by a reference to the
posing in round numbers that a work of canal returns of bar-iron sent to New-
this size produces a twentieth of the port and Cardiff, that a work producing
iron made in South Wales and Mon- about two hundred tons a week may
mouthshire, which supposition will not fairly be stated to form a twentieth of
be far from the truth, and supposing, the whole production of South Wales,
likewise, that the number of work-peo- and this calculation is confirmed by the
ple here stated affords a tolerably fair following table of the number of fur-
average, the iron-works in this district naces, which shows a proportion of
give direct employment to about twenty- nearly one to twenty in a work consist-
eight thousand people, to say nothing ing of five furnaces compared with the
of the wives and families who derive total number.
No. of Furnaces No. of Furnaces
in blast. out of blast. Total.
Dowlais Iron-works
Cyfarthfa
Hirwen
Plymouth Hill and Co.
....
Guest and Co.
Crawshay and Sons

Pen y Darran Thompson, Foreman, and Co.


9 12
9
4
7
5
4
Romney and Bute Works .

Sir Howey and Ebbw Vale Works Harfords,!


Davies, and Co. J

....
Nant y Glo Bailey, Brothers 7
5
Tredegar Thompson, Foreman, and Co.
Aberdare 3 3 6
British Iron 3 '2 5
Abersychan Company 5
Kenricks and Co. 5
Varteg Hill 4
Blaenafon Hills and Wheeley 4
Beaufort Kendal, Bevan, and Co. 3 1 4
3 3
Clydach Frere and Co.
I)

1 2 3
The Race C. H. Leigh

Carried forward 74 16 90
32 MANUFACTURE OF IRON.
No. of Furnaces No. of Furnaces

Brought forward
Pentwyn Hunt, Brothers, and Co;
Coalbrook Vale Brewers
Blaina Jones and Co.
Yniscedwin Crane and Co.
Maesteg
Pontrhyd y Ven Reynolds and Co.
Vigors ,

Pentyrch R. Blakemore
Gadlys Bryant
Ryddry . .

Cefn Crubur

TOTAL 90 18 108
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