The British Iron Industry 1700-1850 (Studies in Economic and by J. R. Harris

By J. R. Harris

Among 1700-1850 Britain moved from a scenario during which she was once not able to provide a wide a part of her domestic industry to being the world's greatest manufacturer and exporter of iron. during this paintings, Professor Harris units out to teach how previous perspectives at the financial and technological improvement of the were revised within the mild of additional learn, and explains the topic for the scholar drawing close it for the 1st time. Professor Harris is writer of "The Copper King" and co-author of "A Merseyside city within the business Revolution".

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An adverse influence on product prices was competition from increased iron imports in the second half of the 1730s, when they averaged 27,500 tons - greater than they had been in the first halfof the decade, or were to be in the 1740s. In the late 1730s propaganda from the industry claimed native output of wrought iron was only a little over 12,000 tons, implying a pig iron production of only a little over 16,000 tons ; the majority (over 60 per cent) of the iron consumed in Britain was said to have been imported.

The English, however, had made great strides in steelmaking from the middle of the seventeenth century and in the middle of the eighteenth century they developed a new steel of great future importance. Steel was produced in much smaller quantities than wrought iron but this should not cause it to be dismissed as unimportant before the cheap steel era of the late nineteenth century. It was an essential component of the many cutting tools whose quality governed the standard of work which could be produced by craftsmen, and it provided such domestic items as cutlery and razors.

These he believed accounted for the delay in the spread of the process out of the Ironbridge Gorge before the 1750s [3, 29 , 32 seq]. Here Ashton's views have been countered by the recent writing of Hyde. He strongly doubts if Darby could have kept his secret for a lengthy period, and this is rather unlikely. Darby had 31 partners, persons associated with the firm travelled widely in the country, it was notoriously difficult to prevent workmen leaving if they wished, and the lighter high-quality castings the firm produced must have attracted attention and curiosity as to what was being done at Coalbrookdale.

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