The Iron Bridge

The Severn Gorge

David Morse
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The Iron Bridge
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The Severn Gorge
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Joan Joffe Hall
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Severn Gorge :: New Technology :: Blast Furnaces :: Coalbrookdale :: Maps ::

Blast Furnaces


Drawing appears through the courtesy of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

This drawing shows a typical eighteenth-century blast furnace, a stone tower 25 to 35 feet tall, built at the base of a natural or constructed "furnace bank"; to allow charging from the top. Across an elevated walkway, fillers rolled barrows of iron ore, coke, and limestone.

Bellows driven by a water-wheel provided the powerful continuous blast of air required to attain the high temperature necessary to smelt iron. The bellows used by the Darbys at Coalbrookdale were different than the leather bellows pictured here, consisting instead of a pair of large pistons known as "blowing tubs."

The liquid iron was periodically tapped from under the cast arch, and run into ladles to be poured into box-molds or flat sand castings, or it was run into troughs to make iron "pigs."

Take a look at The Beckley Furnace, in East Canaan, Connecticut, a typical charcoal blast furnace

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© copyright David Morse, 2003-2011