American Iron, 1607-1900

Front Cover

By applying their abundant natural resources to ironmaking early in the eighteenth century, Americans soon made themselves felt in world markets. After the Revolution, ironmakers supplied the materials necessary to the building of American industry, pushing the fuel efficiency and productivity of their furnaces far ahead of their European rivals.

In American Iron, 1607-1900, Robert B. Gordon draws on recent archaeological findings as well as archival research to present an ambitious, comprehensive survey of iron technology in America from the colonial period to the industry's demise at about the turn of the twentieth century. Closely examining the techniques -- the "hows" -- of ironmaking in its various forms, Gordon offers new interpretations of labor, innovation, and product quality in ironmaking, along with references to the industry's environmental consequences. He establishes the high level of skills required to ensure efficient and safe operation of furnaces and to improve the quality of iron product. By mastering founding, fining, puddling, or bloom smelting, ironworkers gained a degree of control over their lives not easily attained by others.


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User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

From the industrial archaeology reading program. Very enlightening. I thought I knew a little about metal processing from my remediation experience, but that was confined to copper, lead, and precious ... Read full review

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User Review  - joeldinda - LibraryThing

A good introduction to the topic. This is an interesting book that mixes high-level overview, illustrative anecdotes, and technological detail surprisingly well. At heart this is a high-level survey ... Read full review


Ore Fuel and Other Natural Resources
The Rise of American Iron 17201860
Smelting with Charcoal
Converting Pig Iron to Wrought Iron
CoalFired Blast Furnaces
Shaping Iron and Steel
Iron Quality
Ironmaking Eclipsed 18601900

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Page 325 - Essay on the Invention, or Art, of making very good, if not the best Iron, from black Sea Sand.

About the author (2001)

Robert B. Gordon is a professor of geophysics and applied mechanics at Yale University. His books include The Texture of Industry, Toward a New Iron Age?, and A Landscape Transformed.

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