Tap for Molten Iron at Abraham Darby's Furnace.
18th c British Industrial Industrial Arts
Coalbrookdale. Shropshire. England.
The furnace was charged with limestone, coke and iron ore. A bellows provided air, raising the temperature within and reducing the iron ore to molten iron which collected at the bottom. Other compounds of lower density floated to the top as 'slag.' The tap hole at the bottom was sealed with a clay plug which was knocked out usually twice each day so as to allow the molten iron to collect in channels dug in sand. These channels had a form which reminded the workers of a sow feeding her piglets, hence the name 'pig bed,' the iron being collected known as 'pig iron.' Once cooled the pigs of iron were knocked free with sledge hammers and carried away. The slag was tapped off separately at the slag notch higher up.
Caption: BRITISH | Tap for Molten Iron at Abraham Darby's Furnace. | 1709 | British | Industrial
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