Finery forge

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A finery forge is a hearth (a brick fireplace) used to make wrought iron by burning pig iron. Finery forges were probably used in the 3rd century BC. In the 18th and 19th century it was replaced by the puddling process.

A hearth (left) and trip hammer (centre) in a finery forge; in the back room (right) is a large pile of charcoal

History[change | change source]

China made finery forges before 200 BC. Europe made finery forges around 1200 AD. Europe’s finery forges were worse than China’s until 1400 AD. Europe started powering their finery forges with water wheels. In 1700 AD, Europe made blast furnaces and started using puddling techniques

Types[change | change source]

German forge[change | change source]

In Germany and Sweden most finery forges only had one fire used for everything.

Walloon forge[change | change source]

Walloon finery forges were used in north Sweden and made oregrounds iron. Oregrounds iron was the best iron available in the 18th century.

Lancashire forge[change | change source]

Process[change | change source]

Pig iron is melted, making a lump of iron called a bloom, and slag. The iron lump is then hit with a hammer many times. Hitting the iron with a hammer gets the slag out of the iron, so the iron can be used.