Finery Forge - History

History

A finery forge was used to make wrought iron at least by the 3rd century BC in ancient China, based on the earliest archaeological specimens of cast and pig iron fined into wrought iron and steel found at the early Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) site at Tieshengguo. Pigott speculates that the finery forge existed in the previous Warring States Period (403–221 BC), because of the wrought iron items from China dating to that period and there is no documented evidence of the bloomery ever being used in China. The fining process involved liquifying cast iron in a fining hearth and removing carbon from the molten cast iron through oxidation. Wagner writes that in addition to the Han Dynasty hearths believed to be fining hearths, there is also pictoral evidence of the fining hearth from a Shandong tomb mural dated 1st to 2nd century AD, as well as a hint of written evidence in the 4th century AD Daoist text Taiping Jing.

In Europe, the finery forge process began to be replaced from the late 18th century by others, of which puddling was the most successful, though some continued in use through the mid-19th century. The new methods used mineral fuel (coal or coke), and freed the iron industry from its dependence on wood to make charcoal.

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