What is Iron Smelting?
Iron Smelting is the process of making iron ore into iron. The smelters heat up the iron ore to melting point using charcoal as fuel. They then cast the heated iron ore into ingots called pigs. The ingots were either reheated and cast into moulds or they were heated and hammered into wrought iron which is more malleable. This job was usually done by adult males.
Uses in the Industrial Revolution
There was an increase in iron smelting from 12,000 metric tonnes in 1700 to 2,000,000 metric tonnes during 1850. This increase happened during Industrial Revolution because of the needs for more factories and ships. Iron was used to build ships and there were more needed because of the Industrial Revolution to transport raw materials to factories. This meant that there had to be an increase in iron smelting to accommodate for the increase.
Iron need was also increased as there were more factories being built. Iron was used for building and manufacturing products, infrastructure, and buildings. This meant that when there was an increase in the building of factories, manufacturing goods in factories, and building infrastructure to accommodate for the changes in society, there was more of a need for iron smelters.