Talk:Finery forge

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I have written this article this afternoon from my own knowledge (and using the sources cited). There is no copyright material in it. It is a subject that is not adequately covered elsewhere. I have been trying to ensure that other pages are correctly linked to it are correctly linked. It is therefore most disappointing to have done a lot of hard work only to have it treated like this. My doctorate (in economic history) was based on a thesis on the iron industry,a nd I do know what I am talking about. Peterkingiron 16:08, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

For the reasons above I have removed the 'proposed deletion' classification. Peterkingiron 16:15, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


I have removed a reference to steelmaking, because the product of the rinery forge was bar iron (wrought iron) not steel. I believe that it was possible to make steel in a German forge, but this was not the usual method, at least not in Britain. Peterkingiron 17:32, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Petri Krohn, We seem to be engaging in competitive editing over the words 'ironmaking' and 'steelmaking'. There is a significant differnece between bar iron (wrought iron) and steel. Steel can be made in a German Forge, if the process was stopped at the right stage, but it was never made in a Walloon Forge in England. Accordingly, statement should be that the finery forge is an obsolete way of making iron. If you disagree, please explain why on the discussion page of the article (where I am copying this). Peterkingiron 00:40, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

String furnace/string smith[edit]

The article as I wrote it was based on the sources listed at the bottom. However, none of these use the terms above. They do not appear in Gale's Iron and Steel industry: a dictionary of terms, whose contnet was largely collected in the Black Country. If a citation is not provided for the modenr use of these terms, I propose to remove them from the article.

I know the term string hearth, but only in relation to bloomery forges. That industry was extinct in England by 1770, and its latest manifestation (in the southern Lake District) used the terms Finery and chafery, by a back-formation from the indirect process. It could be that stringfellow (just removed) was introducted from a dictionary of surnames, but that is not a good source for dealing with an industrial process operating c.1500-1800, as English surnames formed in the late medieval period, long before the finery process was introduced to England. Peterkingiron (talk) 15:01, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

AIUI, "string furnace" was a Sheffield term, so I wouldn't expect to hear it in the Black Country or Forest of Dean. I don't know about Stringfellow. It sounds plausible, but as it clearly did exist earlier, with a different meaning, this plausibility is suspiciously misleading. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:08, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I have removed "String furnace", because I never came across this term even wehen working on the industry around Sheffield. If you have evidence for the contemporary use of the term when the finery process was in vogue - mainly before 1815, please cite it, but preferably in support of a new sentence. Peterkingiron (talk) 11:33, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Images - Joseph Wright painting?[edit]

The Iron Forge, 1772, by Joseph Wright of Derby, depiction the interior of an English finery forge.[1] The large water-powered trip hammer (left) is used to gradually forge the heated iron into workable wrought iron.

Should this image be included? Clearly an image of this period would be a valuable addition (and see the sketches included in the cited ref). However is this image of a finery forge? Two things (apart from the lack of sourcing) make me suspect this. First of all, the size of the hammer and the billet looks more like that for a well-appointed cutler's shop (such as preserved today at Abbeydale). Finery forges worked at a larger scale than this, even at that period. Secondly the wife and bairns suggest that this is the smith's own workshop, alongside the house. That would be common for smiths, but not for fineries, which by this time had become industrialised under the ownership of the first ironmasters. Did smiths still bring their wives and children to work like this, in the larger works?

Does this image convey an accurate interpretation of a finery forge? Or does it instead imply that fineries were smaller "cottage industries" than they actually were? Andy Dingley (talk) 09:48, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

The painting seems to have a confusing perspective- the water wheel appears squashed, and there doesn't seem enough space between the back wall and the forge to accommodate the smith's family (and there's no shadow on the wall from the light thrown by the billet as it is obstructed by the smith). It suggests that Wright has taken the visual elements of a forge and compressed them to produce a dramatic image, and the apparent smallness of the forge is just artist's licence. The huge, boring, two-volume work on Wright by Benedict Nicholson probably has some background on this painting. Ning-ning (talk) 10:51, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
It's clearly a romanticized image---I should have noted it in the caption when I added it. The TATE Britain's information page (the museum that owns it) notes just that, and it could be noted in the caption. In in its defense it was the only color image of a forge trip hammer in operation. The rationales I used were this: 1.) the TATE entry, for all its generalizations, refers to the worker as a "finer". 2.) It is almost identical in layout and design to the second image added, the entry from the Plates of the 1761 Encyclopedie, which is a finery forge (suggesting, as Ning-Ning did, that he may have even just used this image to work from) 3.) Others have used it to illustrate the trip-hammers of finery forges, so it could be used later on in the article merely to describe how the trip-hammer is used to forge the iron 4.) there is a large build-up of shingling slag beneath the piece, suggesting it has undergone a much refining there. That's my defense of why I added it. Thoughts? Keep, delete, or demote to a lower position on the page? Morgan Riley (talk) 17:08, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Review of commons images requested[edit]

Since I know now that thankfully there are folks watching this page to double check my late-night binge work, I have two requests: 1.) I would like confirmation that these drawings are of finery forges: commons:Category:Drawings of finery forges. My French is extremely rusty, but the entry describes perfectly a finery forge: a forge between the furnace and the smith where chunks of pig iron (the term used was "Gueuses"), are made into malleable iron. Insofar as the 1761 Encyclopedie entry is comprehensive, and shows everything from the mines to the crushers to the furnaces to the foundries and final forges (which it categorizes into a different section), and that it neither shows a puddlery nor were they in use at the time, at least one section must depict a finery forge. 2.) Lest I have to continue translating archaic French, what type of forge is depicted? Is it a German forge with two hearths, or Walloon forge? (the drawings show subtle differences in the hearths and hammers). For those interested, the original French can be found here[1]. Thanks! Morgan Riley (talk) 17:45, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Some of the illustrations are captioned "la Forge a duex feux" or forge with two fires, so I suppose it's a German forge. The caption referring to "turning (driving?) back the fox" ("refouler le renard") suggests that some technical slang is used in the original French. The scans are too dark to show detail though. Ning-ning (talk) 13:56, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Oof, my syntax for that dichotomy sentence was off, or at least my delivery. What I meant was that two fires suggests a Walloon forge, that is, not the German one. Sorry to confuse you. And yes, the full text version of it (which does have very clear images that I wish we had) is full of archaic terms that require some reading into and a good dictionary. Morgan Riley (talk) 14:10, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that French forges used the Walloon process; certainly a roofless building that I saw in Normandy had had 4 waterwheels, which would fit two fineries, one chafery and one hammer; the typical set-up in England. The hammer shown is a belly helve hammer, not a trip hammer (which is strictly correct only for tail helve). The presence of a bar sticking out of the hearth suggests to me that it was a chafery, but I have left the neutral "hearth". Peterkingiron (talk) 22:15, 22 July 2012 (UTC)