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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And let out their mettal as they see occasion


Hooks_, two strong hooks of square wrought iron fixed at the smallest end of the bellows to keep it firm and in its place.

"_Gage_, two rods of iron jointed in the middle, with a ring for the filler to drop the shortest end into the furnace at the top, to know when it is worked down low enough to be charged again.

"_Poises_, wooden beams, one over each bellows, fixed upon centres across another very large beam; at the longest end of these poises are open boxes bound with iron, and the little end being fixed with harness to the upper ends of the firketts are thus pressed down, and the bellows with it by the working of the wheel, while the weight of the poises lifts them up alternately as the wheel goes round."

No. V. Dr. Parson's description of the mode of making Iron.

"After they have provided their ore, their first work is to calcine it, which is done in kilns, much after the fashion of our ordinary lime-kilns; these they fill up to the top with coal and ore untill it be full, and so putting fire to the bottom, they let it burn till the coal be wasted, and then renew the kilnes with fresh ore and coal: this is done without any infusion of mettal, and serves to consume the more drossy part of the ore, and to make it fryable, supplying the beating and washing, which are to no other mettals; from hence they

carry it to their furnaces, which are built of brick and stone, about 24 foot square on the outside, and near 30 foot in hight within, and not above 8 or 10 foot over where it is widest, which is about the middle, the top and bottom having a narrow compass, much like the form of an egg. Behind the furnace are placed two high pair of bellows, whose noses meet at a little hole near the bottom: these are compressed together by certain buttons placed on the axis of a very large wheel, which is turned round by water, in the manner of an overshot mill. As soon as these buttons are slid off, the bellows are raised again by a counterpoise of weights, whereby they are made to play alternately, the one giving its blast whilst the other is rising.

"At first they fill these furnaces with ore and cinder intermixt with fuel, which in these works is always charcoal, laying them hollow at the bottom, that they may the more easily take fire; but after they are once kindled, the materials run together into an hard cake or lump, which is sustained by the furnace, and through this the mettal as it runs trickles down the receivers, which are placed at the bottom, where there is a passage open, by which they take away the scum and dross, and let out their mettal as they see occasion. Before the mouth of the furnace lyeth a great bed of sand, where they make furrows of the fashion they desire to cast their iron: into these, when the receivers are full, they let in their mettal, which is made so very fluid by the violence of the fire, that it not only runs to a considerable distance, but stands afterwards boiling a great while.

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