The Economic History Review

Charcoal ironmaking in nineteenth‐century Shropshire

Volume 61 Issue 1
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Pages: 80-98Authors: RICHARD HAYMAN
Published online: April 5, 2007DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2007.00387.x

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This article discusses the importance of forging wrought iron with charcoal after coal-based methods came to dominate iron manufacture from the end of the eighteenth century. Previously it has been argued that charcoal ironmaking declined because it was less economical than using mineral fuel. Evidence from Shropshire shows that after a short period of decline, charcoal ironmaking in the county increased in real terms. This is explained by examination of the expanding market for high-quality iron, and in particular wire manufacture and related industries.