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I Forge Iron

Iron Bloom for History Class

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The interesting thing is that most bloomery furnaces can produce anything from a relatively zero carbon iron, through high carbon steels and even cast iron.  Sometimes the bloomery might produce all three in a very inhomogeneous mess.  This is why the Japanese swordsmith evaluates the metal produced by the tatara and builds up billets of different carbon contents.

This, of course was an issue in earlier times---you forge a sword one day and it's soft another day and you get one that shatters in quench or burns at a lower temp.  Took a long while to figure out how to effectively work higher carbon steels---till they did figure it out Not quench hardening was a lot safer.

Not only blades, when looking at European Armour over time, the size of the plates got larger and larger until they started using medium to high carbon steels and hardening them by quenching---then the plate size dropped to much smaller ones easier to work and heat treat.  As the technology advanced the plate size went back up.  (The Knight and the Blast Furnace, The Royal Armories at Greenwich a History of their Technology; Alan Williams.)

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Thank you so much, everyone!

Wikipedia can be accurate for some things and inaccurate for others. My teachers argue about it all the time at school. 

Thank you Mr. Monsson, I'll be sure to include you in my sources.

I'll be back soon with my mark; I'll be passing my paper in momentarily. Wish me luck!



Sorry I missed you, Thomas. I'll have to do some more reading on Japanese swordsmiths, they definitely knew their stuff.

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Cold Iron is my favourite poem! It’s beautiful. 
I was just on my way back to listen to “our” song. 
I’ve added “by hammer and hand all arts do stand” to the end of my paper, then passed it in... fingers crossed!

Thanks again for all of your knowledge and experience! I’ll use this as my question asking thread until it becomes obsolete and I need to make a new one... and I’ll be sure to post my mark back here. 
I’ll be back in a few minutes with my opinion of the song. 

That song isn’t bad, but not George’s version... the lyrics sound so majestic...

“To the mem’ry of Vulcan our voices we’ll raise,
May he and his sons be revered thro’ the land;
May they thrive root and branch, and enjoy happy days
For by Hammer and Hand all arts do stand.”

it’s from Worshipful Blacksmiths’ Company, as I’m sure you know. 

It also says this... I thought there would be a recording somewhere...

”The Blacksmiths' Song was composed by a Past Prime Warden, Moses Kipling, in 1828; it is sung every year at the Company Banquet in Mansion House”

I’ve listened to some others, as well... they’re all pretty good, just not talking about Vulcan and such... 



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The thread was fun on the read thru.. 

Back 30+ years ago, I submitted a paper on nearly the same topic..   I think I named the paper..  Iron in the early age. 

Information today is much more indepth with a lot more information and people also knowing more about it. 

I did Like many things in the thread.. I like that Thomas mentioned  iron and steel were produced pretty much from the get go in Africa vs others that were using Bronze.  

What did you get for a Grade??  


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This is too late for Chris' paper but I was unpacking books and found one that would have been a good source for him. It is one of the old Time-Life books, Emergence of Man Series, Knauth, Percy, The Metalsmiths, 1974, Time-Life Books.  It is probably available through one of the used books websites.  If you can pick it up I recommend it.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."


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