Friday, February 27, 2009

Wrought or not? That is the question!

What does a blacksmith mean when talking about wrought iron? Traditional wrought iron is iron that was reduced from ore using the bloomery process. In 1845, the New York State census showed 173 iron-producing bloomeries in the Adirondack region of New York. The resulting metal has almost no carbon but does have fibrous silica slag inclusions as the by-product of the low temperature smelting process. Wrought iron was the staple metal of blacksmithing from the late Roman Empire until the beginning of the 20th Ccntury. It is tough, malleable when hot, forges well, and can be welded in a forge fire. It generally cannot be hardened for cutting edges.
Today the “wrought iron” is used to apply to any steel or iron that has been shaped by hand. This is not the same as the historic meaning. Historically, the term referred to how the iron was made, not what was made from it.

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