Highly corroded pieces would would often appear to be wrapped in an outer layer of thick rusted fibers that were in the process of separating, as the purer iron between them rusted away first. Is there anything preventing someone from starting up a wrought iron foundary? Could you not grab a piece of conventional steel and stick it, red hot, into a set of rollers a couple of times to make wrought iron? That would make it more like damascus steel. The microstructure would be different, since the inclusions come in thin bands rather than being evenly diffused.
Jenny, never ever believe something because people with titles said they checked already. Its available or its not. In Yorkshire. Not inexpensive, but, in the dealing I had with them, quite good material, and quite reasonable people to deal with. Yes, the real thing, but not of recent manufacture.
And very expensive, for conservation work when some English Heritage person gets a bee in their bonnet about a bit of steel. Good article, thanks for writing. The skills of a Blacksmith have always intrigued me and on my bucket list is to become an entry level blacksmith. Some of the inspiration comes from visiting mines in California that still operate blacksmith shops.
We spent an hour talking to one of the blacksmiths who must have time traveled from the s. His explanations of metallurgical knowledge used by blacksmiths was phenomenal. I was literally in awe and very jealous of his knowledge. Even my 12 year old daughter listened intently to his explanations. He also told us about two organizations to check out, see links below. The 4th or 5th picture shows a guy in a leather vest, short sleeve red shirt, with a long braided ponytail and ear protectors on.
He is the genius from Gold Bug Mine. He deserves any recognition possible in my opinion. All the bridges from that era on the Oregon coast are made from steel and concrete. Actually, same as all the other bridges on the Oregon coast from any era! That remain, anyways. To prevent corrosion they use a technique similar to what ships use; a sacrificial anode! Typically, thermal-sprayed zinc. Sometimes carbon paint. So, a protective coating. I heard the same wrought iron rumors then. Maybe just because they were so old and had held up so well. Sea water came in that far with the tide.
The thing is, before the railroad arrived there was almost no heavy industry in the Pacific Northwest; bridges were usually temporary. There are smaller wooden bridges still standing, thanks to restoration, but when quantities of metal first became available it was mostly steel. Dockworks are more realistic, they brought a lot of that stuff in before the railroad came. I would definitely check local dates for rail access when considering the reasonableness of these claims.
There has actually been a bunch of wrought iron coming in to the market again, they are literally dredging tons of it out of the puget sound from decayed docks and stuff like that. I have been seeing it making its way into local blacksmiths hands in the past few years. I would highly encourage that you do. I went to one of their open house tours last year and was greatly impressed. Got to watch the entire process of sand casted molds.
At one time they were hoping to turn it back in to a fully operational foundry as well as a teaching foundry. Great article, Jenny! Horwood Publishing.
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