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Puddle iron was the first inexpensive wrought iron to be produced on an industrial scale. The puddling process was invented by Henry Cort in 1784 and is considered a key technology of the industrial revolution of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, the process was slowly replaced by the Bessemer and Siemens-Martin processes.
In the puddling process, the pig iron obtained in the blast furnace (iron with a carbon content of more than 2.06%, not malleable) is melted in a so-called puddling furnace together with blast furnace slag. The "puddler" now has to continuously stir the molten pig iron and the slag with one another with long rods. The carbon from the pig iron reacts with the oxygen compounds from the slag and the carbon content of the pig iron is reduced. The process is ended as soon as the desired carbon content is reached.
Puddle iron is heavily interspersed with oxide and slag residues and has an inhomogeneous and fibrous structure that can be emphasized by grinding and etching. No piece is like the other. This is precisely what makes the material particularly interesting for decorative elements of all kinds. I use puddle irons, for example, for applications on knife handles or for the side layers of 3-layer blades.
At low forging temperatures, the material can tend to fray. I therefore recommend first forging the iron at higher temperatures (~ 1100) and slowly developing a feel for the material. With a little practice and less reshaping, you can forge puddle irons at lower temperatures.
The pieces offered here are pre-sorted by me and forged to the appropriate size. If you are interested in other dimensions, please contact me.
Puddle iron cannot be hardened and is not rustproof.
Every piece of puddle iron is different. Some pieces have a very inhomogeneous structure and larger voids and inclusions. Some pieces are more homogeneous and have finer inclusions.
Puddle iron is a historical material that may have been exposed to mechanical loads and weathering for many centuries. I do make a careful pre-selection and sort out pieces with visible material defects. Nevertheless, the puddle iron I offer can have larger inclusions, cavities and cracks. These are typical material properties that do not represent a reason for an exchange.