Hot, mortally dangerous, clamorous and filthy, the forges and works of the iron masters are, for some, a presentment of Hell on Earth.
Blacksmiths can only produce small quantities of good quality iron, and small items, thanks to their reliance on muscle power for all work. The iron masters have the financial backing and imagination to scale up the production of iron, and use water power to force air into the furnaces and power machines to work the metal. Where there is a plentiful supply of coal, water and ore, the iron masters can make a profit.
The Industrial Revolution and the modern world we now live in owe their existence to one small valley in Shropshire, England. Coalbrookdale had good supplies of water and coal and this encouraged Abraham Darby to establish his coke-burning foundry there to make iron (there had been foundries in Coalbrookdale before, producing cannon shot among other things). Charcoal-powered furnaces were becoming uneconomic, as the demand for wood outstripped supply, hence the switch to coal and coke. Darby's methods were revolutionary and the family business went from strength to strength. The production of high-quality iron generated demand for more; the Iron Bridge at Ironbridge, for example, demonstrated that iron was a superb construction material, thanks to the efforts of Abraham's grandson, also called Abraham.
- Level 2
- 4 Turns to Build
- 4000 Coin