Learn about Cast Iron
Cast iron is produced by heating iron with a high carbon content until it liquefies, and then casting the iron into moulds of compressed sand.
Cast iron was invented in China in the 5th century BC and poured into moulds to make ploughshares and pots as well as weapons and pagodas. Although steel had been invented, was in use, and was more desirable, cast iron was cheaper and thus was more commonly used for warfare in ancient China.
In the west, cast iron did not become available until the 15th century, and its earliest uses included cannon and shot, and later, cast iron cannons, which, while heavier than the existing bronze cannons, were much cheaper to manufacture and enabled more to be produced..
Cast iron pots were made at many English blast furnaces from about the 17th century. In 1707, Abraham Darby patented a method of making pots and kettles thinner and thus cheaper than his rivals could. This meant that his Coalbrookdale furnaces became dominant as suppliers of pots, an activity in which they were joined in the 1720s and 1730s by a small number of other coke-fired blast furnaces. more...