Monday, April 19, 2010


Where it all began...

Your correspondent on holiday in Ironbridge in Shropshire. This is where Abraham Darby first managed to smelt iron with coke (rather than charcoal), an invention that has as much claim as any to have started the Industrial Revolution.

Though, in reality, that revolution started more or less simultaneously in many places in England, you really get a sense of the historical significance of it here. In particular you can see how, in what is now a sleepy small town, the late eighteenth century must have felt just like Silicon Valley did in the 1980s.

In the reconstructed village set sixty years or so later at Blists Hill just up the road, they have a number of working stationary steam engines - my third favourite machines after tall ships and (of course) RepRap.

Definitely worth a visit.


Possibly relevant, or at least a good read:
Sir Henry Bessemer, F.R.S - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I saw that on quest in More Industrial Revelations (on sundays evenings) with Mark Williams

i don't know if it was done on purpose but he is the actor who played the sorcerer fascinated by human technology in Harry Potter movies

Excellent Program. I loved the one with the silk machine (Jacquard binary) and there is one with CNC/machine tools ....
I recall studying the introduction of cast and wrought iron into construction eons ago when I was a lowly undergraduate in architecture. Iron Bridge was one of the artifacts that I had to learn to recognise. That work really was the bleeding edge of the time. Fascinating stuff.:-)
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