Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 132,207 pages of information and 209,718 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1798 Born in Madeley, Shropshire, on 25 Sept.
Perry was the furnace manager at the Pentyweyn [Pentwyn] Iron Works in Monmouthshire. He emigrated to the USA at the request of the owner-manager of the Farrandsville Iron Furnace, Colebrook Township, Clinton Co in order to conduct experiments with bituminous cold & coke in a hot blast iron furnace operation. He went on to become involved with other Pennsylvanian iron furnace operations. In Oct. 1839 he achieved a successful blast at the Pioneer Furnace in Pottsville using anthracite coal.
He retired to a Mackeyville farm, and died in Clinton County on 1 June 1870.
He was 'the first man in America to manufacture iron with anthracite coal'.
The above information is from the Find a Grave website.
Regarding the claim for priority in the use of anthracite, things are never so clear-cut. Experiments had started in Pennsylvania in 1821, but success proved elusive. William Buddle and others offered a $5000 prize for the first successful smelting of iron with anthracite alone. Some success was achieved at Mauch Chunk in 1839 using a progressively hotter blast and anthracite alone (no charcoal). However, the prize went to Benjamin Perry for a successful run of smelting at the Pioneer Furnace, Pottsville, from October 1839 to January 1840. Perry subsequently blow in the furnaces at Roaring Creek and Columbia