Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Benjamin Perry

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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[1]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'American Iron, 1607-1900' by Robert B. Gordon. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996