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British Industrial History

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Samuel Danks (b.1842)

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1872. Danks' Rotary Puddling furnace.

Note: There is possibility of confusion with another person of the same name - Samuel Danks (1840-1913)

Of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Inventor of the Danks rotary puddling furnace

1842 Born in Scotland

1860 Possibly this was the Samuel Danks who was born in Scotland, age 17, an iron roller in Rensselaer, New York[1]

1868 Began experiments with mechanical puddling of iron (converting cast iron into malleable iron) using a rotary furnace at the Cincinnati Railway Iron Works

1870 Danks' experiments were so successful that the company replaced all of its old hand puddling furnaces with rotary furnaces and this move was copied by many other companies in the USA[2]

1870 Living in Cincinatti, USA, a junior iron roller, 28, with his wife Mary, age 23 and daughter Jennie, age 3 [3]

1871 Arrived in England to introduce his patent to British ironmasters, and particularly those of Staffordshire.

The Iron and Steel Institute then sent a deputation to America to investigate the process. The Commission visited the Cincinnati Ironworks, where the machine was at work, and conducted a series of experiments.

1872 Address given in Cincinnati[4]

1875 The Danks furnace was also tried in North Staffordshire at the works of Messrs. Robert Heath and Sons, and at Erimus Iron Co at Middlesbrough. But, although initially made to work, it was not a success; Mr. Danks, who had personally superintended the erection of the trial furnaces, returned to America.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. US 1860 census
  2. The Times, Apr 04, 1872
  3. US 1870 census
  4. Iron and Steel Institute