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Osmond iron

Osmond iron

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Osmond iron was wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 made by a particular process. This is associated with the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an production of cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

 in furnaces such as Lapphyttan
Lapphyttan
Lapphyttan in Norberg Municipality, Sweden, may be regarded as the type site for the Medieval Blast Furnace. Its date is probably between 1150 and 1350. It produced cast iron, which was then fined to make balls of iron known as osmonds. Osmonds occur in English Customs records in the 1250s and...

 in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

.

Osmonds appear in some of the earliest English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 Customs accounts, for example in 1325. The kappe a Swedish iron weight used for osmond occurs in a commercial treaty in Novgorod in 1203, and this implies the production of osmond iron.

Osmond iron was made by melting pig iron
Pig iron
Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke, usually with limestone as a flux. Charcoal and anthracite have also been used as fuel...

 in a hearth
Hearth
In common historic and modern usage, a hearth is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace or oven often used for cooking and/or heating. For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature...

 that is narrower and deeper than a typical finery in an English finery forge
Finery forge
Iron tapped from the blast furnace is pig iron, and contains significant amounts of carbon and silicon. To produce malleable wrought iron, it needs to undergo a further process. In the early modern period, this was carried out in a finery forge....

. The hearth had a charcoal fire blown with bellows through a tuyere. As the iron melted, the drops fell though the blast and congealed. They were then lifted with an iron bar into the blast. As they melted they were caught on the end of a large staff, held in the fire and turned rapidly so that the drops spread out, forming a ball.

Osmonds reached England during the later Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 through the port of Danzig
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 (now Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

). However, there were hammer mills in its hinterland and that of Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, which made the osmonds into bar iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

. In the 1620s, Gustav II Adolf
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

 of Sweden prohibited his subjects from exporting unfinished iron, and all trade in osmonds ceased.

The osmond process was also used in the county of Mark in Westphalia, in southern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

.

The process was introduced to Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 in connection with the establishment by William Humfrey
William Humfrey
William Humfrey was a goldsmith and Assay Master to Queen Elizabeth I of England.He had a patent from the Queen for the mining of various ores and the extraction of metals from their ores. These rights were transferred to the Company of Mineral and Battery Works in which he was a leading...

 and others of wireworks
Wire drawing
Wire drawing is a metalworking process used to reduce the cross-section of a wire by pulling the wire through a single, or series of, drawing die. There are many applications for wire drawing, including electrical wiring, cables, tension-loaded structural components, springs, paper clips, spokes...

 at Tintern
Tintern
Tintern is a village on the west bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, Wales, close to the border with England, about 5 miles north of Chepstow...

 in 1566, an enterprise that was shortly afterwards taken over by the Company of Mineral and Battery Works
Company of Mineral and Battery Works
The Company of Mineral and Battery Works was, , one of two mining monopolies created by Queen Elizabeth I of England in the mid-1560s. The Company's rights were based on a patent granted to William Humfrey on 17 September 1565. This was replaced on 28 May 1568 by a patent of incorporation, making...

. Humfrey arranged to bring an expert maker of Osmond iron, Corslett Tinkhaus, from southwest Westphalia, where the production had reached a high level of technical proficiency. Tinkhaus arrived in Wales in 1567 and began working at Rhydygwern in the Glamorgan
Glamorgan
Glamorgan or Glamorganshire is one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. It was originally an early medieval kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three...

 part of the lordship of Machen
Machen
Machen is a large village 3 miles east of Caerphilly, south Wales, situated in the Caerphilly borough within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It neighbours Bedwas and Trethomas, and forms a council ward in conjunction with those communities. It lies on the Rhymney River.-Mynydd...

. This was where the first Machen
Machen
Machen is a large village 3 miles east of Caerphilly, south Wales, situated in the Caerphilly borough within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It neighbours Bedwas and Trethomas, and forms a council ward in conjunction with those communities. It lies on the Rhymney River.-Mynydd...

 Forge
Finery forge
Iron tapped from the blast furnace is pig iron, and contains significant amounts of carbon and silicon. To produce malleable wrought iron, it needs to undergo a further process. In the early modern period, this was carried out in a finery forge....

 was, and he was evidently making osmond iron there. The iron was apparently forged with a tilt hammer, rather than the helve hammer, usual in finery forge
Finery forge
Iron tapped from the blast furnace is pig iron, and contains significant amounts of carbon and silicon. To produce malleable wrought iron, it needs to undergo a further process. In the early modern period, this was carried out in a finery forge....

s. This was the raw material for the wireworks at Tintern. Osmond iron was made at Pontypool
Pontypool
Pontypool is a town of approximately 36,000 people in the county borough of Torfaen, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire in South Wales....

in the 18th century to supply wireworks there, and one of the forges there was still called the 'Osborn Forge' in the 19th century.