Iron Glossary of Terms

bar iron: a smaller size of raw iron than a pig, easier to handle by blacksmiths. Some bar iron also went to rolling mills, which rolled the iron into much smaller thicknesses, or slitting mills, which made iron rods for products like nails or wire

bellows: a device that contracts a current or air through a nozzle

bosh: a cylinder inside the furnace where the raw ingredients were mixed and melted

charcoal: charred wood, used as the fuel for a charcoal iron furnace

char: to burn wood partially to make into charcoal

coaling: smoldering wood into charcoal

collier: a person who burns wood into charcoal

filler: ironworker who loaded the raw ingredients into the furnace stack

flux: a substance that helps fuse together or separate metals; in an iron furnace limestone is used as flux to separate pure iron from impurities in iron

forge: a workshop where iron is made malleable (able to be hammered) or where wrought iron is produced from pig iron

founder: ironworker who makes castings from iron

fuel: something burned to make heat, such as wood, coal, charcoal, or oil

furnace: a stone stack shaped like a pyramid with the top part taken off, where iron ore was smelted into iron

impurities: in ironmaking, the parts of the iron ore that are not pure iron

iron: a hard, gray, brittle metal

iron ore: the natural mineral that contains iron

mine: to remove minerals from the earth; can be done on the surface or by digging deep into the earth

molten: melted, as in metal

overshot wheel: a kind of waterwheel in which the water poured over the top to move the wheel

pig iron: crude iron in a bar shape; direct product of a charcoal iron furnace

raw ingredients: the basic ingredients needed to make iron; for charcoal iron they were trees (for charcoal), iron ore, limestone, and water

resident ironmaster: the man in charge of an iron furnace, often the owner, who lived in a mansion in the furnace village

scrip: a company money that could only be used at the company store

self-reliant: able to meet all your needs yourself; an iron village like Centre Furnace was mostly self-reliant because they did not need to import very much

slag: the leftovers from the ironmaking process, the impurities left when the iron is smelted

smelt: to melt iron ore in order to obtain the pure metal

smolder: to burn wood without hot flames so as not to burn the wood completely

stack: the stone furnace structure in which iron was made

tapping: allowing the molten metal to flow out of the bottom of a furnace. The founder would open a small door and let the iron flow out. Iron furnaces were tapped twice a day

tuyère: pipe at the bottom of the furnace stack; air was pumped by bellows, through the tuyères, into the stack in order to keep the furnace hot