Good essay on the Ironbidge- took me very long. About Abraham Darby and many others.

Essay by vish_007A-, February 2004

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Many factors contributed to the success of Coalbrookdale. The Darbys' were one of the biggest influences on the success of Coalbrookdale; however, there were other factors and individuals, which contributed to the development of Coalbrookdale. I will discuss these in the essay below.

Abraham Darby 1 was born in 1678 as a son of a Quaker locksmith near Dudley. At the age of twenty-one he moved to Bristol and later became a partner in a brassworks. The pots that were made in the brassworks were too expensive for the poor people. The iron industry was doing poorly at this time due to scarcity of the original fuel, charcoal. However Darby had an idea, he thought that he could use coke as a fuel. The use of coke as a fuel to smelt iron had been attempted in the 17th Century, but the first successful process was established by Abraham Darby around 1709 at his newly acquired ironworks in the Coalbrookdale, Shropshire.

This was a major industrial breakthrough because it allowed the casting of much larger pieces than the old charcoal fuel process, which had been largely restricted to pots and kettles. Darby's achievement in mastering the coke smelting process enabled this small valley in Shropshire to become a major development in the iron industry. In 1715, Darby continued to expand the business by building another furnace by the Glynwed Foundry south of the museum. Darby sold his pots at fairs and markets in the midlands and along the banks of the River Severn.

When his father died, Abraham Darby 2 was only six. While he was growing up, the works were being managed by Thomas Goldney, a Bristol merchant and Richard Ford who was the son-in-law of Abraham Darby 1 By the age of thirty one,