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To what extent was the iron industry 'transformed' between 1750-1830?
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To what extent was the iron industry 'transformed'
Though the iron industry undoubtedly experienced a notable transformation between the years 1750-1830, the extent to which it was transformed, in R. Brown's opinion, was not of the same immense scale of that of the cotton industry. He claims that 'no other industry underwent the explosive development that the cotton industry experienced during the 'industrial revolution'.' This is true in some respects, but evidence indicates that though the iron transformation may have been less 'explosive', it was still a highly significant revolution, which occurred at a more gradual, yet accelerating pace. The change in the iron industry was caused by a number of factors. Firstly, Abraham Derby's substitution of coke for charcoal, which was said by J.R Harris to be "One of the greatest advances in the history of technology." This was followed by the development of the steam engine by Boulton and Watt in 1774, and finally Henry Cort's noteworthy 'puddling and rolling' technique in the 1780s, which was said to bring rationalisation to the iron industry. It is these innovations that assisted the iron industry in changing from "small, scattered and stagnant" (M. Falkus)
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