By Duncan Innes
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Extra resources for Anglo American and the Rise of Modern South Africa
A blast of air was blown in at the bottom; the fuel burned to maintain a melting temperature in the furnace and also to reduce the iron in the ore to metallic form as pig iron. Pig iron could then be cast, wrought, or converted to steel. Iron-making using either the cold-blast technique or the newer hot-blast technique, developed in the 1820s in Scotland, was experimented with in a limited way at a few locations in the Marmora area between 1820 and 1860. By the 1860s, the Bessemer steelmaking process and, a decade later, the open-hearth technique, had been adopted in the United States.
The pipe and small compressor cost an additional $3,500. 27 The peculiar and difficult circumstances of mining were hard on power drills. Underground openings were small and irregular, the atmosphere was damp, and the drills had to be moved about constantly. The regular Burleigh drill was complex, which tended to make it too bulky for use in small spaces and also created repair problems. Moreover, as mentioned previously, the operating requirements of the Burleigh threatened the independence of the miners who used it so they resisted its adoption.
The major American advance over the old German process for smelting was the water-jacketed blast-furnace, which was developed in the 1870s and perfected over the next several decades. With this new furnace, cold water circulated between inner and outer shells, preventing the inner shell from being melted or attacked by the highly heated contents of the blast-furnace. This represented a significant advance because it permitted the intensification of energy while at the same time it eliminated the burning out and "freezing up" of half-fused masses of molten firebrick — a phenomenon which occurred frequently with the old blast-furnaces.
Anglo American and the Rise of Modern South Africa by Duncan Innes