title page of the book

Metallum Martis or Iron made with Pit-Coale, Sea-Coale, &c. And with the same Fuell to Melt and Fine Imperfect Mettals, And Refine perfect Mettals

Author: Dudley

In 1851, a privately published reprint appeared of Dud Dudley's famous small book Mettallum Martis, which dates from 1665. This reprint has now - again - been reprinted in facsimile. To it is added the chapter from Smiles' Men of Iron on Dudley.

This is one of the earliest known references to the use of coal in metallurgical smelting. Many great difficulties had to be surmounted before this fuel could be applied for such purpose. By the way - Dudley does not describe in this book how he was using coal - only that he did so, with (according to himself) great success.

The common metallurgical fuel of the time was charcoal. The absolute dependency on wood for smelting was gradually undermining Britain's naval and mercantile strength. Dudley describes how others tried to use coal in smelting, but failed. He himself succeeded in perfecting a suitable process, and in 1619 obtained a patent from King James for this.

Why use coal? Not only because of the increasing scarcity of wood/charcoal. There were vast quantities of small coal lying around, otherwise unusable. Many coal pits produced both coal and iron ores from the same workings. It would be doubly effective, saving charcoal and solving the waste coal problem at the same time.

Dudley used coal not only for the smelting of iron ore in the blast furnace, but also to cast iron pieces of sundry sorts and to fine pig iron into wrought iron or merchantable good bar iron. During the Civil War he lost most of his goods and of course also his Royal patent. Upon the Restoration, Dudley petitioned the King to be restored to his Place and his patent to be revived. By 1665, this request had not been granted - which was, of course, the reason for the publication of this book. Here Dudley sets out, in a methodical manner, all advantages of his invention, and this leads up to a new petition. It is not known whether he was, in the end, successful.

Part of our Metallurgical Reprint Series.

eerste uitgave / first published type medium dim. omvang / extent binding prijs / price
1665 / 1851 facsimile boek / book A5 74 pp - 1 illus paperback € 20,00
hardcover € 30,00