It has always appeared to us, that in many parts of our country the rich beds of iron, coal, and lime, lying so near to one another, afforded advantages for the manufacture of iron of as good a quality, and at as little cost, as it can be made in any country in the world. One of the most extensive iron makers ot Great Britain, while on a visit to this country a few years ago, made it a special part of his business to travel extensively and examine the different iron works in several States. The conclusion at which he arrived was, that we were perfectly blind to our own interests in the mode of conducting the making of iron, and that it could be made as cheap, if not cheaper, in various places in ' America than in England, if the business was j well managed. It is not for us to point out where the defect lies, because it is so easy to lose money in the manufacture of iron, from bad management, that one maker in the same district in England will be making good dividends, while his nearest neighbor in the same field will be losing money. Our object is principally to bring to public notice a very great improvement which has been made in the manufacture of iron by Joseph Dixon, Esq., of Jersey City. A specimen of plate iron made by the new process has been left at our ofllce for inspection by E. L. Norfolk. This plate is perfectly free from flaws, and all those imperfections of unequal texture, which belong to all the plate wrought iron we have examined. We understand that the process is but little more expensive (if any), than the present modes of making plate iron, and yet so beautiful and uniform in texture is the surface, that it will make a splended plate for the engraver's art. For boiler iron especially, this improvement appears to be a grand remedy for defective plates, by which so many accidents have been caused, two of which with sad results, have taken place near this city during the present year. In the interior of boiler plates there are often times blisters, which sooner or later lead to an accident, if not noticed in season to prevent the same. We understand that no blister nor flaw can possibly exist in plates manufactured by the new process— They are therefore much stronger than the common ones, for no boiler is stronger than the weakest part of it. Iron is perhaps the most sensitive of all metals; it is affected for good or evil, in its manufacture, by very minute impurities and inattention. It is our opinion that the iron manufacture is far, very far, from having attained to anything like perfection. We hope that as many otour people who have time, opportunity and means, will devote part of their attention to experiments for improving its manufacture both as it respects quality and the reduction of cost.
This article was originally published with the title "Manufacture of Iron" in Scientific American 8, 10, 77 (November 1852)