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History of Attercliffe and the Benjamin Huntsman steelworks


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Guest detrius

Hi

Recently started a youtube on growing up in Attercliffe http://youtube.com/70sheffieldlad

Researching for information on how Attercliffe steelworks and the surounding streets and school was named by Benjamin Huntsman with his two sons.so far the only site i have found of major interest has been http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/huntsman/model.html

If anybody has more info,links etc and pictures please reply.you can also contact me on 70sheffieldlad@supanet.com

Many Thanks

Andy m

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Hi

Recently started a youtube on growing up in Attercliffe http://youtube.com/70sheffieldlad

Researching for information on how Attercliffe steelworks and the surounding streets and school was named by Benjamin Huntsman with his two sons.so far the only site i have found of major interest has been http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/huntsman/model.html

If anybody has more info,links etc and pictures please reply.you can also contact me on 70sheffieldlad@supanet.com

Many Thanks

Andy m

Benjamin Huntsman, a Doncaster clockmaker, born in Epworth in 1704 of Quaker parents, had a particular problem with springs and pendulums and resolved to make steel of better quality. His invention of ‘cast steel’, which he poured from heated clay crucibles into moulds, is traditionally dated to 1742, but it was perfected over many years of trial and error. It was the most important discovery ever made in Sheffield and in time it transformed the whole character of the place.

From here : http://cruciblebooks.com/page/view/75

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A recent addition to the Trust collection is a Benjamin Huntsman longcase clock made in Sheffield. A long piece of steel is displayed inside this clock which is reputedly a section from the first successful melt of crucible steel that Huntsman made. The clock can be seen in the main gallery at Kelham Island Museum.

The Trust’s collection also reflects the crucible process with collections of crucible steel clay pots and documentary artefacts, pictures and photographs, showing a history of the manufacturing process. The Trust has ephemera relating to Huntsman, such as a watch made by him.

From here : http://www.simt.co.uk/collections/collections-1-1-1.html

Maybe we can get a picture of the clock, and the piece of steel mentioned ? Tis VERY near the Fat Cat !!!

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"One cold winter’s night, while the snow was falling in heavy flakes, and the manufactory threw its red glared light over the neighbourhood, a person of the most abject appearance presented himself at the entrance, praying for permission to share the warmth and shelter which it afforded. The humane workmen found the appeal irresistible, and the apparent beggar was permitted to take up his quarters in a warm corner of the building.

A careful scrutiny would have discovered little real sleep in the drowsiness which seemed to overtake the stranger; for he eagerly watched every movement of the workmen while they went through the operations of the newly discovered process. He observed, first of all, that bars of blistered steel were broken into small pieces, two or three inches in length, and placed in crucibles of fire clay. When nearly full, a little green glass broken into small fragments was spread over the top, and the whole covered over with a closely-fitting cover.

The crucibles were then placed in a furnace previously prepared for them, and after a lapse of from three to four hours, during which the crucibles were examined from time to time to see that the metal was thoroughly melted and incorporated, the workmen proceeded to lift the crucible from its place on the furnace by means of tongs, and its molten contents, blazing, sparkling, and spurting, were poured into a mould of cast-iron previously prepared: here it was suffered to cool, while the crucibles were again filled, and the process repeated.

When cool, the mould was unscrewed, and a bar of cast-steel presented itself, which only required the aid of the hammerman to form a finished bar of cast-steel. How the unauthorized spectator of these operations effected his escape without detection tradition does not say; but it tells us that, before many months had passed, the Huntsman manufactory was not the only one where cast-steel was produced."

About three months after this cold night, it is claimed that Walker’s foundry in Grenoside was also making crucible steel.

From here : http://www.rowlinson-sheffield.org.uk/hunttext.htm

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County: Nottinghamshire

Country: England

07 Jan 1728-9 Benjamin Huntsman, of Mansfield, watchmaker, 25, & Elizabeth Haigh, of Mansfield, spr., 24; at Retford or Tuxford.

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Guest detrius

Wow

Thanks Richard thats exc.Superb reading and links.should keep me going for a while.i,m hoping to do a youtube on this when i come back to visit at the end of august.Just going to go through the links now

Best Wishes

Andy M

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Guest detrius

Hi There

Answering my own posts now :(lol

Just to let anybody else know who is looking for similar information there is an exc book called The Attercliffe Village Trail by Harman and Ogden.

Cheers

Andy m

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http://www.handsworth.org.uk/history/

Benjamin Huntsman's Links with Handsworth

Another, more famous, quaker buried near Handsworth is Benjamin Huntsman. Although he was born in Lincolnshire, he lived for some years at Handsworth in the 1740s. Huntsman made a highly significant scientific discovery which enabled Sheffield to develop from small township into one of the leading northern industrial cities that shaped the destiny of Victorian Britain.

Huntsman revolutionised the technology of steel making through his invention was "cast" or "crucible" steel. Whilst in Handsworth, he developed the process whereby it became possible to melt down raw or "blister" steel and produce cast ingots of steel. This required an extremely high temperature of 1600 degrees centigrade, something which had never been achieved before in the steel industry. In order to produce and sustain such a high temperature in his furnace, Huntsman used coke instead of charcoal. To contain the steel he designed a clay crucible which could withstand the severe temperature and possible attack of the metal.

It seems probable that Hunstman moved to Handsworth because he was aware of the nearby glassworks in Catcliffe where vessels were used in which the materials were melted at very high temperatures. Huntsman found that he could benefit in Handsworth not only from the experience of the glass makers but also from the ready access to refractory materials and fireclays in the Sheffield district.

By devising this process of crucible steel making, Benjamin Huntsman transformed the nature of steel making in Sheffield and thereby made a very important contribution to England's "industrial revolution".

Without crucible steel, Sheffield could not have emerged as a major steel producing town in Europe. In 1740, Sheffield produced only 200 tons of steel per year; by 1860, this total had risen, because of the application of Huntsman's techniques, to over 80,000 tons per year - almost half of Europe's total tonnage.

Initially, Huntsman's achievements were given scant recognition in Sheffield. The local cutlers thought the new steel was too hard and difficult to handle. But rival Europeans nations, especially France, quickly took advantage of the superior quality of crucible steel. Eventually, this competition from overseas encouraged the Sheffield cutlers to adopt Huntsman's methods, thereby laying the foundations of Sheffield's Industrial Heritage Heritage.

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