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An ironmaster is the manager – and usually owner – of a forge or blast furnace for the processing of iron. It is mainly associated with the period of the Industrial Revolution, especially in Great Britain.

The ironmaster was usually a large scale entrepreneur and thus an important member of a community. He would have a large house or mansion as his residence. The organization of operations surrounding the smelting, refining and casting of iron was labour intensive, and so there would be a large number of workers reliant on the furnace works.

There were ironmasters (though possibly not called such) from the 17th century, but they became more prominent with the great expansion in the British iron industry during the Industrial Revolution.

Three family successive generations all bearing the name Abraham Darby are renowned for their contributions. Their works at Coalbrookdale were the home of the start of the improvements in metallurgy that allowed large-scale production of the iron that made the development of the steam engine and railways possible.

Other important ironmasters in the Industrial Revolution included John Wilkinson.

Ironmasters should be distinguished from ironmongers, who (if not mere retailers) organised the production of ironware from iron that they bought from ironmasters.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ironmaster". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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