Peter King

Abstract

The 18th century statistics for the iron industry have been much used, but inadequately understood. The '1717' list of fumaces and forges exists in two versions, now redated to c 1710 and c 1715 on the basis of the contents and is probably reliable, but subject to a few deficiencies away from the Midlands. The 1736 list's estimate of recent production is generally reliable, but its estimate of production about 1718 or 1720 may be somewhat exaggerated by taking the highest figure achieved. The list of 1749 appears to be a hurried compilation relying far too much on the 1718/20 figures. An estimate dated 1788 and estimates from the 17th century are also
considered. When each list is examined on the basis of what ironworks are included or omitted, it is found that their compilers' knowledge can rarely be faulted. Comparison of their data with production figures obtained from other sources, principally accounts, though revealing some discrepancies, tends to confirm these conclusions, but the 1749 list is again found wanting.

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Early Statistics for the iron industry: a vindication. (2022). Historical Metallurgy, 30(1), 23-46. https://www.hmsjournal.org/index.php/home/article/view/427
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