In the Iron Act 1750, the British Parliament sought to encourage the production of iron in America, but to discourage its manufacture into finished wrought iron goods. It thus prohibited the erection or continuance of iron processing works of various kinds. This article examines these processes to provide context for the Act. It also reviews the returns that it required from colonial governors, which provide some details of the American iron industry at that period and particularly of existing works for the prohibited processes, and the extent and significance of iron imports from America.
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