The Bloomery Process - is it a solid state process?
It is commonly accepted that ‘the bloomery process’ was a solid state process. This
is based on a number of factors
1 Percy’s observation of traditional ironworking reported by explorers in the 19th
2 The observation that most iron artefacts are manufactured from ferritic iron
(i.e. pure iron) which has a smelting point of 1538oC, temperatures impossible to
achieve in early furnaces.
3 Furnaces could not achieve temperatures sufficient to melt alloyed or pure
There are some long standing doubters e.g. Strauber, Bjorkenstam, and Schuster (see
Pleiner 2004 p??? ).
The evidence strongly supports some liquidity in the process, not least the evidence
of high metal slags from sites, and the melting point of slags. Certainly the 12-14th
Century furnaces of Rievaulx Abbey produced cast iron. This is not to say that all
‘bloomery’ processes from the Iron Age onwards involved liquidity, that has to be