Wrought Iron: The end of an area at Atlas Forge Bolton

By: Joseph Brough – Published: 1980

Atlas Forge Bolton

Price : Out of Print

Philip’s Ranking: 3
Beginner Blacksmith: 0
Advanced Blacksmith: 0
Inspiration: 0
Historical: 3

Video Review: N/A

Thomas Walmsley founded the Thomas Walmsley and Sons company and built Atlas Forge in Bolton, England in 1866.

Built at the begging of the end of the wrought iron period Atlas Forge went onto to become the final ironworks that produced wrought iron through the puddling method. Joseph Brough, an employee at Atlas Forge, saw the end of an era as Atlas forge shut down it’s final puddling furnaces and stopped producing wrought iron. To ensure the final holdout of an industry that changed the world wouldn’t be forgotten Joseph wrote this lovely little book.

Overall the book is 55 pages long split about evenly between text and images. 

The book covers:

  • The history and production of wrought iron
  • A full reprint of an Ironworkers Journal Article from April 1872 titled “The Puddler Oxidised – Poor Wretch!” that is several pages long
  • A description of the works at Atlas Forge
  • A brief biography of Thomas Walmsley
  • The Personnel – Including an implied scandal when a woman called on Knocky Bowton, real name Enoch Bolton, who was not believed to be enquiring about the price of wrought iron. 
  • A number of photos of the process of creating wrought iron. 

Overall it’s a charming and nostalgic book and if you are interested in the history of wrought iron manufacture it’s a personable read covering the end of that era.

Some of the equipment from Atlas Forge has been moved to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and can still be seen there.  They apparently do cast iron pours on Wednesdays (video).