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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 a term mainly associated with the period of the Industrial Revolution, especially in Great Britainmarker.


The ironmaster was usually a large scale entrepreneur and thus an important member of a community. He would have a large country 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 Coalbrookdalemarker 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. But their most famous innovation was the Ironbridgemarker.

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