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British Industrial History

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Calder Iron Works

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Calder Iron Works of Monklands

c.1795 Built by a Glasgow company at a cost of £15,000 for the manufacture of iron and steel

This was the first iron works to use the blackband ironstone as an ore.

About two years later the venture failed and the works were sold to Mr. Dixon for £400.

c.1800 Dixon formed another company, with Mr. David Mushet as manager. The works were erected by Mr Mushet for himself and his partners, including William Dixon.

So prosperous was the new company that, when disagreement dissolved the partnership about two years after, the works were bought by Mr. William Dixon for £19,000.

1803 Advert: 'FOR SALE. CALDER IRON WORKS. Near Airdie, in the Country of Lanark, in Scotland,
To be SOLD, by public Sale, (The Time and Place to be afterwards advertised)
THOSE extensive IRON WORKS at CALDER, within eight Miles of the City of Glasgow, erected the Calder Iron Company; situated in the Heart of a polulous Country, abounding, for many Miles round, with Coal and Iron-Stone, and within two Hundred Yards of a Canal, which communicates with the East and West Seas.
The Works consist of a powerful Patent Blast Engine, capable of blowing four Furnaces single Blast, or two Furnaces double Blast, besides Cupola Furnaces, for melting Iron or Finery, and running out Fires for Bar-Iron Forge Operations, with Casting and Bridge Hoses, constructed in a superior and substantial Manner.
There is also a Steel Forge, consisting of two Hammers, driven by Double Patent Steam Engine, with commodious Buildings for extending the Steel Trade, in every Variety of Manufacture.
There is also a STEEL CASTING HOUSE, consisting of fourteen Cast Steel Furnaces, capable of making four Tons of Steel weekly; and a Cast Iron Foundry, consisting of an Air-Furnace and Chimney, with a a good Moulding Shop.
The whole Works are built upon a regular and connected Plan, and can be farther extended with Convenience and Facility.—— They are now at Work and, having been only erected within thses three Years, are in the most complete. Repair.
For further Information, Application may be made to James Burnside, Merchant, in Glasgow, Factor, upon the Estate of the Calder Iron Company; Mr David Mushet, at the Works; or Mr. Alex. M'Grigor, Writer, in Glalgow.' [1]

1805 Mention of 'Mr. Mushett, Calder Iron Works'.[2]

1825 Mention as 'Messrs. Dixons of Calder Iron Works.[3]

1825 'At Calder iron-works there are four blast furnaces; in Wilsontown, two; in Carron, five; Clyde, two; Shotts, one; Clelland, two; Muirkirk, three; Devon, two. These furnaces make, on an average, thirty-five tons of iron week each, when working.'[4]

In consideration of the assistance provided by Mr Condie (John Condie?) and Mr Dixon in developing Neilson's invention, the production of several of the Calder furnaces were exempted from the usual royalty[5] for using Neilson's hot blast.

1830 'Robert Poney, principal furnace keeper at Calder Iron Works, near Airdrie'[6]

1921 Closed

See Lanarkshire Iron Works


  • Note: There was also a Calder Iron Works at Dewsbury, Yorkshire which was mentioned as closed in 1823.[7]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Tyne Mercury; Northumberland and Durham and Cumberland Gazette - Tuesday 28 June 1803
  2. Caledonian Mercury - Monday 14 January 1805
  3. Morning Post - Friday 14 October 1825
  4. Morning Advertiser - Saturday 22 October 1825
  5. The Engineer 1872/08/09
  6. Monday 11 January 1830, Sherborne Mercury
  7. Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 11 December 1823