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British Industrial History

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Joseph Hall

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Joseph Hall (1789-1862), the inventor of 'Wet Puddling',

1789 Born at Tipton

1806 Apprenticed as a puddler to use Henry Cort's puddling process.

c1810 Married Elizabeth Danks

Over a period of years, starting in about 1811, Hall began to consider ways of improving the production of wrought iron. He eventually tried adding old iron to the charge of the puddling furnace and later puddler's bosh cinder (rich iron oxide and small pieces of iron) to the charge. To his surprise this caused the charge to boil violently (due to the oxygen from the iron oxide uniting with impurities in the iron charge). When this subsided he gathered the iron into a puddle ball in the usual way, and this proved to be good iron. This became known as 'pig boiling' or 'wet puddling' (as distinct from Henry Cort's 'dry puddling' process). The wrought iron was of high purity, and the process was less wasteful and required less time and labour than hitherto.[1]

In 1830, with the financial support of others he established the Bloomfield Ironworks at Tipton,

Joseph Hall was good friends with George and Edward Thorneycroft, and with Mr Talbot, manager of Bagnalls Works; they discussed improvements in the methods of producing iron, such as "pig iron boiling"[2]

Before 1834, Joseph Hall was in business with Richard Bradley and Frederick Isaac Welch as Bradley, Welch and Hall with a logo of B.W.H. above a unicorn's head [3].

1834 The firm became Bramah, Barrows, and Hall.

In 1838, Joseph Hall, Richard Bradley, and William Barrows patented the use of 'bulldog' (roasted puddling furnace cinder) to protect the iron bottom plate of the puddling furnace during the violent pig boiling furnace (Patent No. 7778, 21 Aug 1838).

In 1849, he moved to small house at Handsworth but continued to visit the works occasionally.

1851 Living at Bloomfield House, Handsworth (age 62 born Tipton), Iron Master of the firm Barrows and Hall, 1,000 men. With his wife Elizabeth (age 62 born Wembourn, Staffs) and their daughter Sarah (age 26 born Tipton). Plus four visitors and two servants. [4]

1861 Living at Beacon House, Handsworth (age 72 born Tipton), an Iron Master. With his wife Elizabeth (age 72 born Tipton). Three servants. [5]

1862 January 25th. Joseph Hall died

1862 January 29th. Obituary. Age 72 of Barrows and Hall of the Bloomfield Foundry and Tipton Green works. His application of 'puddle boiling' was not patented and became the common property of all. Unobtrusive man. [6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'The Black Country Iron Industry' by W. K. V. Gale, 1966, The Iron and Steel Institute
  2. The Engineer 1863/12/11
  3. Morning Post 4 November 1863
  4. 1851 Census
  5. 1861 Census
  6. The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, January 29, 1862
  • R.A. Mott (1977) 'Dry and Wet Puddling', Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 49:1, 153-158, DOI: 10.1179/tns.1977.011
  • [1] Wikipedia