Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Salaams All.. A note on Iron Production which though it may have been slowed and disrupted by Colonial interference through cheaper imports was by no means totally stopped..Knox writes ~
Quote " Their Manufactures are few: some Callicoes, not so fine as good strong Cloth for their own use: all manner of Iron Tools for Smiths, and Carpenters, and Husbandmen: all sorts of earthen ware to boil, stew, fry and fetch water in, Goldsmithís work, Painterís Work, carved work, making Steel, and good Guns, and the like.
But their Art in ordering the Iron-Stone and making Iron, may deserve to be a little insisted on. For the Countrey affords plenty of Iron, which they make of Stones, that are in several places of the Land; they lay not very deep in the ground, it may be, about four or five or six foot deep.
How they make Iron.First, They take these Stones, and lay them in an heap, and burn them with wood, which makes them more soft and fitter for the Furnace. When they have so done they have a kind of Furnace, made with a white sort of Clay, wherein they put a quantity of Charcoal, and then these Stones on them, and on the top more Charcoal. There is a back to the Furnace, like as there is to a Smithís Forge, behind which the man stands that blows, the use of which back is to keep the heat of the fire from him. Behind the Furnace they have two logs of Wood placed fast in the ground, hollow at the top, like two pots. Upon the mouths of these two pieces of hollow wood they tie a piece of a Deers Skin, on each pot a piece, with a small hole as big as a manís finger in each skin. In the middle of each skin a little beside the holes are two strings tied fast to as many sticks stuck in the ground, like a Spring, bending like a bow. This pulls the skin upwards. The man that blows stand with his feet, one on each pot, covering each hole with the soles of his feet. And as he treads on one pot, and presseth the skin down, he takes his foot off the other, which presently by the help of the Spring riseth; and the doing so alternately conveys a great quantity of wind thro the Pipes into the Furnace. For there are also two Pipes made of hollow reed let in to the sides of the Pots, that are to conduct the wind, like the nose of a Bellows, into the Furnace.
For the ease of the Blower, there is a strap, that is fastned to two posts, and comes round behind him, on which he leans his back: and he has a stick laid cross-ways before him, on which he lays both his hands, and so he blows with greater ease. As the Stones are thus burning, the dross that is in them melts and runs out at the bottom, where there is a slanting hole made for the purpose so big as the lump of Iron may pass thro: out of this hole, I say, runs out the dross like streams of fire, and the Iron remains behind. Which when it is purified, as they think, enough, so that there comes no more dross away, they drive this lump of Iron thro the same sloping hole. Then they give it a chop with an Ax half thro, and so sling it into the water. They so chop it, that it may be seen that it is good, Iron for the Satisfaction of those that are minded to buy". Unquote.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.