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Wortley Top Forge is a water powered heavy iron forge whose history can be traced back to at least 1640. The site has been used for bloomeries and fineries but it is best known for the Wrought Iron Railway Axles that were hammer-welded between 1840 and the closing of the Forge around 1910.
Hammer Welding – A set of individual iron bars, held together in square steel frames were were first heated to approximately 1300ºC. The immense force and pressure generated by the water powered forge hammer was then used to forge the shape of the railway axle. During this process the individual iron bars are welding (fused together) to become one solid piece of wrought iron suitable for use as a railway axle. In the gallery of photographs images 8 and 9 show how the smaller individual bars were assembled in steel frames and also an axle-end off-cut from a completed axle. The off-cut in each photograph is the same piece of iron (turned over to show each side). One image shows the iron bars completely fused while the other image shows the ends of individual iron bars still visible.
Photographs taken 06.08.2017 | ©Postcard Cafe
More about the history of Wortley Top Forge on their website: http://www.topforge.co.uk
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