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The Guests and Foundations at Merthyr, 1759–93

  • Edgar Jones

Abstract

The Dowlais Iron Works was established at Dowlais, near Merthyr Tydfil, in September 1759 when a partnership was formed between a group of merchants and ironmasters to construct a single blast furnace. After the Hirwaun ironworks, set up in 1757 by John Maybery of Powicke Forge, Worcestershire, it was only the second coke-fired furnace to be erected in South Wales, and for power it relied upon a waterwheel set in front of a dam laid across the Dowlais Brook. Whilst not one of the original nine partners, John Guest was appointed as the works manager in April 1767 and subsequently saved sufficient of his salary to purchase a shareholding in the firm, his family ultimately gaining complete control of the enterprise. From this remote and speculative venture, established at a time when Britain was in the initial throes of an industrial revolution, a mighty ironworks rose and prospered. In these early days, however, it was by no means certain that the infant enterprise would be nurtured through to adulthood.

Keywords

Blast Furnace Technological Change Eighteenth Century Industrial Revolution Early History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© GKN plc 1987

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  • Edgar Jones

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