Posted July 29th 2015

In a letter written to the seventh Earl of Shrewsbury in 1608, we read that upon visiting Sheffield, the writer thought he might be “half choked with town smoke.” The dregs of the industrial revolution are still seen today, all over the UK, in black soot coating on any building that still stands and was standing during that time period. But the history of the UK metal industry goes back much further than the industrial revolution. Here are five other things you never knew about the UK metal industry:

1. The earliest reference to cutlers appears in 1297. In the tax records from this year, we find that a cutler was taxed in Yorkshire county. A cutler, of course, makes metal forks, knives, and spoons, at this time, probably for the rich families and noblemen in the area. While cutlery is by no means a modern invention, to find record of it so early in the UK’s history is remarkable.

2. The entire UK metal industry was built on the back of the cutlery industry. When the demand for metal like iron and steel increased as new technologies were invented, forges that were before almost exclusively used for making knives, forks, and spoons were expanded, many abandoning cutlery altogether to forge steel for use across industries.

3. The first crucible steel was made in England. While this might not be of interest to those who are not in the metal industry, it is notable that the first steel ever made in a crucible was made right here in the UK. This discovery made it possible to make higher quality steel, by refining the materials and it shifted the center of England’s metal industry from London to Hallamshire.

4. Steel production drove population increase. Counties like Yorkshire, that had massive forges in operation during the industrial revolution, were also the counties that saw population booms. Today, it is still these areas that have the largest population centers in the UK.

5. Though not the largest producer, the UK is known for specialty metals. Since the industrial revolution, countries like Germany and America have overtaken the UK when it comes to mass metal production, but those looking for higher-quality metals will still turn to the UK market.



Posted July 22nd 2015

If you live in Yorkshire, you know that the metal industry is an integral part of this area. Besides the Victorian architecture and railways, this part of the UK is known for the role it plays in metal and the metal industry. Those in the know often call Yorkshire the metal capital of the world, but is it really? Here are three reasons Yorkshire lives up to that title:

1. Heart of the industrial revolution. When the industrial revolution came to England, Yorkshire was the epicenter. It began here, and for good reason. While some might attribute the revolution to the canals, which provided power and transport for goods being developed here, the truth is that the abundance of metal deposits and the infrastructure to process that metal, is what made the industrial revolution possible. When steel burst onto the scene, it was in Yorkshire that there were the forges, water wheels, and crucibles to manufacture this metal. With the production of steel came the ability to build stronger machines and buildings, which in turn spurred the industrial revolution onward.

2. One of the oldest metalworking communities in the world. Even before the industrial revolution, metalworking was a huge part of life in Yorkshire. One of the reasons the infrastructure was already in place to make steel for the industrial revolution was because iron workers had used forges along the canal to make iron for more than five hundred years. It was only natural that those crucibles and forgers would then be used to make steel during the industrial revolution.

3. Hosts some of the most historic mines in the country. Yorkshire is home to both Caphouse Colliery and Hope Pit. While most of the UK has great mining sites, Yorkshire seems to have more mining sites than any other county in the England. The unique geology of this place made it an excellent location for mining not just for coal (which is also found in abundance in Yorkshire), but also for minerals and metals, which were then forged and sent off for use around the country.

4. Don’t believe us? See for yourself. With Kelham Island museum and Abbeydale Hamlet Hamlet open to the general public, you can travel back in time to an era where the Industrial Revolution was booming and experience what is was like to live in these exciting times.

Yorkshire has a long history in the metal industry, one that still fuels the industry to this day, and will continue to fuel it for centuries to come. You can see time standing still with visits to Kelham Island Museum.



Posted July 16th 2015

There are few companies in the world that can boast almost two hundred years of history. There are very few industries that have survived both the industrial revolution and the internet revolution. Some businesses run their course and they are just no longer useful, so they change shape or they shut down. That said, if you can work with a company that has a long history, you are more likely to work with a company that has deep cultural ties and integrity.

Heritage Equates Strength

Heritage is the legacy left to us by those who came before. Companies that have a rich heritage have survived generations, they have deep roots that sustain them even in tough economic times. Working with these companies means working with companies that are more stable and are less likely to fold or to be swayed by trends. Why is this good for you? Especially when it comes to the world of high purity metals, metal powders, inoculants, and alloys, you’ll be able to find a company that innovates, without those innovations shaking the core of the business.

A Long History of Integrity

Companies can only survive for nearly two hundred years if they are operate with integrity. Those that take advantage of their clients or customers are eventually found out and the public no longer trusts them, making it impossible to continue to make any money. When a company has a long history, those that use that company will be able to see a long track record of excellence and integrity, and will therefore be better able to trust that company with their money.

Traditions Make a Better Business

Part of working with a company that has a long history is benefitting from the traditions that are built into that company over its generations of operation. Historical companies are more likely to have traditions that benefit their customers or clients, like better customer service and a concern for their reputation—not just because reputation is everything in business, but also because the reputation is not just theirs, it belongs to all of the owners and operators that have come before.

The longer the track record is, the safer that company is to work with. It means experience, dedication, and a solid reputation.

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