Casting at an iron foundry: From Fra Burmeister og Wain's Iron Foundry
, 1885 by Peder Severin Krøyer
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e. the singular of ironworks is ironworks.
Ironworks succeed bloomeries when blast furnaces replaced former methods. An integrated ironworks in the 19th century usually included one or more blast furnaces and a number of puddling furnaces or a foundry with or without other kinds of ironworks. After the invention of the Bessemer process, converters became widespread, and the appellation steelworks replaced ironworks.
The processes carried at ironworks are usually described as ferrous metallurgy, but the term siderurgy is also occasionally used. This is derived from the Greek words sideros - iron and ergon or ergos - work. This is an unusual term in English, and it is best regarded as an anglicisation of a term used in French, Spanish, and other Romance languages.
Varieties of ironworks
A South Wales iron mill in 1798
Ironworks is used as an omnibus term covering works undertaking one or more iron-producing processes. Such processes or species of ironworks where they were undertaken include the following:
From the 1850s, pig iron might be partly decarburised to produce mild steel using one of the following:
The mills operating converters of any type are better called steelworks, ironworks referring to former processes, like puddling.
After bar iron had been produced in a finery forge or in the forge train of a rolling mill, it might undergo further processes in one of the following:
Most of these processes did not produce finished goods. Further processes were often manual, including
In the context of the iron industry, the term manufacture is best reserved for this final stage.
The notable ironworks of the world are described here by country. See above for the largest producers and the notable ironworks in the alphabetical order.
United States of America
- American Iron Works in Hyattsville, Maryland
- Bath Iron Works in Maine
- Burden Iron Works in Troy, New York
- Cambria Iron Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
- Falling Creek Ironworks, Virginia.
- Saugus Iron Works in Saugus, Massachusetts
- Toledo Iron Works in Miami, Florida
- Tredegar Iron Works at Richmond, Virginia
- U.S. Steel
- Fairfield Works, near Birmingham, Alabama
- Gary Works, near Chicago, Illinois
- Granite City Works, near St. Louis, Missouri
- Great Lakes Works, near Detroit, Michigan
- Mon Valley Works (Homestead Steel Works, etc.), near Pittsubutgh, Pennsylvania
- Vulcan Iron Works in Pennsylvania and other places
The largest Japanese steel companies' main works are as follows:
- JFE Steel
- Chiba Works (from former Kawasaki Steel), Chiba, Chiba, of JFE Eastern Works
- Keihin Works (from former NKK), Kawasaki, Kanagawa, of JFE Eastern Works
- Fukuyama Works (from former NKK), Fukuyama, Hiroshima, of JFE Western Works
- Kurashiki Works (from former Kawasaki Steel), Kurashiki, Okayama, of JFE Western Works
- Kobe Steel
- Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal
- Hirohata Works (, of former Nippon Steel), Himeji, Hyogo
- Kimitsu Steel Works, of former Nippon Steel), Kimitsu, Chiba
- Nagoya Works (, of former Nippon Steel), Tokai, Aichi (near Nagoya)
- ?ita Works (, of former Nippon Steel), ?ita, ?ita
- Yawata Steel Works (of former Nippon Steel), Kimitsu, Chiba
- Kashima Works (, of former Sumitomo Metal), Kashima, Ibaraki
- Wakayama Works (, of former Sumitomo Metal), Wakayama, Wakayama
- Chelyabinsk Tube Rolling Plant, Chelyabinsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast
- Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast
- Nizhny Tagil Iron and Steel Works, Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk Oblast
- Novokuznetsk Iron and Steel Plant (of TMK), Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo Oblast
- Novolipetsk Steel, Lipetsk, Lipetsk Oblast
- Severstal, Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast
- Ural Steel (of Metalloinvest), Novotroitsk, Orenburg Oblast
- Volzhsky Pipe Plant (of OAO TMK), Volzhsky, Volgograd Oblast