The industrial revolution began in a little town know as Coalbrookdale. This was where, in 1709, Abraham Darby successfully smelted iron using coke instead of charcoal.
This success created a solution to a major fuel crisis. Charcoal is made from coppicing trees and this was depleting the forests that were needed to build houses and boats. Unfortunately, Abraham Darby’s cast iron was not able to be converted into the stronger wrought iron. Darby’s son, Abraham Darby II, found a solution to this problem in the 1750s. This lead to Coalbrookdale being the center of the industrial revolution as it produced the iron for the steam engines that transformed manufacturing. Abraham Darby III created a bridge using 373 tons of iron, this showcased the family achievements.
In 1775, Matthew Boulton and James Watt created a new age of mass production when they “perfected” the steam engine. The steam engine allowed the mass production of jewelry, toys, tableware, coins, and many more things. Boulton manufactured all of these items at his Soho Manufactory in Birmingham. Boulton is considered one of the greatest British industrialists and he led a group of people known as the Lunar Society. This group consisted of some of the greatest minds in Great Britain and they met once a month. The group included master potter Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestley who discovered oxygen, and Erasmus Darwin whose grandson was Charles Darwin. The Soho House is still standing today and is now a museum.
If you want to read more about the iron bridge that Abraham Darby III constructed read this.
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