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The Steel Making Trail


(3) The Tilt Forge

Inside this building is the machinery and equipment needed to turn crucible steel ingots into scythe blades. It was built by Martin Goddard in 1785, to hold the massive Tilt hammers which are driven by a water wheel.

The Tilt Forge Tilt Gear
The chimney on the left is for the forge hearth where the ingots were heated up to make them ready for forging.

Inside the Tilt Forge are two massive tilt hammers. They are driven from a huge wooden drive shaft. This shaft also operates a guillotine (large shears) which was used to cut up steel bars.

The speed of the water wheel which turns the drive shaft is controlled from the wooden handle which comes down from the roof. If the forge master worked at full tilt, he could make about 80 scythe blades a day.

There are two tilt mechanisms, side by side, on the same drive shaft. The drive shaft is driven, through a gear system, by the Tilt Wheel.

Tilt Hammer The arm of each hammer is made of wood. The hammer heads and the anvils are made of iron. Large cogs on the drive shaft push the back of the hammer arms down as the shaft turns. The hammers are pivotted near to the drive shaft so that as the cogs push down, the head of the hammer is lifted up.
Eventually, the hammer slips free of the cog and the weight of the hammer head falls onto the anvil. The energy of the falling weight is used to forge the steel bars.

The Forge Hearth is used to heat up the iron and steel bars so that they are at the right temperature for forging on the tilt hammers.

Coke is burned in the hearth. On its own, this would not give enough heat. To make the coke burn at a higher temperature, air must be blown through it. The air comes from a Blowing Engine.

There is no temperature control in the hearth. The Forgemaster would have to judge the temperature of the bars by the colour.

Next Stop on the tour : (4) The Hand Forges
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Page last updated on 20th April 2003
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