Pig Iron

This was what the blast furnaces of Summerlee, Gartsherrie and elsewhere produced: bars of pig iron simply known as 'pigs'. This was because they were cast in rows from a central channel, making them resemble piglets suckling at a sow.

Pig iron was hard and brittle. It was often melted and cast into decorative shapes. It could be refined into malleable iron by a process called 'puddling'. Malleable iron is strong but flexible so can be used to build large structures such as bridges without shattering.

This is one of dozens of pigs that were found during excavations on the site of the Summerlee Iron Works.

Museum reference:
NLC-1999-2
Place Made:
Coatbridge
On display:
Summerlee Museum: Exhibition Hall
Associated with:
Summerlee Iron Co · Coatbridge, Scotland · Found on site of Summerlee Iron Works in 1987.
Materials:
iron
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