By James A. Mulholland
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Extra info for A History of Metals in Colonial America
25 The reorganized company had ample reason to propose the manufacture of iron in the colony. In 1619, major efforts to produce iron were launched by two groups. The adventurers of Southampton Hundred, apart from the Sandys administration, in that year were presented with an anonymous bequest of £550 for the conversion of Indian children to Christianity. After some debate among themselves and with the company, they decided to increase the amount from their own pockets and to use the money to establish an ironworks, part of the profits of which were to be reserved for the original purpose of converting the Indians.
Hammersmith also had a unique facility in the combined rolling and slitting mill. Although the details surrounding the construction and use of this facility are sketchy at best, it was one of the earliest built anywhere and one of a very few built in America during the colonial period. Here partially finished bar iron was heated and reduced by passing it between heavy rolls. One waterwheel drove both rolls and slitters, sets of opposed discs with hardened steel edges that could cut the rolled bar to a desired width.
30 Shocked though the company was by the news of the massacre, they responded with a letter of encouragement on August 1, expressing a strong intention to "againe resume that business so many times unfortunately attempted, and yett so absolute necessarie as we shall have no quiett untill we see it pfected. "31 But the problems entailed in financing and supplying further efforts proved to be insurmountable; the very next year the attempts to resurrect the manufacture of iron in the colony were abandoned.
A History of Metals in Colonial America by James A. Mulholland