Cort, Henry

Cort, Henry
SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
b. 1740 Lancaster, England
d. 1800 Hampstead, near London, England
English ironmaster, inventor of the puddling process and grooved rollers for forming iron into bars.
His father was a mason and brickmaker but, anxious to improve himself, Cort set up in London in 1765 as a navy agent, said to have been a profitable business. He recognized that, at that time, the conversion of pig iron to malleable or wrought iron, which was needed in increasing quantities as developments in industry and mechanical engineering gathered pace, presented a bottleneck in the ironmaking process. The finery hearth was still in use, slow and inefficient and requiring the scarce charcoal as fuel. To tackle this problem, Cort gave up his business and acquired a furnace and slitting mill at Fontley, near Fareham in Hampshire. In 1784 he patented his puddling process, by which molten pig iron on the bed of a reverberatory furnace was stirred with an iron bar and, by the action of the flame and the oxygen in the air, the carbon in the pig iron was oxidized, leaving nearly pure iron, which could be forged to remove slag. In this type of furnace, the fuel and the molten iron were separated, so that the cheaper coal could be used as fuel. It was the stirring action with the iron bar that gave the name "puddling" to the process. Others had realized the problem and reached a similar solution, notably the brothers Thomas and George Cranage, but only Cort succeeded in developing a commercially viable process. The laborious hammering of the ball of iron thus produced was much reduced by an invention of the previous year, 1783. This too was patented. The iron was passed between grooved rollers to form it into bars. Cort entered into an agreement with Samuel Jellico to set up an ironworks at Gosport to exploit his inventions. Samuel's father Adam, Deputy Paymaster of the Navy, advanced capital for this venture, Cort having expended much of his own resources in the experimental work that preceded his inventions. However, it transpired that Jellico senior had, unknown to Cort, used public money to advance the capital; the Admiralty acted to recover the money and Cort lost heavily, including the benefits from his patents. Rival ironmasters were quick to pillage the patents. In 1790, and again the following year, Cort offered unsuccessfully to work for the military. Finally, in 1794, at the instigation of the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, Cort was paid a pension of £200 per year in recognition of the value of his improvements in the technology of ironmaking, although this was reduced by deductions to £160. After his death, the pension to his widow was halved, while some of his children received a pittance. Without the advances made by Cort, however, the iron trade could not have met the rapidly increasing demand for iron during the industrial revolution.
1787, A Brief State of Facts Relative to the New Method of Making Bar Iron with Raw Pit Coal and Grooved Rollers (held in the Science Museum Library archive collection).
Further Reading
H.W.Dickinson, 1941, "Henry Cort's bicentary", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 21 : 31–47 (there are further references to grooved rollers and the puddling process in Vol. 49 of the same periodical (1978), on pp. 153–8).
R.A.Mott, 1983, Henry Con, the Great Finery Creator of Puddled Iron, Sheffield: Historical Metallurgy Society.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Cort, Henry — born 1740, Lancaster, Lancashire, Eng. died 1800, London British inventor and industrialist. In 1783 he obtained a patent for producing iron bars quickly and economically in a rolling mill with grooved rolls. The following year he patented his… …   Universalium

  • Cort, Henry — (1740, Lancaster, Lancashire, Inglaterra–1800, Londres). Inventor e industrial británico. En 1783 obtuvo una patente para producir en forma rápida y económica barras de hierro en un laminador con cilindros acanalados. El año siguiente patentó su… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Henry Cort — (1740 ndash; May 23 1800) was an English ironmaster. During the Industrial Revolution in England, Cort began refining iron from pig iron to wrought iron (or bar iron) using innovative production systems. In 1783 he patented the puddling process… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Cort — Cort, Henry Nacimiento 1740 Lancaster (Reino Unido), Inglaterra Fallecimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Henry Cort — (* 1740 in Lancaster; † 23. Mai 1800 vermutlich in London) war ein englischer Metallurg und Unternehmer während der Industriellen Revolution in England. Cort verbesserte die Qualität des Eisens entscheidend. Er führte 1783 das mechanische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • henry — /hen ree/, n., pl. henries, henrys. Elect. the SI unit of inductance, formally defined to be the inductance of a closed circuit in which an electromotive force of one volt is produced when the electric current in the circuit varies uniformly at a …   Universalium

  • Henry — /hen ree/, n. 1. Joseph, 1797 1878, U.S. physicist. 2. O., pen name of William Sydney Porter. 3. Patrick, 1736 99, American patriot, orator, and statesman. 4. Cape, a cape in SE Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. 5. Fort. See …   Universalium

  • Henry — ► sustantivo masculino ELECTRICIDAD Denominación del henrio en la nomenclatura internacional. IRREG. plural henrys * * * henrio o henry (de J. Henry, físico inglés) m. Fís. Unidad de inductancia eléctrica en el Sistema Internacional. * * * …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • henry — ► sustantivo masculino ELECTRICIDAD Denominación del henrio en la nomenclatura internacional. IRREG. plural henrys * * * henrio o henry (de J. Henry, físico inglés) m. Fís. Unidad de inductancia eléctrica en el Sistema Internacional. * * * henry …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cort — is the name of several people: Cornelis Cort (1536–1578), Dutch engraver Henry Cort (1740–1800), English ironmaster Frans de Cort (1834–1878), Flemish writer John Cort (impresario) (1861–1929), American impresario John Cort (1913–2006), longtime… …   Wikipedia

  • Cort — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Carl Cort (* 1977), englischer Fußballspieler Bud Cort (* 1948), US amerikanischer Schauspieler Cornelis Cort (1533–1578), niederländischer Kupferstecher Henry Cort (1740–1800), englischer Unternehmer und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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