Iron processing

The siderolithic iron ore present on the surface in abundance has been exploited since Antiquity in the Périgord and in the Crempse and Caudau valleys in particular.

Collected in the form of kidneys or slabs, the iron ore was broken, roasted and crushed before being reduced in a low furnace from which a cast iron burr emerged. This had to be further refined by hammering to become steel or soft iron in the form of forgeable ingots. With the use of blast furnaces, cast iron was obtained by melting and could thus be directly melted in sand moulds.

Blacksmiths, blacksmiths and ironworkers heated the ingots or bars so that they could be worked to produce nails, animal irons, tools and ironwork.

Iron curiosities?

– Breech and first reinforcement of the barrel of the 16th century cast iron falcon brought back by André Voulgre as a child from the castle of Longua (Saint Médard de Mussidan) (© Musée André Voulgre)

– Cast iron sugar cane boiler from 1810 produced in the Crempse valley for the West Indies or Reunion Island (© Musée André Voulgre).

– Nailmaker’s ruler, 19th c. for measuring the calibre of forged nails (© Musée André Voulgre)