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British Industrial History

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Abraham Darby (1711-1763)

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Abraham Darby II (1711–1763) was the son of Abraham Darby

1711 Abraham was born on 12 May 1711 in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, the eldest son of Abraham Darby (1678-1717), ironmaster of Coalbrookdale, and his wife, Mary Sargeant (1678–1718).

1734 Darby married Margaret Smith (d. 1740), of Shifnal.

He followed in his father's footsteps at the Darby foundry in Coalbrookdale, refining techniques for producing wrought iron from pig iron and producing the iron to replace the more expensive brass cylinders used in Thomas Newcomen's steam engines.

Abraham Darby II transformed the iron trade in England. Between 1755 and 1757, with his partner Thomas Goldney, he blew in four new coke-fired blast furnaces at Horsehay and at Ketley. Darby leased mining rights and worked mines through subcontractors. The partners became involved in the marketing of coal in brick making and lime burning and in the construction of early railways. The operation of farms to provide horses and fodder. Darby's company continued to make castings at Coalbrookdale, but also sold iron from Horsehay and Ketley, as pig iron from the blast furnace, as blooms of wrought iron from the forge, or as rolled bars or plates of wrought iron.

After his first wife's death, on 9 March 1746 he married Abiah Sinclair, widow of John Sinclair, daughter of Samuel Maude (1665–1730), a Sunderland Quaker, and his wife, Rachel (née Warren) (1667–1734). They had three sons and four daughters, three of whom died young. Of those who reached adulthood, Mary (1748–1807) married Joseph Rathbone (d. 1790) of Liverpool, and Abraham Darby (1750-1789) and his brother Samuel (1755–1796) were involved in management of the ironworks and associated ventures.

1763 Darby died on 31 March 1763 at Sunniside, Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, and was buried in the nearby Quaker burial-ground. He was survived by his wife. In his will he left in trust to his friend Thomas Goldney, Thomas Beesaley of Worcester, Robert Gilpin of Coalbrookdale, and his kinsman John Brooke of Bridgnorth, his interests in several ironworks [1].

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Sources of Information

  1. National Archives [1]