Level New Furnaces
The Earl of Dudley's Level New Furnaces
Benjamin Gibbons (1783-1873) installed a pneumatic lift to raise ore, fuel and limestone for charging the blast furnaces, worked by air pressure at 2 psi from the blowing engine. It had a cast iron cylinder 4 ft 4" inside diameter, closed at the top, and able to move up and down in a well of water. Writing in 1849, Gibbons noted that it had been working satisfactorily for 39 years (i.e. since 1810).
1814 Benjamin Gibbons made over the Level furnaces and other industrial plant to his nephews (John, Benjamin, and Thomas) in return for an annuity, a capital sum of £24,000, and the Corbyns Hall estate which the family had purchased in 1779. The separating off of Benjamin Gibbons's interests was providential, for it was to allow the family to recover from the bankruptcy which overwhelmed it in the post-war slump.
1816 The three brothers were recorded bankrupt as bankers, bringing the iron business down with them. Something was saved from the wreck when Benjamin Gibbons, in the guise of a preferential creditor, compelled the assignees to transfer the Level works and collieries to him.
1848 After William's death, Benjamin carried on the operations on his own.
1923 Acquired by Round Oak Steel Works Co
Sources of Information
- The Practical Mechanic's Journal, 1849, p.161