Robert Mushet portrait

Contributed by Dean Heritage Centre

Robert Mushet who made a huge contribution to the manufacture of steel.

Mushet was the first to make durable rails of steel rather than cast iron.Robert Forester Mushet (1811 - 1891) owned and worked at Dark Hill Furnace in Coleford. Although little known, his achievements made an impact on the industrial heritage of Britain. He was crucial in helping to perfect the process of making steel. Mushet was the first to make durable rails of steel rather than cast iron, providing the basis for the development of railways throughout the world. During the Roman occupation, the Forest of Dean was a major industrial region associated with the mining of iron ore. Forest coal too had been mined since Roman times but the industry was small before the 18th century. With the advent of steam engines it expanded rapidly. Since the arrival of the charcoal blast furnace in the 16th century, the consumption of trees greatly increased. During the 17th century vast quantities of timber were needed, principally oak, to build ships for the Royal Navy.

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