The Historical Metallurgy Society (HMS) was founded in 1962 as the Historical Metallurgy Group (HMG), and the interests of its early members can be judged by the events that led to its foundation. It all started with an article by Reg Morton about Duddon blast furnace in the Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute late in 1961, which suggested it should be taken over as a National Monument to mark the centenary of its ‘retirement’ in 1862. A year later a letter in the JISI, from two industrial metallurgists, R C Benson and W I Pumphrey, and R F Tylecote of King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, welcomed Morton’s suggestion and said: ‘We obviously need for this purpose some sort of metallurgical preservation society.’
The HMG thus started out with a very particular metallurgical agenda that focussed closely on recording extant blast furnaces in Britain. It is therefore not surprising that most of the early notes and articles that were published concerned blast furnaces. The first issue of the HMG Bulletin that appeared in 1963, edited by Ronnie Tylecote, was only eight duplicated and stapled pages, though six issues later there were 71 pages and a few line drawings too. However, even in these early issues there were pieces about the Roman iron industry, medieval bloomeries, a transcribed late-16th century document describing a chafery and hammer mill, and non-ferrous metallurgy too: tin and copper smelting in Cornwall and the metallography of Bronze Age artefacts. In 1974 the HMG became the Historical Metallurgy Society and the HMG Bulletin became the Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society, sub-titled Historical Metallurgy – the name by which it is now generally known. In addition to its Journal, HMS started publishing a newsletter in 1976 which has developed into The Crucible, appearing regularly three times a year.