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Rchard Williams

Rather than get involved with the detail of Jenny Bulstrode’s argument, I think that the refutation of her work should involve simply showing that all of the technology she talks about, recycling malleable iron, use of reverberatory furnaces, general rolling mills, etc. were all being used in Britain long before the period in question.  So much is easy.

Jut for a minute, when I read her paper, I wondered whether she had something in the crossover of sugar cane rolls into the iron industry, so spent a little time looking up the designs of sugar cane rolls on the net.  She might well have been misled in her thesis by reading that both sugar rolls and Cort’s rolls were described as grooved.  In fact they were totally different in design, with the grooves in otherwise plain parallel sugar rolls being longtitudinal and quite shallow, designed to grip the cane more tightly.  Cort’s grooves were of course circumferential and much deeper.  There is absolutely no comparison.

The lady is very ignorant of the manufacture of iron, as Peter points out.

If Reeder’s equipment was shipped back to Portsmouth (why Portsmouth?), Henry Cort might well have thought of buying some of it, but even if that were true, it is not indicative of him stealing knowhow from slaves in Jamaica.  He would probably have had to import the slaves to do that.

Richard Williams