Full Chisel Blog

July 16, 2012

Iron & Steel Prices, Boston March 6, 1856

IRON, per ton,

Russia, Old Sable, P.S.I –@–

Do. N. Sable   –@–

Swedes, common assorted 95 00 @100 00

Do, square and extra sizes 105 00@ 118 00

Glendon bar   –@–

English, flat, round & square  –@–

Do, do, refined  65 00@ 75 00

Do, Foundry   –@–

A Forge   –@–

Pig, American, Anthracite –@–

Do, Charcoal   –@–

Do, do Foundry  –@–

Do, Scotch, 1st quality  34 50@ 35 00

Do, do, other qualities  –@–

Sheet, English, per pound -13 ½ @-4 ½

Do. Russia   -15 ½ @-16

Boiler, Penn, 1st quality –@–

Do, do 2nd do   –@–

Do, Brandywine best  -6@ -6 ½

STEEL per pound

German, cast steel  -18@ -19

Do, Halbach   -12 ½ @-13

English, best   – 13@ -17

Do, common   -6 ½ @-7

American   – 5@ -7

Check out the difference in prices between iron and steel.  Interesting.





  1. OK. I’ll bite. What year were these commodity prices published? Is there any significance to the lack of rail or structural shapes in either wrought iron or steel? Or did you just excerpt the section with wrought iron bar and cast steel?

    The price for the Swedish iron and the Pennsylvania Brandywine iron boiler plate are similar to the price for the American cast steel. So this supports the notion that laminated tooling persisted despite the lack of a price advantage. On the other hand the english flat refined iron was just about half the price of english common cast steel and a quarter of english best cast steel. Does this reflect a lesser quarlity iron commanding a lower price or perhaps better furnaces burning a cheaper fuel (coal versus charcoal)? Did the english persist in making laminated tools because they had an advantage in wrought iron cost? This raises questions but doesn’t really answer any.

    As a bit of speculation, I’d say this is probably from the 1880s. Boiler plate was predominately steel circa 1900. American cast steel wasn’t a commodity until after the civil war. Russia iron was used for steam locomotive jacketing until the conversion to coal burning which occured roughly 1870-1890. Thin evidence, but that’s my guess.

    Andrew Adams

    Comment by Andrew Adams — July 17, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  2. OK. I can’t read titles. That has to be some of Carpenter’s first cast steel.

    Andrew Adams

    Comment by Andrew Adams — July 17, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

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