Re: The Strange Case of the MP Hoppers on the Santa Fe aka pig iron

Cyril Durrenberger

Does anyone know what size and shape the pigs (pig iron) normally was,
say during the early 1900's?


Cyril Durrenberger

--- In, "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...> wrote:

--- In, "Garth G. Groff" <ggg9y@> wrote:

I might add, that the pigs would be later remelted to make wrought
or steel products.
Aw Garth, you were doing so good until you got to that last
paragraph :-)

Wrought iron was never actually liquefied, it was an archaic way of
producing iron from a semi liquid mass of metallic iron and slag, by
hammering (the wrought part) on the plastic mass until the slag had
mostly broken away and the iron consolidated. It has a characteristic
grain formed by slag inclusions that give it its strength. The process
was effectively obsolete by 1900. Things we call "wrought iron" today,
like railings and patio furniture are simply mild steel, crafted in
the style of wrought iron.

Pig iron wouldn't be further refined to steel, either, this was done
as a secondary operation when the iron was still molten from it's
reduction in the blast furnace This was done by blowing air through it
to burn out the carbon, most often using the Bessemer process in our
time period, and the Basic Oxygen process today.

What pig iron was is feedstock for iron foundries. Just as today few
if any plastic injection molders actually polymerize their own
feedstock, instead buying chemically complete material in pellet form
and simply melting it and molding it to shape, most iron foundries
didn't smelt ore for their iron, but rather bought pig iron to melt
and pour into whatever product they made. Back in the era covered by
this list, some major uses would be stoves, car wheels, and machinery
parts, and every manufacturer of these products had a foundry on-site
that would receive car loads of pig iron and coke for fuel. Pig iron
was so heavy and low in value for its weight that it was most often
shipped as heaps of pigs dumped in open tight floor gondolas, to be
unloaded either by a crane with a magnet or by hand, depending on the
size of the operation.


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