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Benjamin Huntsman

(1704—1776) steel manufacturer


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(1704–76). Huntsman was born in Lincolnshire, a quaker in religion, and set up as a clockmaker in Doncaster. Dissatisfied with the quality of the steel for springs and pendulums, he began about 1740 a series of experiments near Sheffield to improve cast steel. He experienced great difficulties—technical problems, industrial espionage, and the hostility of the Sheffield manufacturers, who complained that his steel was too dear and hard to handle. For some years he was forced to export mainly to France. But in 1770 he established a successful foundry at Attercliffe, where he is buried. The business was continued by his son and helped to make Sheffield for decades the steel capital of the world.

From The Oxford Companion to British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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