Articles, Blog

Out of the Fiery Furnace – Episode 4 – The Revolution of Necessity

September 6, 2019

Out Of The Fiery Furnace
is brought to you by a company
that makes aluminum for transportation,
construction, and manufacturers
of consumer products all around your house. This was the battlefield
of a revolution, a revolution fashioned
by a relative handful of men of inventive,
resourceful intelligence. Their victory
touched all lives both then and since,
everywhere. Over 200 years later,
we are still digesting and dealing
with the consequences. They changed the physical face
of that idealized portrait of Britain
as “Merry England” and made the green,
pleasant land in the world’s workshop. With devoted attention,
historians have considered why the industrial revolution
happened first in Britain. they rule out fate
because men make revolutions. Clearly, from the middle
of the 18th century, the British began
a spectacular advance, a wave of vigor
that within 100 years won them an empire and made them
the dominant world power. The men who made that revolution
and exported it shared convictions
about personal liberty. They strove
for self-fulfillment and were driven
by another impulse– necessity. “The Revolution of Necessity” At some point
during all the long ages that man
has played with fire, some genius made the leap
to a new truth, the discovery
that partly burned wood made a better fuel
than wood itself. The slow, controlled combustion
of the charcoalmaking process drives off water
and other elements and leaves
an almost pure carbon which burns
with a clean, smokeless heat. Among the consequences
of that revelation was the beginning of one of man’s
more devastating assaults upon liberal, bountiful nature. Over thousands of years, trees were cut and split
and turned into charcoal for cooking and for heating, just as one of the last
of the charcoal burners is doing here in Austria. When the decline
of the Dark Ages was reversed, despair gave way to hope. Optimism was sustained
by the prospect of success. But the forests, as Europe
began its rise to dominance, were being subjected to an accelerating
and even more sustained attack. By the 16th century’s end, Europe faced a situation
which has returned to us to find a place
in our contemporary vocabulary, its first great energy crisis,
a critical shortage of wood. Charcoal was being consumed in relentlessly increasing
quantities, with the production
of what by this time had become the most widely desirable
material available to man, iron. The open valleys
of the Weald in Kent still warm
to the autumn sunshine as they’ve done
for centuries. But this isn’t
the continent of England as it used to be. Once the weald was all
like this surviving wood. But the trees
stood on chalk, and in that chalk,
the Romans found iron. To smelt the iron,
they needed charcoal. It was the beginning
of a decimation. The forests of Britain
were famous for their age. Out of them, over centuries, were carved the walls
of old England. Here in Portsmouth lies
that revered survivor of an age
of wooden warships reaching back to the time
of Alfred the Great– Nelson’s flagship at the Battle
of Trafalgar, HMS Victory, 2,100 tons of oak. thousands of trees were cut
to make one ship like this. 300,000 cubic feet of oak
went into Victory– a whole forest. Much earlier than the launching
of HMS Victory in 1765 and Nelson’s day– incidentally,
Nelson was standing there when a sniper shot him from the foretop of
the French ship, Redoubtable– Two centuries
before Nelson’s time, steps were taken
to establish the sea service as a distinct profession. Henry VIII
founded the Royal Navy and built,
here at Portsmouth, the first royal dockyard,
in which Victory lies today. Hearts of oak
were the navy’s ships, and oak built
the trading ships. Simultaneously,
the population of Britain was making
increasing use of iron. The skill
of British ironmakers had built a flourishing
export trade in iron cannon. two uses of timber
from English forests were in competition. So critical was the shortage
of good oak for ships like this that laws were passed in 1558
forbidding “the felling of trees to make coals
for the burning of iron.” That snuffed out
the ironmaking industries of Sussex
and the Weald of Kent. The ironmakers
had to look elsewhere. What they turned to
and how they used it had profound consequences. No one knows when this black rock
was first deliberately burned. It was long ago. But there are misty images of women
with baskets on their heads, harvesting it from beaches, which have been handed down
in paintings and pictures into modern times. One of the first places
where coal was gathered and used was here in Scotland along the shores
of the Firth of Forth during the Roman occupation
of Britain. The ancient civilizations
occupied areas where rich seams of coal
did not outcrop on top of the ground. During the Roman Empire, the most abundant seams
which did outcrop on the surface were here in Britain. It was from these exposures
at the water’s edge that it got its name,
sea coal. After the Romans left, all mention of coal
went with them. but after the Dark Ages, interest in coal reappears. It was here
in the 12th century that the first recorded
digging of coal took place in Britain, under the rocky outcrops in the cliffs
behind a beach on the Firth of Forth. Coal mining underground
began on a small scale and as little more than poor
and lowly family enterprise. From the Middle Ages onwards,
use of coal increased, especially after houses
included chimneys, which made the smoke and fumes
more tolerable. Industries such as
brickmaking, brewing, and glass and china
turned to coal as charcoal became scarce
and more expensive. Britain would become the world’s
largest coal producer. Her people were
almost kippered in the smoke. But a vital industry
was held back. Attempts to smelt iron
with coal failed. The softness of coal
choked up the furnaces, and its impurities made the iron
brittle and useless. No portrait
survives of the man who came
to this Shropshire Valley and in 1709 solved
the energy problem in the iron industry. Abraham Darby had learned about metal casting
in Birmingham, making handmills of iron to grind malt
for the breweries. Darby brought
those elementary skills to the small town
he would make world famous– Coalbrookdale
on the Severn River. He had intended to make
cooking pots, not in the customary brass, but in cast iron,
which was cheaper. The industrial revolution
had many origins, but this place
in Coalbrookdale has a special claim
to the nativity, and Abraham Darby was present
at the creation. When Darby came here, the price of charcoal
was so high that he had to
find an alternative. Two things with which
he had been familiar in his apprenticeship
in malting assumed importance. The first was his knowledge
about casting iron. The other was an interest
in the fuel used by the malt brewers
of Birmingham. That fuel was coke,
which is made from coal much like charcoal
is made from wood. Partial, controlled burning
gets rid of impurities, leaving the hard,
clear-burning fuel, coke. Darby knew that the coal
in Shropshire was particularly suitable
for making coke. Such were the secrets of his interest
in iron and coke together that he supposedly plugged
the keyhole of the room where he and his associates
discussed it. This is Abraham Darby’s furnace, built on the site
of an older one erected in 1638, and where generations of this famous family
succeeded him together with bench marks
of their achievements. Here Darby first succeeded in replacing charcoal by coke
for the smelting of iron. In 1709,
the first iron of quality made with anything
other than charcoal flowed out
through this opening. Iron could now be made using Britain’s apparently
limitless coal resources, rather than the severely
restricted charcoal supplies. It was the gateway
to a new Iron Age. A new dynasty
was enthroned– the ironmasters. Coalbrookdale
almost overnight became the center
of Britain’s iron industry. One of its first ironworks is still casting iron stoves
in sand molds just as it did
in the 18th century. The discovery that iron
could be smelted with coke broke the energy impasse
of centuries, and it immediately multiplied
the demand for coal. The coal mining industry
faced a problem that got progressively worse as the surface seams
were dug out and the mines were compelled
to go deeper and deeper. Water is the miner’s ancient
and most formidable enemy. With the resurgence of mining
after the Dark Ages, various pumping devices
were tried. All of them were inadequate. There was one crippling,
insurmountable difficulty. It’s hard to grasp now,
but as recently as 1700, there was nowhere in the world
any source of power for the continuous
driving of machinery other than wind, water,
or living muscle. Coal was in such demand, a solution had to be found for
getting water out of the mine. And it was found
here in Cornwall, where flooding in the tin
and copper mines was severe. It was found by that archetype
of the industrial revolution, the practical man. He was an ironmonger
named Thomas Newcomen. Newcomen lived
in Dartmouth in Devon and had a business
supplying iron tools to the miners in Cornwall. He knew of the flooding problem
in the mines and about 1700
began experimenting with a pump driven
by the newly appreciated but little understood force
of atmospheric pressure. Today a corner
of the Municipal Gardens in Dartmouth houses one of
the earliest surviving examples of a simple yet massive
individual achievement. Newcomen’s engine, the very first practical source
of mechanical energy, consists of an iron cylinder
with a piston inside. This is connected
to his famous beam, pivoted in the middle. The other end of the beam connects to a pump
down the mine. The pump and rod
outweigh the piston and so pull down
their end of the beam, bringing the piston
to the top of its cylinder, drawing in steam
from a boiler. A jet of cold water is injected
into the cylinder. The steam condenses, leaving a partial vacuum
beneath the piston. The pressure of the atmosphere
on the piston, in this case, 2 tons, instantly
forces the piston down. That lifts the other end
of the beam, and when it does,
pumps water. Newcomen’s invention was one of
the turning points in history. These are the early remains,
the skeleton, of a revolution. They give us
some small impression of his enormous achievement in, as was said at the time,
“raising water by fire.” The first steps towards
a solution to that problem had been taken by the scientists
in the 17th century. They had had no difficulty
with the theoretical aspects of atmospheric pressure, but could not
practically apply them. That was the measure
of Newcomen’s personal triumph. He was an ironmonger
trained as a blacksmith, not a scientist or engineer, but a practical man
with the insight of genius. T.E. Lawrence,
Lawrence of Arabia, said of genius, “when it happened,
it was like the flash “of the kingfisher
across the darkened pool– vivid and unmistakable.” So was it
with Newcomen’s solution to an age-old barrier
to further advance. He gave man the first
fully automatic invention since the clock, and he ushered mankind
into the modern era. For this was to be the force which powered
the Industrial Revolution. As for Newcomen himself,
no portrait of him survives. We have no idea
what he looked like. Newcomen’s first
practical engine began pumping water
from a coal mine in 1712. Within a decade,
many similar beam engines were at work in Cornwall
and all over Europe. For 50 years,
Newcomen’s atmospheric engine admitted no superior. In 1763, the instrumentmaker
at Glasgow University was asked to repair
this scale model. That instrumentmaker’s name
was James Watt. He was content
with no mere repair, but made improvements
to Newcomen’s design. One was making steam
do the work on the piston instead of the atmosphere,
as Newcomen had done. The steam engine
had been born. On the Kennet and Avon Canal
in Somerset, the oldest steam engine
in the world, still performing its task, is this one. It has been
pumping water here since Napoleon marched
to Moscow in 1812. The principle
of Newcomen’s beam survived
into the 20th century. The Cornish Engine reached
its final imperial dimensions in these massive pumps
at Kew. For more than a century,
until 1944, they supplied water
from the Thames to London. this great engine, with a piston force
of more than 100 tons, pumps 30,000 tons
of water a day. For huge pieces of machinery,
they’re remarkably quiet, gentle giants
with heavy breathing. Dinosaurs
of the industrial revolution. By the 18th century’s end, the natural forces of wind,
water, and muscle had been superceded by steam,
tireless and obedient. Wood and leather were replaced
by brass and iron. Converting the back-and-forth
action of the piston into rotary motion multiplied the application
of steam engines throughout industry. Among the first to succumb
to these new seductions were the ancient crafts
of spinning and weaving. The steam engine made
the textile counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire the hub
of a manufacturing empire with worldwide dominions. It was this mechanization
of the textile industry that many historians use
as a bench mark for the beginning
of the industrial revolution. Coal mining, too,
was radically transformed below and above ground. Steam-winding engines lowered the men, brought up the coal,
and raised productivity. Huge supplies of coal
for ironmaking became accessible
and virtually unlimited. Furnaces and foundries
spawned. Coalbrookdale itself
shook with noise and glowed with fire
day and night. The furnaces they called Bedlam
are still standing, the extinct volcanoes of
that remarkable time of upheaval in the second part
of the 18th century, about the time
the American colonists were preparing to fight for their independence
from England. All this was a scene
of amazing busyness– the furnaces blasting away
at night, the roar of their bellows, compared
to that of guns, assaulted the mind,
the eyes, the ears. One contemporary said
of Coalbrookdale then, “It needed only cerberus to make it look like
a heathen hell.” They deserved their name, as the Bedlam
of the industrial era invaded the rural quiet
of England and left
amid all the excitement an enduring,
melancholy mark. As the industrial revolution
gained momentum, the ironmasters
of Coalbrookdale were full of exuberance. There seemed no limit to what their industry
and their iron could do. It was about noon
on March 25th, 1781, after preaching in Shrewsbury
the previous evening, that John Wesley
took this walk in the Severn Valley
in Shropshire. He set out to see
the brilliant audacity of the new ironmasters. “We walked,” he wrote,
“to take a view of the new bridge
thrown across the Severn.” It’s a single arch,
100 feet broad, 52 feet high,
18 feet wide. It’s of cast iron
weighing hundreds of tons. with nothing
in the landscape to measure it by, Wesley saw it
in the classical perspectives of the ancient world and compared it
to the Colossus of Rhodes. The use of iron
for big structures was largely untried. The ironmasters kept one foot on the shore of an earlier era
for reassurance. The joints in the ironwork
are those of the carpenter, dovetails and mortises. This was the world’s
first iron bridge. Its arch of iron as sound
and as graceful 200 years later, it is the first masterpiece
of the industrial revolution. It was the progenitor
of all forms of metal bridges which followed after it. It is the first great work
of civil engineering in iron. As the pulse of the revolution
quickened throughout England, the old arteries of transport
proved inadequate. Although a canal network
had been called into being by the explosive growth
of industry, it reflected
the less urgent rhythms of rural English life. Barges could carry
heavier loads than carts
on rutted roads, but they were no faster. Canals had to keep up
with industrial engines or fall to one side. Canal managers
produced an innovation to speed loading
and unloading of barges, but in the end
it brought about their eclipse. The paths leading
from the factories and warehouses
of Coalbrookdale took many
different directions, but they gave clear leads
to the future. The idea of using
what were wooden tracks leading from this warehouse
to the water’s edge along which they wheeled
carts to the barges is not new. But as new iron
flowed from the furnaces, ironmasters
plated these channels
cut in brick with iron, plateways,
as they called them. these grooves and channels
in the paths at Coalbrookdale, now partially restored, when they were
plated with iron became
the first clear pointer to that single aspect
of the industrial revolution which had the greatest impact
on the mass of people. The first iron wheels and rails
in the world were produced
at Coalbrookdale. When they became linked
to the very early engines conceived originally
to pump water or haul coal
out of the mines, then the revolution had produced
its first popular marvel, the active, moving spirit
of the time– the railways. The railways ended the Canal Era
and horse-drawn past. A great divide
had been crossed. Thackeray wrote of it, “We who lived
before the railways “and survived
out of the ancient world are like Noah and his family
out of the Ark.” With the coming
of locomotive engines, some of the drudgery
of physical labor was lifted
from the backs of the poor. The daily circle
of contact and acquaintance was spectacularly widened. Every revolutionary liberation
has a habit of imposing
its own tyrannies. So did this one. but the spirit of exhilaration
which accompanied railways was present
from the very beginning. When, in 1825,
on the opening day of the world’s first
steam-hauled public railway from Stockton to Darlington, George Stephenson
drove his engine Locomotion I– this is an exact replica– his train pulled coal,
merchandise, and the first of a new breed
from this ark, cheering railway passengers. The railways provided a means
of distributing new things. They gave access
to a wider world for the mass and to people whose horizons
have traditionally extended little further
than their own villages. The railway mania
which gripped Britain during
the industrial revolution has left a lasting nostalgia. Once machines
were made mobile, the way was open
for mechanization of mankind’s
most unrelenting task– growing food. Mechanization grew more of it. There was
a population explosion and a general movement from the countryside
to the towns. They were changes
which produced some of the most
disturbing images of the industrial revolution. Gustave Dore’s scenes
of London life were the dark face
of the industrial revolution, but there was general
improvement in living standards. The very nature of poverty
was changed. From this grime and soot
of industrial England, one bold figure after another
stepped forward. One such was both
engineer and artist. The greatest expression
of his daring concept rests in the docks in Bristol
where he created her. When Isambard Kingdom Brunel, with that name
like a bugle call, summoned all the enthusiasms
and technologies of his time to build and launch
the Great Britain from her dock in Bristol
in July 1843, he took an imaginative stride
into the unknown and untried in the building of ships. His concept was an assembly
of things yet to be proved. They worked superbly. Great Britain
became the forerunner of all the great ships
of the modern era. Brunel had thrown the shipwright’s textbooks
overboard. He made the Great Britain twice as big
as any existing ship– 100 meters long,
3,000 tons displacement. She was the first
ocean-going ship made of iron. The plates for her
were rolled at Coalbrookdale. To make the great hull rigid, brunel conceived a new idea,
watertight bulkheads. He abandoned
the traditional paddle wheel and gave her a propeller. He had seen one small ship
driven by that principle and grasped its potential
fearlessly. On the New York run,
which she began in 1845, the Great Britain
showed speed and seaworthiness. She set new standards
of comfort and accommodation. The era of the ocean liner
had begun. But Great Britain’s triumph
was abruptly cut short. She ran aground in Ireland
on her fifth New York voyage. Her owners were ruined,
and they had to sell her. The Great Britain was put
on the Australian run, and with her sails
assisting the engine, made 32 voyages to Melbourne
in 23 years. she was used as a troopship
during the Crimean War. Later, carrying coal,
her cargo caught fire. She was towed to Port Stanley
in the Falklands and used as a store
until abandoned in 1937. In 1970,
the old ship was rescued and towed home to Bristol. Long after he was dead, therefore purged of flatteries
of contemporary judgments, it was said of Brunel that in all that constitutes
engineers in the highest sense, he had no contemporary
and no predecessor. And neither, we might say,
did his great ship. she projects the imagination
and spirit of confidence in tune with her maker
and his times. As the iron bridge
would span the world, so would the iron ship
reduce and span the oceans. Together they would
liberate millions from an ancient
parochial bondage. The Great Britain
serves as a monument to that new thinking
on an epic scale in Britain. Iron ship, iron bridge,
were connecting links which would reduce the world
to a new size. Architects and engineers
were pushing against the limitations
of iron. Cast iron, used
in the Palm House at Kew, was cheap to make, but brittle because
of its high carbon content. Wrought iron, with no carbon,
was stronger, but expensive
because of the extra work involved in making it. Everyone was looking for
an effective compromise, cheap iron,
with just a little carbon, what is now called
mild steel. But the only kind of steel
then available was unsuitable. From about 1000 B.C. onwards, bars of iron
could only be steeled by hard labor
with hammer and anvil or by roasting with charcoal
in a furnace. The secret
of melting steel, practiced in India
before the Christian Era, was unknown to the West
until 1740, when yorkshire clockmaker
Benjamin Huntsman devised the process which was to make
Sheffield steel world famous. Pieces of iron and charcoal were melted in a clay crucible
for several hours. This distributed the carbon
evenly through the molten iron, something which hammering
could not do. The result was steel of superlative hardness
and consistency. Such a bar of steel
could be made into high-quality tools
and instruments. But small ingots
of this size, the limits of huntsman’s
crucible process, could not build bridges
or railways. The art of crucible
steelmaking survives at the Abbeydale
Industrial Hamlet, now a historical museum
in the suburbs of Sheffield. When it was built in 1833, agricultural tools
turned out here, scythes and sickles, brought in harvests
all over the world. In its time,
Sheffield steel was matchless. But crucible steel of quality
was too scarce and valuable to feed the growing appetites
of the industrial revolution. That hunger
was appeased in 1856 by another famous name, Henry Bessemer. Bessemer discovered
that blowing air through molten iron
in large converters burned out
the excess carbon in a spectacular reaction. The result
was low-carbon steel, as good or better
than wrought iron, and it was cheap. The advances in steelmaking triggered by Bessemer’s
initial discovery unlocked the full energies
of the industrial revolution throughout the world. By the 19th century’s end, steel girdled the world
with railways and bridges, galvanized it with machines, and changed the profile
of cities. When the Eiffel Tower
was completed in 1889, marking the centenary
of the French Revolution, it used over 10,000 tons
of iron and steel. It was far more than
the Earth’s tallest structure, the most daring use of iron
ever attempted. It was a gesture
of renewed confidence in the onward march
of material progress. But it was
across the Atlantic, in Thomas Jefferson’s
great republic, that the mood
and technology would be caught to run away
with the world. I’m Robert Raymond,
the producer of this series. At the end of this episode
we pointed out that although
the industrial revolution began in England, it was America
which ran away with it. How did the Americans
do it? How did they take
that technology and expand its potential
to create, in effect, the standard of living
we now enjoy? Part of the answer is found
in historic sites like the Slater Mill
at Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This was the site of America’s
first cotton mill, erected here in 1793 by an Englishman
named Samuel Slater. this building
was constructed in 1810. It’s been restored
and stands today exactly as it did
nearly 200 years ago, including the water wheel
which provided power for the cotton-spinning
machinery. The archaeologist
who excavated the foundations and found fragments
of the original water wheel is Dr. Al Bartovics of North Adams State College
in Massachusetts. Dr. Bartovics has some ideas
about how mills like this helped get the American
industrial revolution going. The economic differences between the New World
and the Old World probably lie at the heart
of the differences later on in the American system
of manufacturing. At the point
where the Americans dissociated themselves
from Great Britain politically, they also closed off
a portion of the market which great Britain enjoyed, and secured it to themselves, dividing the economy
into two sectors. Differences can emerge then
in the insulated sectors of the Anglo-American economy. In America, agriculture
was expanding very rapidly and probably
lies at the heart of all of the differences
that are usually cited in the development
and application of technology. On the demand side
of the economy, there was an enormous growth
in the aggregate demand for light manufactured products which was not as rapid a growth
in Great Britain. The frontier was generating
household after household that had to supply itself with new
light manufactured goods. Another element
of this expansive agriculture would be the numbers of families
that participated in a very similar way of life,
values, and so forth. The products that were produced
by manufacturers could be narrower
in their range. The demand was for a narrower
range of manufactured items. On the supply side,
of course, is the abundance
of nearly everything. Native Americans
in this land did not exploit
with higher technology the resources that lay here
from time immemorial. But when the Anglo-Americans
got here with a much higher level
of technology, it appeared to be
a virgin land. Everything
was in great supply. People hadn’t logged off
all of the timber. As a consequence,
the fabricators of various pieces
of household technology could afford to waste
more raw materials in proportion
to labor-saving and capital-saving conditions
to their adoption of technology. In fact,
they could mechanize more little portions
of the fabrication process at the expense, of course, of raw materials
which were wasted, especially in the earliest
stages of development. The result was a greater
and broader experience with the minutia
of technology– more machines,
more people to fix machines, and a greater faith
in machinery as ultimately,
even if wasn’t so good now, perfectable. In Great Britain,
however, the notion hung on that mechanically manufactured
or fabricated items were inferior
to the human product. A great proportion
of the fabrication for that reason, among others,
continued to be handwork. A machine increased the output
of a higher-skilled worker. It didn’t reduce the process
to a bunch of little parts that needed very little skill
to execute any single piece. The whole system
that was selected for, if you wish to take an evolutionary,
ecological approach, was slightly different
in the number of functions and number of machines
present about the time of the 1851
Crystal Palace Exhibition, one of the great
world trade fairs, when it was finally noticed that the Americans did things
a little differently. Here at the Slater Mill you can see
machines at work, dating from that early period
of American industrialization. These tools
helped to make America the world’s greatest
industrial power. But even more important were the people
who worked the machines. Americans took to machines like no other people
had ever done. Dr. Patrick Malone teaches
the history of technology at Brown University
in Rhode Island. He’s director of the Slater Mill
historic site. In America, unlike Britain, there was no stigma attached
to working with machinery. The best and brightest
of American society often went into manufacturing
and engineering. Getting your hands dirty
was not shameful. Americans worked with machinery,
developing innovative skills that placed them
in a strong position in the world economy. It also seems to me that Americans
really enjoyed
using machines. Americans developed
a love for machinery. The American experience
with machines spread the concept
of mechanization. Americans made folk heroes
of men like Edison. They revered the cartoons
of Rube Goldberg, which tend to praise
mechanical complexity for its own sake. The American love
for machinery transcends economics. It’s become
an important part of our modern
American culture. In the next episode, we’ll see how
basically European technology and the uniquely American
way of doing things came together
to such remarkable effect. Out Of The Fiery Furnace
is brought to you by a company
that makes aluminum for transportation,
construction, and manufacturers
of consumer products all around your house. Captioning made possible by
Commonwealth Aluminum Captioning performed by
the National Captioning
Institute, Inc. Captions copyright 1986
Opus Films Public performance of captions
prohibited without permission of
National Captioning Institute the companion book
Out Of The Fiery Furnace by Robert Raymond is published by
the Penn State Press and is available at bookstores
throughout the country.


  • Reply Sennmut May 12, 2017 at 3:30 am

    How did the Americans do it? Good old fashioned Free Enterprise and capitalism!!!!!!!!
    Take that, socialism!!!!!!

  • Reply Stravo Lukos May 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    The audio in this episode left much to be desired. Still, what a masterpiece this series remains.

  • Reply Michael Taylor September 21, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks for making this series available, I'm really enjoying it.

  • Reply Kid Mohair January 26, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    how did americans do it?
    and the thievery of other people's productivity

  • Reply Tabubil February 18, 2019 at 5:05 am

    Whatever happened to Commonwealth Aluminum?

  • Reply ravenshireful February 24, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    What a great series, many thanks for uploading.

  • Reply Koksal Ceylan February 25, 2019 at 5:22 am

    The British plunderd,robbed the world,his own people of his welth but in return it gived Humankinde the Industial revilution,Darwin,much more.We are greatfull to you!.

  • Reply sjoormen1 February 26, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Those days are past now
    And in the past
    they must remain ..

  • Reply BunzeeBear March 12, 2019 at 12:41 am

    The AUDIO had DEAD QUIET ZONES…I thought it was my speakers kicked off as there is "NO Sound, which is eerie" Other than that, it is interesting.

  • Reply Ross Eion Tought March 19, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Who was that boring guy talking under the Slater Mill..??

  • Reply Idris Khan March 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I have re-uploaded the whole series on my channel if anybody's having trouble watching.

  • Reply Conrad Weis April 22, 2019 at 3:41 am

    A real "who's who" of British coal tinkerers.

  • Reply Meow Schwitz May 19, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Look how quickly society could better itself when Jews weren't in charge.

  • Reply J P June 9, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    These videos dont play. Uhhh might want to fix that dingus.

  • Reply Andrew Curtis June 17, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Well, I`ve watched four episodes so far and this must be one of the very best and most interesting series on Youtube.
    Thank you very much uploader. Bravo Sir!

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