Saltford Brass Mill Project
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Annealing Furnace
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The Saltford annealing furnace displays the characteristics of furnaces developed by the brass company in the 18th Century which enabled the brass to be subjected to a uniform heat generated from coal, while being protected from the sulphurous fumes released from the coal that had the potential to embrittle the metal.

Saltford Mill housed four annealing furnaces, two serving the rolling mill and one each serving the battery mills. Only one of these furnaces survive. To read more about the annealing furnace at Saltford Mill, click on the icons below:

Saltford Brass Mill retains the shell of an annealing furnace.

Annealing furnaces would have been a feature of the brass mills at Keynsham, Weston, Woollard, Bitton and Kelston, as well as at Saltford. The remains of these once common structures can be seen at Kelston and Saltford, with Saltford being the only one open to the public.

The brass produced in Bristol was malleable and ductile, enabling it to be ‘cold worked’, i.e. rolled into sheets or hammered into ‘hollowware’ while at room temperature. However, excessive cold working broke down its grain structure, making the metal brittle which caused it to crack if worked further.  To enable continued working, the brass needed to be annealed, that is heated to between 500o and 600o C to allow the grain structure to reform and restore its malleability.  The annealing furnaces provided a controlled heated environment to perform this process.

The Saltford Brass Annealing Furnace
Historical Metallurgical Society
1979
The Bristol Brass Industry: Furnace Structures and their remains
Historical Metallurgical Society
1988