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English industrialist stole Industrial Revolution iron technique from Black metallurgists


Coalbrookdale by Night, by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, depicts a village in Shropshire, England, that was a centre of iron smelting in 1801

World History Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

A metallurgical process that was crucial to the Industrial Revolution was invented by Black metallurgists, many of whom were enslaved – and not by British entrepreneur Henry Cort, who took the credit.

“This innovation is the basis of suspension bridges, iron ship building, textile mills,” says historian of science Jenny Bulstrode at University College London. “This innovation was in fact stolen by Henry Cort.”

Despite his importance to the …

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