Skip to Content


Shropshire Iron

A cache by DJBean Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 08/20/2010
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

A quick earthcache and dash located in the Telford services on the M54.

The cache is located at the site of a large Steam Hammer, invented by James Nasmyth, made in 1917 and used to forge large iron components for ships and railways - components that could not be forged the traditional way by blacksmith's own hands (and hammers!)

The Shropshire region has long had an association with Iron production: In 1709 Abraham Darby successfully smelted iron with coke made from coal. This was the first of many innovations in the Shropshire iron industry and helped to make Iron the essential material of the Industrial Revolution.

Smelting is a method of extracting a metal from its ore using heat and a chemical reducing agent. When an ore is mined, it is in the form of a rock, the valuable metal is bound up within and must be released, or extracted in order to be used.

Smelting involves more than just "melting the metal out of its ore". Most ores are a chemical compound of the metal with other elements, such as oxygen (as an oxide), sulfur (as a sulfide) or carbon and oxygen together (as a carbonate). To produce the metal, these compounds have to undergo a chemical reaction. Smelting therefore consists of using suitable reducing substances that will combine with those oxidizing elements to free the metal.

The first stage of extraction is to "roast" the ore in order to drive off any unwanted carbon or sulphur, leaving behind Iron oxide. In order to release the metallic iron, the iron oxide is then "smelted" in the high temperatures of a blast furnace. The reducing environment created pulls the final oxygen atoms from the raw metal, leaving behind the elemental metal, in this case, "Pig Iron".

Prior to Abraham Darby developing his method for producing pig iron in a furnace fuelled by coke, the furnace was fuelled with charcoal, a material that was not readily available and thus a limiting factor on the amounts of iron that could be produced.

Smelting iron with coke ultimately released the iron industry from the limitation imposed by the speed of growth of trees. Coke-smelted cast iron went into steam engines, bridges, and many of the inventions of the 19th century. Only with coke smelting could there be produced the great quantities of iron needed to meet the requirements of the Industrial Revolution.

In order to claim this earthcache, please email answers to the following questions, via the link in my profile;

1. What is the total weight of this steam hammer?

2. What is the height of each leg?

3. What temperature must Wrought Iron be at in order to shape it?

4. What is the melting point of Iron?

In addition, please post a photo of yourself or your GPSr in front of the hammer.

For further information about the region and its involvement in the Industrial Revolution, why not visit one of the local museums:

Happy Caching!

Congratulations to Shropshire Seekers for FTF!

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Vgf ovt, vgf erq, gbc bs gur pnecnex...pnag zvff vg!

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

Return to the Top of the Page

Reviewer notes

Use this space to describe your geocache location, container, and how it's hidden to your reviewer. If you've made changes, tell the reviewer what changes you made. The more they know, the easier it is for them to publish your geocache. This note will not be visible to the public when your geocache is published.