This ironsand smelter at Te Hēnui, near New Plymouth, was built in 1874 by Edward Metcalf Smith. Smith doggedly overcame clogging problems, first by manufacturing an artificial ore. Test castings of his iron produced rail wagon wheels, rifle parts, tools, and two ornamental plates showing Napoleon crossing the Alps. The first successful smelting took place in 1876.
In 1883, however, operations ended abruptly when the metal cooled in the furnace. In the 1990s house-building on the site unearthed the 10-tonne block of steel, complete with embedded bricks, from this unfortunate accident.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.