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Document number: 8062
Date: 23 Mar 1860
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BESSEMER Henry
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: Acc 21537 (envelope)
Last updated: 14th November 2012

4 Queen Street Place
New Cannon Street
London March 23 1860

H. F. Talbot Esqre

Dear Sir

A few days since I received a Box of iron ore from Messrs Carpmael, <1> with a request that I would examine it with reference to its fitness for steel making

You are perhaps not aware that my process deals only with Molten crude iron after it has been obtained from the ore, we have therefore no means of testing the value of the specimens, The analysis you forward shews every fitness for the production of pig-iron of average quality, and is certainly rich enough in iron to render it a most valuable smelting material, the entire absence of Sulphur is very important, but the quantity of Phosphoric acid is a great draw back for steel making its true value for that purpose I could only determine on seeing a complete analysis of pig iron made from this ore,

My new process is in daily operation at the Works of Myself and Partners in Carlisle Street Sheffield, <2> where I should be most happy to shew it to you at any time you may happen to be in that neighbourhood.

I am Dear Sir yours most truly
H. Bessemer
for Bessemer & Longsdon

[envelope, flap embossed "Bessemer & Longsdon, No. 4 Queen Street Place, New Cannon St. London":]
H. F. Talbot Esqre Lacock Abbey


1. William Carpmael (1804-1867), patent agent & engineer, of the London firm of Carpmael & Co., was WHFT's chief agent in dealing with a number of patents. See his Correspondence.

2. Bessemer was writing from the London address where he worked with his brother-in-law, Robert Longsdon (1826-1872), who had married his sister Maria Allen in 1852. Carlisle Street, Sheffield, was where he established his works in 1858. In the Bessemer process, the impurities in molten crude were reduced by a blast of air, economically converting the mass into steel, a particularly valuable commodity in the rapidly growing technology of the 19th century. The level of phosphorus in the molten iron can be reduced by using special refractory linings, eg dolomite, in the Bessemer converter but it is hard to control.