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Subject: Osmund iron

Osmund iron

From: Scott Odell <jsodell>
Date: Friday, March 16, 2007
Eero Ehanti <eero.ehanti [at] helsinki__fi> writes

>Does anybody have experience or knowledge about Osmund iron? The
>term refers to small wrought iron bars, which were, according to
>written sources, typical merchandise in medieval times, but it seems
>that very few examples have been found and conserved. Last summer a
>barrel containing several hundreds of small iron bars, believed to
>be Osmund iron, was lifted from a 14th century wreck-site in the
>Baltic Sea. ...

That is a very interesting find and it will be interesting to hear
of any analytical results which result.  The subject of Osmund and
Westphalian iron and related alloys used in music wire production is
touched-on in the book Martha Goodway and I co-authored many years
ago, "The Metallurgy of 17- and 18th-Century Music Wire, Pendragon
Press, Stuyvesant, NY 1987. It contains quite a lot of information
on the alloy and microstructure of iron wire samples from 17th and
18th century instruments, plus bibliographic references on early
metallurgy and wire drawing.

If not already familiar to you, to summarize, we found the wire to
be made from a high-phosphorus extremely low carbon iron alloy and
to be surprisingly strong and corrosion-resistant. This is of course
much later material than your find but if of any relevance to your
study please let me know and I will go through my files and put
together a list of other more recent publications on early iron

Scott Odell

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:46
                  Distributed: Friday, March 23, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-20-46-004
Received on Friday, 16 March, 2007

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