By James A. Mulholland
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Additional resources for A History of Metals in Colonial America
52 Even before the Braintree furnace 31 In the Early Colonies 32 Metals in Colonial America was completed, however, the redoubtable Winthrop had petitioned for the right to erect an ironworks at Pequot (near the present site of New London, Connecticut). Growing irritation with Winthrop's management finally led to his removal in 1645, and the operations were entrusted to an Irish ironmaster, Richard Leader. Winthrop's entrepreneurial spirit was not diminished by his experience in Massachusetts; he later attempted the organization of an ironworks in the New Haven Colony.
As Vanoccio Biringuccio wrote in his Pirotechnia, first published in Venice in 1540, "Once [ores] are found . . it is necessary to assay them in order to know what is in them, since the judgment of the sight is not sufficient for recognizing the quantity or even the substance they contain. For this reason, it is necessary to come to assaying and, with the knowledge of experience, to weigh their virtues and to proceed with the work or withdraw from it and its ~xpense. "36 Written in Italian, the Pirotechnia with its fund of practical information went through four editions in twenty years, but Cyril Stanley Smith has discovered that no English translation seems to have been made before the nineteenth century.
46 His interest, coupled with a winning personality and strong connections because of the status of his family, made Winthrop the ideal person to promote the formation of an ironworks in Massachusetts. , was hard at work promoting a scheme for the creation of an iron industry in America in addition to his official duties. Few details of how this was accomplished are known, but when Winthrop returned to Massachusetts in September 1643, he left behind in England the Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England, an entrepreneurial organization created to support the manufacture of iron in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
A History of Metals in Colonial America by James A. Mulholland