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Dudley, Dud

Dudley, Dud (1599–1684). The natural son of Edward Sutton de Dudley, the 8th baron. Whilst studying at Balliol College, Oxford, he was appointed by his father to manage the ironworks at Pensnett near Dudley (Worcs.), where the family estates had large reserves of coal and iron ore. He experimented with coal in place of charcoal in the smelting of iron ore. His father secured for him a patent for his process in 1621, renewed in 1638. He demonstrated the quality of his iron for gun-making at the Tower of London. During the Civil War, in 1645, he became the general of ordnance to Prince Maurice, one of the royalist generals. Although sentenced to death in 1648, he survived, but his business had been destroyed in his absence by local ironmasters. In 1665 he published Metallum Martis but the commercial viability of a process using coal in place of charcoal for smelting had to await the endeavours of Abraham Darby in the next century.

Ian John Ernest Keil

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