Learn about a bloomery, an ancient type of furnace that raised the temperature of fire enough to separate iron from rock, in this video from NOVA: Treasures of the Earth: Metals. With heat-resistant walls made of earth, clay, or stone, and pipes at its base, bloomeries were an important advance in smelting that enabled early iron production. A system of bellows pumped outside air through the pipes, raising the concentration of oxygen inside the furnace chamber. This reacted with the burning fuel, causing the fire to burn hotter and prompting a chemical reaction that freed the metal from other contents of its rocky ore. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.
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