The relatively small number of producers in the iron industry since the eighteenth century has facilitated the trend towards monopolistic control through associations of ironmasters. This process reached its logical culmination in the creation of the British Iron and Steel Federation of 1934. 1836, a year of vigorous railway construction, was a good year generally for the iron industry, prices being higher than in any other year in the 1830s. But in this year, for the first time, the English and Welsh ironmasters were beginning to feel the pinch of competition from the Scottish pig iron makers whose adoption of Neilson’s hot blast process was enabling them to deliver pig iron in England and Wales at prices with which local ironmasters could not compete. Hence, even in a boom year, these ironmasters found themselves forced to cut down their production.
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