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Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell (1816–1904) was a leading metallurgist and industrialist who served as president of both the Iron and Steel Institute and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He combined business skills with scientific expertise and was recognised as a world authority on blast furnace technology. His major works reveal both technical know-how and commercial awareness, and show that he was conscious of the threat to Britain's early lead in industrialisation from foreign competition. He supported free trade, and believed that British industry needed a firm scientific base in order to maintain its global position. Although his posthumous reputation has been eclipsed by that of his contemporaries, he was highly respected in his lifetime, receiving a baronetcy in 1885 for his contribution to industry. This book was first published in 1884 and deals with the economics of iron production in Britain and abroad as well as the processes themselves.