My 2xGGF was an underhand puddler!
He worked the in Staffordshire, England Iron Industry in the mid-1800s
‘Puddling was done in reverberatory furnaces in which the iron came into contact with the flame alone. These furnaces possessed two doors, through the larger of which the furnace was charged while the smaller was used by the puddler when he stirred or worked theiron.
The master puddler was helped by an under-hand and, as the work was extremely laborious, the two shifts in 24 hours worked early in the century, had been increased to three by 1839. The ‘gentleman puddler’ was among the aristocrats of the working class, a craftsman with a craftsman’s foibles. “One must have a short neck that his furnaces may work fast, another must have a long neck that it may work moderately slow” Upon the puddler depended the quality of the bar iron and the demand for puddlers was alway greater than the supply.
Each single puddling furnace took a charge of 4 1/2 cwt ., which the underhand exposed to the flame until it commenced to melt. With the appearance of his “candles” – spurts of flame as gaseous material escaped – the puddler began working the iron, opening and turning it with his rabble to facilitate the escape of impurities, if left, would blister and dirty the iron in later processes. As the iron “came to nature” it became less disturbed and it thickened, and the balling was then undertaken as quickly as possible. “An expert hand”, it was stated, “will ball it like snow”............’
From: A.H. John. The Industrial Development of South Wales 1750-1850 Merton Priory Press 1995
* 1 hundredweights = 112 pounds