Use of iron was unknown to the Indians until four thousand years back, when the rise of Indus Valley Civilization was at its zenith. People of Indus Valley civilization were passing through the period of copper and bronze.
Use of iron came to India with the advent of Aryan and since then India has been passing through the period of iron age, an era of iron implements. During the Vedic age, smithies were found in every village where blacksmiths used to melt iron-ores by their bellows and plough-shares with the help of their anvils and hammers. They smote the iron with mighty strokes while particles of fire darted up and around them. Such home-industries of iron are found even now in almost all the villages of India. Iron-ores are obtained from mines of iron-ores.
Machine Industry of Iron:
Now-a-days, most of the iron works are made by machines. Crude iron is turned into pig-iron and then into stell and stainless stell which is further shaped into various things of use. There are massive factories of iron and steel in England, France, Germany, America and Russia. Bermingham in Great Britain is famous for iron factories, where hardware from alpin and needles to massive engines and locomotives are made. In India, we have factories of iron and steel at Rourkela in Orisssa, at Vilai in M.P. and Durgapur in Bengal. Once upon a time Sri Bijayananda Pattanaik, Popularly known as Biju Pattanaik set up a factory called ‘Kalinga Tubes’ at Chowdar. That factory turned out huge quantity of steel pipes which were then highly appreciated in South-Asian countries, But now it is no more there. The ‘Charge chrome’ factory has been set up in the same place.
How iron is obtained and steel made:
Crude iron remains intermixed with a kind of stone called iron-ore which is found in iron mines. Iron-ores are lifted from the mines and carried to an iron factory where the iron-ores are melted by blast furnace. There from comes out oblong mass of smelted metal known as pig-iron. Steel is made from this pig-iron, when due proportion of carbon is added to it. Steel is made very hard when it is alloyed with a kind of metal called chromites. chromites is also used to manufacture stainless steel. Another kind of metal called vanadium is used in manufacture of hard steel. Sometimes iron sheets are galvanized by a kind of electricity produced by chemical action.
Various uses of iron:
Iron is a very useful metal. It is put to various uses. Various tools, instruments and implements are made from iron. Various kinds of furniture and cooking-utensils are also made from iron. Iron is a very strong metal So, chests and safes are made from iron. Iron is very much used in construction work. Very strong bars, rods, doors and windows are made from iron. Iron is very much used in making arms and armors. All kinds of weapons including guns, machine-guns, tanks, torpedoes and destroyers are made of iron. Iron is used in making most of our daily necessities like razors, scissors, nib, knife, needle, alpin, safety-pin, nail and pokers. many other things like lantern and umbrella need the help of iron for their manufacture. So, iron is much more useful than diamond and gold in our everyday life. Besides, iron is so cheap that even the poorest of men can buy iron implements for reaping shutting and digging.
There is a huge stock of iron under the surface of India, specially in the mines of Orissa and Chotnagpur. It is hoped that the Indians will exploit the mines in the best interest of the country.