By James A. Mulholland
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Additional resources for A History of Metals in Colonial America
47 After a careful survey of available sites, Winthrop decided upon a location in Braintree near good ore and with ample timber for charcoal. In early 1644, the building of a furnace was begun, and Winthrop petitioned the General Court for monopoly rights. 48 These were effectively granted for a term of twenty-one years at the session of March 7, 1643-44, with the provision "that within two yeares they make sufficient iron for the use of the country. "49 The words of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony introduced a new element in the evolution of metal technologies in America.
Yet for this sustenance, tools and other metal artifacts were needed. Iron axes were needed for felling trees and shaping wood to build houses, iron hooks and lead sinkers for catching fish, steel knives for trapping, and kettles and pots for cooking. Without reservation, the new utopians subscribed to More's adage that man, even in harmony with God, could not live without iron. Initially, the company devoted much effort to supplying the basic material needs. During its first year, shipments to the colony included a broad range of metal artifacts, such as arms, ordnance, a wide variety of tools, and even household utensils.
Courtesy, The Smithsonian Institution) he had no reservations about iron. "I am no Alchymist, nor will promise more than I know: which is, Who will undertake the rectifying of an Iron forge, . . " That undertaking was not far in the future. 34 In the years after the founding of Jamestown several colonizing ventures were attempted in the New England region. A small trading settlement on the coast of present-day Maine foundered in 1608 after a brief existence. Others at Wessagusett and Cape Ann suffered the same fate.