IRON is a well-known metal, whose value and uses were familiar to the people in the time of Moses. It is found in most of the countries in Europe; large quantities being obtained in the British Isles. The Dean Forest mines, in Gloucestershire, are very ancient: they were first worked by the Romans.
Iron is prepared for use in three ways : (1) Forged or wrought; (2) Cast; (3) Steel.
In the first process the iron is made red hot, which causes it to become flexible and easily bent; it is then beaten with heavy hammers into the required shapes. Articles made of wrought iron are much stronger than those made of cast iron.
In the second method the iron is melted to a liquid by intense heat, then poured into moulds of the required shape, and, when cold and set, the moulds are taken away.
The transformation of iron into steel will be spoken of in the chapter on Steel (XVI.).
1. The handles should be firmly fastened on.
2. The covers should fit tightly.
3. Iron saucepans should be made of wrought iron, lined with tin.
4. Enamelled saucepans should be made of wrought iron covered with enamel.
1. They should never be left empty on a hot stove. 2. Never be put away damp, or they quickly become rusty.
3. Space for air must be left; to ensure which they may either be placed on their sides, or with a part projecting beyond the shelf; or the shelf may be made of strips of wood, not one solid piece. The air makes them wholesome, and prevents their becoming musty.
Iron saucepans lined with enamel are excellent for milky foods, as they do not burn so quickly as the ordinary enamelled pans.
2. If used for starchy food, they should be steeped with cold water; hot water makes starchy material adhere to the pan.
3. Scrape the soot from the bottom and sides of the pan with an old knife on a piece of paper. A sooty pan does not become hot nearly so quickly as a clean one.
4. Clean the inside of the pan with a brush well soaped, and then dipped into silver sand.
5. Rinse thoroughly, first under the hot-water tap, then under the cold. The hot water removes all soap and sand; the cold takes away the smell of the soap.
6. Clean the outside in the same way, and dry with a cloth.
7. Allow the pan to stand upside down a few minutes on a warm stove, or on the rack, to become thoroughly dry before putting away.
For cleaning the covers, see Chapter XVIII (Silver And Plated Goods).