West Midlands Branch Works Visit
The oldest foundry in the World
ICME West Midlands, Birmingham and Coventry Branch works visit
Martin Newby, general manager of the AGA Rayburn Coalbrookdale and Ketley sites and past branch president, recently welcomed members to a tour of the facilities at the AGA Rayburn Coalbrookdale foundry.
Foundry operations began on the site in 1709 and castings have been made without break since then; making it the oldest foundry in the world operating from the original site. There is, therefore a ‘family tree’ extending in an unbroken line from the Darby family down to the present owners.
20 members and friends attended and toured the facilities during moulding and casting. The attention to maintaining the quality of surface finish and lack of defects, required to produce the noted enamelled finish on Aga and Rayburn cookers, was very evident throughout the visit.
Many of those attending had previously visited the enamelling and finishing plant on an earlier visit. Aga cookers are not assembled at the plant but packed for despatch and hand assembled at their destination due to the size and weight.
This visit was therefore complementary to the former visit and completed the picture. It was fascinating to stand within a modern foundry and consider that 300 years earlier castings were being poured by the Darby’s on the site and that the castings for the world famous iron bridge were produced there; it encompassed the whole of the Industrial Revolution.