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Carron - Crucible of Scotland

The Carron ironworks opened at Falkirk in 1759.  Using local iron ore and coal the Carron Company quickly developed a reputation for high quality cast iron and by the end of the 18th century Carron was the largest ironworks in Scotland.  The company specialised in munitions, especially cannons.  One of its most famous products was the ‘Carronade’, a cross between a cannon and a mortar.  It was used to deadly effect by the Royal Navy.  In fact the first gun fired by HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalagar was a ‘carronade’ cast by the Carron Company.

The Carron ironworks continued to supply munitions during the Crimean and Boer wars and again during the First World War. And in the Second World War over 5,000 people were employed in armaments production.

Carron also made a wide range of domestic ironwork.  Products ranged from irons and kettles to elaborate kitchen ranges.  At the start of the 20th century nearly every household in Scotland contained something made at Carron. The Carron ironworks finally closed in 1982.

The exhibition includes a large number of objects on special loan from Falkirk Museums.  On display are examples of Carron-made munitions and model cannons, a selection of moulders’ tools, decorative patterns for castings, various pieces of domestic ironwork and some beautiful cast iron grates and fire surrounds.  Particularly striking are two miniature cast iron ranges, perfect in every detail, which were produced as demonstration pieces.

The exhibition runs until 20 January.  Admission is free.