”IRON and coal,” it has been well said, “are kings of the earth”; and this ••• is true to such an extent that there is scarcely an invention claiming the reader’s attention in this book but what involves the indispensable use of these materials. Again, in their production on the large scale it will be seen that there is a mutual dependence, and that this is made possible only by means of the invention we have begun with; for without the steam engine the deep coal mines could not have the water pumped out of them,—it was indeed for this very purpose that the steam engine was originally contrived,—nor could the coal be efficiently raised without steam power. Before the steam engine came into use iron could not be produced or worked to anything like the extent attained even in the middle of the nineteenth century, for only by steam power could the blast be made effective and the rolling mill do its work. On the other hand, the steam engine required iron for its own construction, and this at once caused a notable increase in the demand for the metal. Once more, the engine itself supplies no force; for without the fuel which raises steam from the water in the boiler it is motionless and powerless, and that fuel is practically coal. In consequence of thus providing power, and also of supplying a requisite for the production of iron, coal has acquired supreme industrial importance, so that all our great trades and places of 30densest population are situated in or near coal-fields. But what we have further to say about coal may be conveniently deferred to a subsequent article, while we proceed to treat of iron, and of the contrivances in which it plays an essential part.