Abraham Darby (c.1678-1717) is regarded as the English iron-master because he was the first to use coke successfully in the smelting of iron, revolutionizing the production of steel. By 1700, there was a wood fuel scarcity that limited supplies of charcoal, the primary fuel used for metal-making. Darby’s successful introduction of coal as a substitute for charcoal in 1709 circumvented this shortage and is seen as a major contributor to the future success of the British Industrial Revolution. Darby improved the science and techniques of brass production and helped turn Great Britain into an important brass goods exporter. Darby founded the world's first metallurgy laboratory at his Baptist Mills Brass Works factory, where he refined brass making.
Cutler J. Cleveland (Lead Author);Tom Lawrence (Topic Editor) "Darby, Abraham". In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth August 24, 2008; Last revised Date August 24, 2008; Retrieved May 22, 2013 <http://www.eoearth.org/article/Darby,_Abraham>