In the late 10th century, ironworking was introduced to Greece, and thus began the Iron Age in Europe. Everything from weapons to basic armour were produced in Ancient Greece, using techniques such as hammering down the iron. As the roman empire increased the mining of iron, everyday objects began to get created, such as saucepans, spoons, and other useful household items.
The Greeks and Romans monopolised the Iron Age, as they had an abundance of iron, and had also developed the skills and craftsmanship to be able to create great weapons. It was said that the Damascus steel swords were the best around in those times. This is due to their sharp, resilient edges and toughness. Sadly, the art of creating these swords has been lost over time, and nobody can come even close to replicating them.
During the Medieval period, cast iron began to be produced in Europe, which was originally produced in China, where production was very low. During this time period, cast iron production techniques became more defined, and towards the end of the Medieval period, moving towards the beginning of the renaissance, water powered bellows heralded cast iron production, and the techniques towards the end of this era have influenced modern techniques.
The Industrial Revolution:
The 18th century saw the beginning of modern sheet metal fabrication, as the industrial revolution came into play. Cast iron was originally developed and produced by Abraham Darby, using coke for the smelting process, which meant that steel could be produced quickly and at a low cost. This produced thin and durable material at a low cost. This was the beginning of major cast iron production in Europe.
Machinery and engineering took off, the production of metal became quicker, easier and could assist to produce other objects such as steam engines.
In the modern day and looking to the future of sheet metal fabrication, the process continues to evolve from the very beginning, and contributes to our everyday lives. New developments and techniques are being put into place, which will aim to improve the overall accuracy, quality and precision of this material.