Steel pen making: bronzing the nibs

Victorian illustration to download showing a man and a boy in a steel pen factory bronzing pen nibs in a cylindrical vessel over a fire in a brazier. The boy turns the vessel while the man stirs the nibs with a rod. This was a tempering process to make the nibs flexible. The heat gradually changes the colour of the steel from grey to bronze and then blue. This scene was sketched in Hinks, Wells & Co’s factory in Birmingham, 1851.