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Sons of Vulcan
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Social History
Publication Date
30 June 2009
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
Colour throughout

Sons of Vulcan

Ironworkers and Steelmen of Scotland
by Robert Duncan - Find out more about the author

'With a period spanning over 300 years, to produce a work in which the lives and times of the workforce of the Scottish iron and steel industry are so meticulously detailed is a commendable achievement,' - Scottish Labour History

This is the first substantial history of iron and steel workers in Scotland, covering over 300 years of labor and working conditions in heavy industry. It focuses on the men and boys who mastered heat and fire to make and shape iron in furnaces, forges, mills and foundries before, during, and after the industrial revolution. The second part of the book concentrates on working lives in steel production from the beginning of the industry in the 1870s until its demise in the 1990s. Themes include skill and changing technology, master worker relations and conflict, and trade union responses. There are profiles and case studies of key workers: iron smelters, steel melters, iron puddlers, rollers and moulders.

This lavishly illustrated, informative account of working lives in two of Scotland’s most important industries is based on a wide range of published work and primary sources, and uses personal testimony of workers, diaries, biographies, and interviews to give voice to direct experience of work and struggle. This book is a companion volume to the same author’s acclaimed study, The Mineworkers, published by Birlinn in 2005.

Robert Duncan was raised in Forres and studied at the universities of Aberdeen and Warwick. He is author of several publications on labour and social history, and from 1980 to 2007 was tutor organiser and workplace learning verifier with the Workers Educational Association in Scotland.