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The Iconic Bessemer Converter get a facelift!

Posted on by Website Administrator

The iconic Bessemer Converter is currently being restored and re-painted due to a grant we received from the Prism Fund.

The Bessemer was last painted back in 2008 by Forge Master apprentices, however it hasn’t weathered well due to a matt finish paint being used as well as it being the local hotspot for nearby pigeons.

The Bessemer, which has been on display outside the museum since 1982, currently has an open top and in 2016 our conservation engineering team fed an endescope camera into the Bessemer and estimated by volume there was approximately 2 tonnes of bird related waste inside. Due to the open top, the waste had been dampened by rainwater and as a result the water often wept out of the joining around the bottom.

The unusual waste needed removing before the renovation could take place.

Before the bottom of the Bessemer could be dropped a 6mm hole was drilled into the bottom through an old drain plug that couldn’t be removed. The hole acted as a tap to release any excess water from the Bessemer before the waste could be emptied. The water continued to flow out of the hole for the rest of the day and was still dripping the following morning.

On Wednesday 5 April 2017 the bottom of the Bessemer was lowered with two fork lift trucks so the waste could be removed.  

Bessemer Waste Removal

The waste was over two feet deep at the rear of the Bessemer and one foot deep at the front. Due to the bottom of the Bessemer acting like a dish, the waste was deeper than it looks in the above picture.

The old bolts had to be removed a couple at a time a few weeks prior to the clean up, they were then greased for easy removal.

The above picture shows our conservation engineers dressed in level three bio hazard overalls, FFp3 dust masks, safety glasses and chemical resistant gloves, as they removed 2.6 tonnes of bird waste into 88 bags and lifted them into a skip for removal from the site. After the bird related waste has been removed, the rim of the Bessemer was cleaned and the bottom was refitted using the old bolts.

All four lifts of scaffold are now up and will be wrapped in polythene when complete so dust from the grit blasting cannot escape.

Grit blasting will take place on the week commencing the 17 April which followed by painting will take approximately 3 weeks.

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