There’s nothing quite as comforting as an open coal fire. The more so when it’s the sole source of heating and cooking as it was until not all that long ago. Coal fires are not without their drawbacks, however, with blowdowns, red-rimmed eyes and chronic coughs being the frequent result of the blustery weather experienced in this part of the world. Effective chimney pots were therefor always in demand and were a stable product of the mill from the beginning. Pots of every descrition were manufactured, the best known being the Bardon Mill Smoke Curer – still popular today. Unusually, this successful design was not a Bardon Mill original. It was an adaptation of the North Eastern pot, so called because it was a standard fitting of a North Eastern Railway Company property. The trouble was when it came to preventing blowdowns it didn’t! One of the brothers, Isaac, decided on a modification to correct the problem. But first he needed the exact dimensions of the North Eastern pot.
As an honest man above industrial espionage, he found a reasonably accessible example capping a wash house at the far end of the village.
Armed with a ruler, he climbed onto the roof and made the necessary measurements.
Back at the works, Isaac produced his blue print and developed a prototype. After much experimentation he arrived at the perfect solution to the blowdown problem.
Appreciation for Isaac’s efforts can be found today among the Mill’s records. Letters of thanks from people at the end of their tether, almost driven from their homes by constant smoke. The smoke Curer soon became known as the “marriage save”, preventing many wives from leaving home and families from quitting tied houses and therefore their jobs.
Strange to think that Isaac’s rooftop exploits with his ruler could have such an important social consequence.