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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 16:49 UK

Accident that changed agriculture

Cast iron plough

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A plough made by Ransomes of Ipswich was submitted to the BBC's A History of the World project by the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

Robert Ransome set up the foundry in Ipswich in 1789, but it was a spillage of molten iron that gave the firm its revolutionary patent in 1803.

As the molten iron solidified on the workshop floor, it was noticed that it was harder where it had come into contact with colder surfaces.

'Chilled cast-iron' was born and the firm put it to use in plough shares and mass production.

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