My Postcard as an Historical Artifact

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At first sight, the postcard just looks like an image of a factory and a house, but taking a deeper look provides a lot more infomation for the viewer. There is great information depicted from the image of the factory alone. The front of the postcard shows the blasting furnaces used to produce iron, and some of the nearby houses. The back of the postcard helps the viewer determine the publisher and manufacturer of the postcard. Looking analytically at the front of the postcard allows one to notice the significance of the image. The front of the postcard has a big image and the only writing on this side of the card is the name of the location. One can infer that the location in question “ Eglinton Iron Work, Kilwinning”, is a very reputable site in Scotland. With this information alongside the name of the location, quality research on the history and importance of Eglinton Iron Works could commence. 

In 1846, Eglinton Iron Works was established by William Baird & Sons of Lanarkshire. The site covered 70 acres and produced up to 100,000 tons of iron per year; This created thousands of jobs in Kilwinning (Hannay 2018). The lucrative Iron business enticed people from all over Scotland to relocate Kilwinning due to the increase of job opportunities and the chance to start afresh in a town that was just growing. Alongside the opening of Eglinton Iron works, other reputable companies began to open up (Mackeely 2019). The Pringle Knitwear company founded by Robert Pringle, alongside Wilson’s Foods, also provided huge amounts of jobs in the town of Kilwinning (Crawford & Furnevel 2018). The rise of jobs helped boost the economy of Kilwinning, allowing the city to do things such as open up schools, increase real estate, open hospitals, and start sporting clubs. When steelmaking began in the 1880s, Baird & Sons failed to change to the new processes, and the business gradually declined, closing in 1926 (Mackeely 2019). Although the Iron Works closed, it gave way to many successes. Tourists from all around the world venture to Kilwinning to tour the Iron Works and the many other establishments that were the products of Eglinton Iron works in its glory days. This postcard is most definitely a historical artifact because it represents much more than just a factory; it represents the emergence of Eglinton as a tourist destination. The location of the factory alone gives much historical context about Kilwinning and prompts viewers to research further, to which one would uncover the remarkable history behind the Iron Works.

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