The 305-year-old royal patent for the original production of Aga cast iron cookware has been unearthed in the National Archives.
The patent is contained in a letter of 1707 from Queen Anne to industrial pioneer Abraham Darby, who had a foundry in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire and who played a key role in the birth of the Industrial Revolution. The patent granted Darby the exclusive right to make iron cooking pots and other forms of cookware using sand and a casting box for a period of 14 years.
The sand-mould casting method proved more efficient than using the traditional loam or clay, and also produced a better product.
The parchment document was discovered by an historian researching the history of Aga, which still uses Darby’s method of manufacture in its Coalbrookdale foundry today.
Said Aga Cookshop commercial manager Caroline Smith: “The discovery of the parchment in the National Archives comes during a year when the nation is celebrating the very best of all that is British, from its monarchy and culture to its sporting talent.
“When it was granted, this patent was intended to initiate the manufacture of high quality cast iron pots for sale in the UK market and, in time, satisfy foreign markets.”