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Please check website for opening times. Advance booking required. In 1789 Blaenavon Ironworks first harnessed the power of steam to blow air into its huge blast furnaces. A century later it was here that Sidney Gilchrist Thomas transformed the world’s steel industry by inventing a method to remove phosphorus from iron ore. The ruined furnaces are still visible today alongside the impressive remains of the foundry, cast house and water balance tower that raised wagons 80 feet into the air.