The metal industry developed into one of the most profitable in the country from the late 18th century onwards. Exported wares increased the flow of capital into the British economy, and the iron, copper and steel industries played an important role in changes to the country’s infrastructure and in the expansion of transportation networks. By the late 18th century, the west Midlands had become one of Britain’s major industrial centres and the area became known as the ‘Black Country’ because of its landscape of foundries and furnaces. Birmingham saw its metalworking industry flourish: brass fittings, buttons, guns, nails and pins were some of the most important goods that were mass-produced.
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