Hardware, especially older and larger hardware of mainframe class with big metal cabinets housing relatively low-density electronics (but the term is also used of modern supercomputers). Often in the phrase big iron. Oppose silicon.

See also: dinosaur.

(01 Mar 1994)

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1. To smooth with an instrument of iron; especially, to smooth, as cloth, with a heated flatiron; sometimes used with out.

2. To shackle with irons; to fetter or handcuff. "Ironed like a malefactor."

3. To furnish or arm with iron; as, to iron a wagon.

Origin: Ironed; Ironing.

1. Of, or made of iron; consisting of iron; as, an iron bar, dust.

2. Resembling iron in colour; as, iron blackness.

3. Like iron in hardness, strength, impenetrability, power of endurance, insensibility, etc.; as:

Rude; hard; harsh; severe. "Iron years of wars and dangers." (Rowe) "Jove crushed the nations with an iron rod." (Pope)

Firm; robust; enduring; as, an iron constitution.

Inflexible; unrelenting; as, an iron will.

Not to be broken; holding or binding fast; tenacious. "Him death's iron sleep oppressed."

Iron is often used in composition, denoting made of iron, relating to iron, of or with iron; producing iron, etc.; resembling iron, literally or figuratively, in some of its properties or characteristics; as, iron-shod, iron-sheathed, iron-fisted, iron-framed, iron-handed, iron-hearted, iron foundry or iron-foundry. Iron age.

Common pyrites, or pyrite. See Pyrites. Iron sand, an iron ore in grains, usually the magnetic iron ore, formerly used to sand paper after writing. Iron scale, the thin film which on the surface of wrought iron in the process of forging. It consists essentially of the magnetic oxide of iron, Fe3O4>. Iron works, a furnace where iron is smelted, or a forge, rolling mill, or foundry, where it is made into heavy work, such as shafting, rails, cannon, merchant bar, etc.

Origin: AS. Iren, isen. See Iron.

1. <chemistry> The most common and most useful metallic element, being of almost universal occurrence, usually in the form of an oxide (as haematite, magnetite, etc), or a hydrous oxide (as limonite, turgite, etc). It is reduced on an enormous scale in three principal forms; viz, cast iron, steel, and wrought iron. Iron usually appears dark brown, from oxidation or impurity, but when pure, or an fresh surface, is a gray or white metal. It is easily oxidized (rusted) by moisture, and is attacked by many corrosive agents. Symbol Fe (Latin Ferrum). Atomic weight 55.9. Specific gravity, pure iron.86; cast iron.1. In magnetic properties, it is superior to all other substances.

The value of iron is largely due to the facility with which it can be worked. Thus, when heated it is malleable and ductile, and can be easily welded and forged at a high temperature. As cast iron, it is easily fusible; as steel, is very tough, and (when tempered) very hard and elastic. Chemically, iron is grouped with cobalt and nickel. Steel is a variety of iron containing more carbon than wrought iron, but less that cast iron. It is made either from wrought iron, by roasting in a packing of carbon (cementation) or from cast iron, by burning off the impurities in a Bessemer converter (then called Bessemer steel), or directly from the iron ore (as in the Siemens rotatory and generating furnace).

2. An instrument or utensil made of iron; chiefly in composition; as, a flatiron, a smoothing iron, etc. "My young soldier, put up your iron." (Shak)

3. Fetters; chains; handcuffs; manacles. "Four of the sufferers were left to rot in irons." (Macaulay)

4. Strength; power; firmness; inflexibility; as, to rule with a rod of iron. Bar iron. See Wrought iron (below). Bog iron, bog ore; limonite. See Bog ore, under Bog.

<chemistry> Cast iron, the purest form of iron commonly known in the arts, containing only about half of one per cent of carbon. It is made either directly from the ore, as in the Catalan forge or bloomery, or by purifying (puddling) cast iron in a reverberatory furnace or refinery. It is tough, malleable, and ductile. When formed into bars, it is called bar iron.

Origin: OE. Iren, AS. Iren, isen, isern; akin to D. Ijzer, OS. Isarn, OHG. Isarn, isan, G. Eisen, Icel. Isarn, jarn, Sw. & Dan. Jern, and perh. To E. Ice; cf. Ir. Iarann, W. Haiarn, Armor. Houarn.

(01 Mar 1998)

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