Wright managed to show modern industry in a way which gave it intensely poetic, quasi-religious significance. Here, the figures in a small iron-forge might almost be part of a nativity. But the birth is a material one as the molten iron is turned on a drum, driven by a tilt-hammer.The different ages of the iron-worker’s family update the old theme of the ‘ages of man’. The presence of his wife and children associate his work with domestic happiness and prosperity. In the light of the later impact of the Industrial Revolution on family and community, this is poignant.