The iron industry is of recent date in the department of the Loire, and, in fact, it was not well known in France at the beginning of the century, when the production of steel was so much below the need of consumption that during the wars of the First Empire the metal was bought at the rate of 6 francs per pound, while in England it cost only 65 centimes. To-day steel can be had in France for 50 centimes per pound. The French Government took the matter up seriously and applied itself to remedy this abnormal situation. Propositions were made to different foreign manufacturers and among others to James Jackson, an ironmaster of Lancashire, England, who, accepting the offer made to him by the French minister of commerce, came to St. Etienne in 1820 and started steel works in the vicinity. In a short time steel of a very good quality was manufactured, and later on the factory assumed large proportions under the direction of Jackson's two sons; so that it may be said that the great iron industries of the department of the Loire owe their origin to the intelligence and persevering efforts of the Jackson family.
• James Jackson, La chambre de commerce de Saint-Étienne et les industries de sa circonscription, Métallurgie, Lucien Thiollier (1891)
• James Jackson, Monographie et histoire de la ville de Saint-Étienne, Métallurgie, Victor Jannesson (1892)