The consuming power of the furnace or the rate at which it can burn the fuel supplied is measured by the number of tuyeres and their section.
Where the operation is simply one of fusion, as in the ironfounder's cupola, in which there is no very great change in volume in the materials on their descent to the tuyeres, the stack is nearly or quite straight-sided; but when, as is the case with the smelting of iron ores with limestone flux, a large proportion of volatile matter has to be removed in the process, a wall of varying inclination is used, so that the body of the furnace is formed of two dissimilar truncated cones, joined by their bases, the lower one passing downwards into a short, nearly cylindrical, position.
The space between the two cylinders serves as a heater and distributor for the blast, which is introduced through the nozzle at the bottom, and enters the furnace through a series of several small tuyeres arranged round the inner lining.
The first water-jacketed cupola which came into general use was a circular inverted cone, with a slight taper, of 36 inches diameter at the tuyeres, and composed of an outer and an inner metal shell, between which water circulated.
To meet this obstacle P. Manhes proposed elevated side tuyeres, which could be kept clear by punching through gates in a wind box.