The Bureau of Mines is studying cupola ironmelting technology with the objectives of conserving high-quality raw materials through substitution and increasing productivity. In the preliminary research reported here, a pilot-size cupola was modified by inserting a gas-fired melting and/or preheating chamber into the stack above the level of the coke bed, for study as a prototype for a coal-fired melting chamber. The modified cupola, in which natural gas was used to partially replace foundry coke, was evaluated in several trial runs. Data were obtained on furnace performance, metal and slag chemistry, and scrubber waters as particulates. Results of the modified operation were compared to those of conventional cupola operation. Although this research was preliminary--since the ultimate goal is to use pulverized coal instead of gas--it yielded ample evidence that the melting rate of a cupola can be significantly increased with less than a proportionate increase in energy input. Other evidence suggests that melting of low-density scrap can be enhanced and that scrap containing undesirable and/or oxidizable elements can be appreciably upgraded. This work is continuing and will include the use of pulverized coal of low rank to assist in melting.