An iron ingot is a bar of purified metal. It has been used for thousands of years during metal processing. It is easy to handle, and it has a shape that fits well into molds for casting. People use them for a variety of purposes, from crafting weapons and armor to putting them in jewelry.
Iron isn’t the most abundant material on Earth, but it does exist in a lot of places. People mine it from the ground as a mixture of ore proper and lighter earth called gangue, which is easily washed away by water. This raw ore is then crushed and melted in a furnace called a bloomery to make spongy iron metal called wrought iron. This is then refined by folding, which mechanically homogenizes the iron and drives out impurities.
People also create wrought iron from a more cosmic source, meteoric iron, which isn’t available in huge consolidated locations like ore. But it does exist in some places, including the Middle East, where craftsmen smelted it for making tools and weaponry before many ancient civilizations had transitioned into the iron age.
In Minecraft, players can craft one iron ingot by combining five Iron Ore and one Coal Ore at a crafting workstation. It’s a pretty common item, as it’s required for several recipes. For instance, you need it to craft items like chains, which can be useful for hanging lanterns or bells from dungeon- and castle-themed builds.