Peter Tarr: (Satellite
Buckhorn Iron: (I could not determine the location)
I'm beginning to move information concerning a blast furnace to their own notes and turn this post into an overview of old blast furnaces. I'm going to try to order them roughly according to the iron belt that ran from New Jersey to Alabama.
I've promoted the Buckhorn and Peter Tarr Furnaces to the top of these notes because Buckhorn has a photo showing what a typical blast furnace looked like when it was operational and the Peter Tarr Furnace was the first iron furnace west of the Alleghenies.
Buckhorn Iron Furnace
Mike Delaney posted
two images with the comment:
Buckhorn Iron Furnace remains, Hanging Rock Iron District, SE Ohio. From a trip to the region in Early January 2019. Many of the Early Michigan iron furnaces where of the same basic design. This district in Ohio was a major Iron producer from the 1830's until after the Civil War. Iron ore was mines from Limestone formations and also Bog Iron ore from nearby swamps and Bogs. I think we hit about 17 iron furnace sites on a three day trip. The number of iron smelting furnaces in this district of Ohio and Eastern Kentucky number from 85 to more than 100 depending on the sources of info. What made this furnace kind of an exciting find was from the mouth of this abandoned furnace came the pig iron that was re-melted in an east coast foundry and cast into the two 11" bore 16,000lb iron Dahlgren Guns mounted on the USS Monitor ironclad that dueled the CSS Virginia(Merrimack) during the civil war. Much of the Unions iron resources came from this district. This one made my day. Found a small piece of pig iron here. Second photo is the Buckhorn in better days.
Otis Aldridge Jr.: Did you visit Buckeye Furnace State Memorial? [see the "Buckeye Furnace" heading below] It is a complete reproduction including some company buildings.
Mike Delaney: Otis Aldridge Jr. Yes we did. Very well done. The one at the Vesuvius Furnace was as well.
Michael Maitland: How did they load the Monitor guns, presume they had to retract the guns into the turret and then crane load a shell.
Mike Delaney: Michael Maitland The guns retracted into the turret and the gun ports closed to protect the turret crew while loading. They were muzzle loaded.
[This explains so much about how they were operated. I'm going to have to look for a nearby hill when I visit BF ruins.]
Update: A reader found this furnace in Section 9 of this map
and pointed me to this topo map.
|1961 Pedro Quadrangle @ 1:24,000|
So it is north of the creek and west of the road. It appears to be lost in vegetation from the perspective of a satellite.
Peter Tarr Furnace
Rob Lucas posted
three photos with the comment: "King's Creek near Weirton, West Virginia"
Kyle McGrogan: I'd love to see the original archaeology on that furnace, as it is small by even 18th Century Virginia frontier furnaces in the eastern Panhandle....!
Fortunately, I was able to determine the location of the Peter Tarr Furnace. Since it was close to Kings Creek Road, I got my own view of the furnace to show that it is built near a hill.
Please read the two historical plaques that Rob posted. Much of the Google search results are covered by those plaques.
"The furnace has two tuyeres, the blast entry facing the river. The bellows system was probably located where the road currently lies. The main tapping tuyere is smaller than typically seen and constructed with a rounded arch." [OldIndustry
] It sounds like the bellows system was probably water powered.
Peter Tarr was able to produce about 2 tons per day. "Of...interest is the fact that the chimney, or stack, is circular in dimension. Most other furnaces of the period and area had square or rectangular chimneys." [WayMarking
James Tarr posted
4 great ,grandfather
sold the foundry to the Weir Brothers
that was the start of the Weirton Steel Co.
I'm glad I pursued Otis' comment on Mike's post
about the Buckeye Furnace because it has the original stack and it is another example of how the stack is built next to a hill so that a level building can be used to house the loading of the furnace. Like Buckhorn Iron, this furnace is also in Ohio's Hanging Rock Iron Region. "While several iron furnaces remain, Buckeye’s reconstructed furnace is the only one that, except for the trees that have grown since closing, is much as it was when it was operating." [OhioHistory
Something went wrong with Street View and I could not get a closer view of this side. This makes me appreciate what a good job Street View normally does. This view shows that this furnace was also built near a hillside so that a level building could be built to load the furnace.
"The furnace, with an 11-foot bosh, initially produced 7½ tons of iron per day, operating 42 weeks out of the year. 3 The stack was later raised to 34-feet in height to increase daily output to 12 tons of iron per day."
[This page also has photos of the preserved boiler and drone exterior view photos. And it has some photos of a different Buckhorn Furnace.]
Another view of the upper loading building and the lower casting building.
Abandoned posted two photos with the comment:
The LaGrange Furnace in Lawrence County, Ohio is one of many 1800s-era blast furnaces that produced pig iron, which was used to build armaments for the Civil War, hulls for the Monitor and Merrimac ships, kettles and pots, tools, and wagon wheels, among many other uses. The LaGrange Furnace was constructed in 1836 and had a daily capacity of seven tons of pig iron per day. It last operated in 1856 because of the scarcity of one of its ingredients: timber.
: Wide swathes of Lawrence and adjacent counties were all but deforested because of the appetite furnaces had for charcoal.
with the comment: "Before modern-day steel mills, we had these simpler pig iron blast furnaces. My hometown is centered in the Hanging Rock Iron Region and was once the center of the iron production industry for the United States. It's off of route 93 at 38.56930259758824, -82.67699804144695."
"LaGrange Furnace is built against a short hill. If you climb the hill behind the stack, you will find the evidence of the railroad that passed through the area, shipping the iron back to Ironton." [OldIndustry
Richard Peoples posted
three photos with the comment: "On KY State Route 773 in Denton, KY. There are a few of these around this area of eastern KY, but none in as good condition as this one. Almost looks like it could resume making iron with a little rehab work ."
[Not only is it built near a hill, it is built a little way into the hill.]
|Dennis DeBruler commented on Richard's post|
Using Google Earth so that I can get an image without the leaves.
|Dennis DeBruler commented on Richard's post|
HAER calls this the Mount Savage Iron Furnace. This is one of seven photos. This was the photo that allowed me to find the furnace in the trees of the satellite image.
|Dennis DeBruler commented on Richard's post|
Your second photo confirms that this furnace was built next to a hill. I've learned that they used a hill so that they could put a covered walkway to the top of the furnace to make it easier to dump material into the furnace. This image is one of the better depictions I've seen of how these old furnaces were used.
Artistic rendering by Richard Schlecht, National Park Service via 30daysOfKentuckyArchaeology.
Richard Peoples: Dennis DeBruler All the other ones down here are also built against hills.
Initially, I could not find it on a satellite image. So I did a Google search to see if I could find an address. I did not find an address, but I finally found this furnace. And I found another furnace in eastern Kentucky.
|1860-1884 Boone Furnace HAER, the only photo|
Phillip Claxon posted
two photos with a silly comment.Richard Peoples
: KY Route 773, Denton, KY. Not too far from where I live in Ashland.
Cory James: Thats a MacIntyre furnace . We have a huge one here in the Adirondacks in an abandoned town called tahaws
I knew the iron ore belt that went from Massachusetts to Alabama went through Kentucky. But I did not know that it reached over into Illinois.
|Randall Smith commented on Phillip's post|
Here's one in Hardin County, IL.
Mill Creek Furnace near Youngstown, OH
|Greg Cadman posted, cropped|
Youngstown Ohio. Early iron
This one was built into the side of the hill
1840-1850 & 1856-1861 & 1879-1880 Illinois Furnace
|Steve Conro Photo via LandmarkHunter|
The Illinois Iron Furnace is the only remaining iron furnace structure in the state of Illinois. Iron was manufactured at the Illinois Furnace by the charcoal blast method. The furnace was built on a dry laid limestone foundation. The exterior of the furnace was manufactured of large limestone blocks quarried near the town of Cave-In-Rock. The interior wall, or lining, was constructed of firebrick from Pennsylvania. The space between the interior and exterior walls was filled with sandstone. Wrought iron binders were placed through the stonework and tightened to secure the walls. All of the stonework was dry laid to allow for expansion when the furnace was in blast.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 1973, Reference number 73000704
[It is tagged as built in 1837, but IllinoisOzarks indicates that construction started in 1839 and that it was "blown in" in 1840.]
When I zoomed out, I realized that Hogthief Creek was a branch off Big Creek. The furnace is indeed labelled "Illinois Furnace." In addition to iron ore, trees and limestone were available in the area.
|1916 Equality and Golconda Quads @ 1:62,500|
"The blast furnace resembled a cut-off pyramid, twenty-six feet square at the base, thirty-two feet high, and twenty-two feet square at the top. Nearby Big Creek was dammed and a millstream dug to the furnace to operate the bellows." It was a short ox-cart trip to the main transportation artery in the Midwest, the Ohio River. The furnace operated from 1840-1850. In 1856, new ownership enlarged it and added a blast to it. This company ran until 1861. It is interesting that it did not run during the Civil War because there as a big demand for iron during the war. Another owner tried running it during 1879-80. But by then all of the nearby timber had been consumed and they had to ship in coke to burn in the furnace. The poor grade of the iron ore and the extra cost of shipping in coke made this operation unprofitable. There was a town here to support the workmen, and by 1846 it had its own post office. All remnants of the town is gone. [Todd Carr via IllinoisOzarks
] (The reason it was closed during the war was a lack of manpower. "It came to life, again, in 1872 though was used only sporadically until 1883." The current structure was built in 1967. The original furnace was partially dismantled in the 1930s to supply rock for bridge abutments. [hmdg
|There was also a Martha B. Furnace, but good luck trying to follow the directions in a comment on this photo.|
|Giles Gilley posted|
Old iron ore furnace in Va. We have several still standing