The production of pig iron, munitions, and tools in the Between Rivers, Green River, Hanging Rock, Red River, and Rolling Fork Iron Regions in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, as well as other regions of the United States, was facilitated by the availability of charcoal timber, iron ore, and limestone as raw materials for the furnaces.
The production of pig iron, munitions, and tools in the Between Rivers, Green River, Hanging Rock, Red River, and Rolling Fork Iron Regions in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, as well as other regions of the United States, was facilitated by the availability of charcoal timber, iron ore, and limestone as raw materials for the furnaces.
Hanging Rock Iron Region
The Hanging Rock Iron Region in southern Ohio, northeastern Kentucky, and western West Virginia was an important producer of iron between 1818 and 1916, which was renowned for its corrosion-resistant properties. 20 By 1875, southeastern Ohio had become the leading producer of pig iron in the United States, with the iron being utilized in the production of weapons for the Civil War, the construction of the Monitor and Merrimac ships, as well as in the manufacture of household items such as pots, kettles, and tools, and in the production of wagon wheels.
To power the furnaces, forests were frequently cleared, and the wood was transformed into charcoal. 20 29 Each ton of iron required 190 bushels of charcoal, three tons of iron ore, and 300 pounds of limestone. These ingredients were poured into the top of the furnace and ignited with charcoal. Air was blown into the firepot through openings known as tuyeres on either side of the furnace. When heated to the correct temperature, the iron ore and limestone melted, and impurities in the mixture rose to the top, forming a glassy waste product called slag. The molten iron then flowed out of throare hearth and into pig iron molds, where it was cooled and solidified.
The earliest method of producing iron using the cold blast involved a small engine located at the base of the stack, which provided enough air to produce one ton of iron daily. 32 In 1837, the hot blast method was introduced and first implemented at Vesuvius Furnace by various furnace owners. This method utilized tuyere arches with cast iron tubes to direct hot air into the hearth. 33 The hot blast was powered by a steam engine, fueled by multiple boilers, which drove a blast cylinder to force air through the system. An iron regulator controlled the airflow from the reciprocating cylinder before the air was sent through a series of pipes to be heated to approximately 700° F by the boilers. The hot air entered the blast furnace through two large water-cooled nozzles known as tuyeres.
William Firmstone was chosen to implement the hot blast process at Vesuvius. Hurd, Gould & Company funded the endeavor, but in the event that the experiment was unsuccessful, the financial burden would be shared among all involved parties. The hot blast trial was highly successful and revolutionized the production of pig iron.
John Campbell experimented with the utilization of waste gas to drive further efficiency at Mt. Vernon Furnace in 1841. 32 Campbell installed boilers at the tunnel head of the furnace stack, applying the waste gas to the steam production. Other charcoal furnaces later adopted the process in the region.
In 1856, Diamond Furnace became the first facility in the Hanging Rock region to convert from charcoal as fuel to bituminous coal. 32 Others were slow to change, with Belfont Iron Works in Lawrence County only converting in 1867.
In the early years, oxen hauled the iron by wagon from the furnaces to docks along the Ohio River. 20 Once loaded, the iron was taken to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Demand during the Civil War was so great that charcoal was often loaded onto wagons before it had cooled, and occasionally the hot coals would set the wagons on fire. The Iron Railway was constructed between 1849 and 1851 to serve furnaces along a 13-mile stretch north of Ironton, which later became a part of the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad.
Unfortunately, many of the furnaces were not operated at scale, were mismanaged, and/or had high transportation and labor costs. Additionally, iron ore from the Hanging Rock Iron Region had high sulfur content which resulted in yields in the 35-50% range. 3 By 1870, iron from the Mesawabi Iron Region was yielding 65% with much lower transportation costs because of large ore carriers that could traverse the Great Lakes which were then offloaded to awaiting railcars. railroads. By the 1900s, most of the furnaces were idled or blown out. It was predicted that iron ore in the Hanging Rock Iron Region would last for 2,700 years but the last of the primitive blast furnaces closed in 1916. 20
|Furnace||Region||State||First Blast||Last Blast||Condition|
|Aetna Furnace||Green River||Kentucky||1816||c. 1850s||Demolished|
|Airdrie Furnace||Green River||Kentucky||1855||Intact|
|Alice and Blanche Furnaces||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1875||Demolished|
|Amanda Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1829||1854||Demolished|
|Amanda Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1963||2015||Demolished|
|Argillite Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1818||1837||Demolished|
|Ashland Furnace No. 1||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1869||Demolished|
|Ashland Furnace No. 2||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1887||1962||Demolished|
|Beaver Dam Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1819||1870-73||Demolished|
|Belfont Iron Works||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1867||Demolished|
|Bellefonte Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1826||1893||Demolished|
|Bellefonte Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1942||1994||Demolished|
|Belmont Furnace||Rolling Fork||Kentucky||1844||Intact|
|Big Sand Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854|
|Bloom Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||Demolished|
|Boone Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1857||March 1871||Intact|
|Briar Hill Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1847||Demolished|
|Brush Creek Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1811|
|Buckeye Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1851||1894||Intact (Museum)|
|Buckhorn Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1833/36||c. 1899||Intact|
|Buena Vista Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1847||1876||Demolished|
|Buffalo Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1851||1875||Intact (Park)|
|Burgess Steel & Iron Works||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1899||1980||Demolished|
|Cambria Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1854||1878|
|Camp Branch Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||c. 1819-29||Demolished|
|Caney Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1838||1858||Demolished|
|Caroline Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1833||1890||Demolished|
|Center Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1836|
|Center Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1852||1912||Demolished|
|Clear Creek/Bath Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1839||1875||Intact (Park)|
|Clinton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1832||c. 1867||Demolished|
|Clinton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1832||Demolished|
|Cottage Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1854||1879||Intact (Park)|
|Crittenden Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1847||Demolished|
|Curtis Creek Furnace||Maryland||1759||1851||Demolished|
|Dillon Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1819-29||Demolished|
|Dover Furnace||Ohio||c. 1859||Demolished|
|Eagle Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1852||Partly Demolished|
|Eddyville Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1932||c. 1850||Demolished|
|Eliza Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1877||1890||Demolished|
|Empire Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1843||1861||Demolished|
|Empire Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1847|
|Enterprise Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1826||1833||Demolished|
|Estill Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1830||1874||Intact|
|Etna Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1832||1887||Intact|
|Etna, Ironton, and Lawrence Furnaces||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1899, 1909-10||Demolished|
|Fitchburg Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1869||1873||Intact (Park)|
|Five Mile Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1855|
|Franklin Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1827||1860||Demolished|
|Fulton Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1845||Demolished|
|Fulton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1865||Demolished|
|Gallia Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1847||Demolished|
|Gerard Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1854||1858||Demolished|
|Globe Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1832||1841||Demolished|
|Globe Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1872||1960||Demolished|
|Grand Rivers Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1890-91||1921||Demolished|
|Grant Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1869||Demolished|
|Greenup/Honeywell Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1844||Demolished|
|Hamden Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||Demolished|
|Hamilton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||Demolished|
|Harrison Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1853||1872||Demolished|
|Hecla Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1833||1915||Demolished|
|Henry Clay Furnace||Green River||Kentucky||1832||1837||Demolished|
|Hocking Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1852||Demolished|
|Hope Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||1875||Intact (Park)|
|Hopewell Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1833||1844||Demolished|
|Hopewell Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1848||1859||Demolished|
|Howard Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1853||Intact|
|Hunnewell Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1845||1885/89||Intact|
|Huron Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1873||c. 1883||Demolished|
|Hurricane Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1853||Demolished|
|Iron Hills Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1873||1880||Demolished|
|Iron Valley/Lincoln/Cornelia Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1853||1885|
|Ironton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1875||Demolished|
|Jackson Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1836||1874||Demolished|
|Jefferson Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||Demolished|
|JISCO Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1908||1969||Demolished|
|Junior Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1828||1876||Demolished|
|Kenton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1856||Demolished|
|Keystone Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1848||1885||Intact|
|LaGrange Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1836||1856||Intact|
|Latrobe Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||1885||Demolished|
|Laura Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1855||1872||Demolished|
|Laurel Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1849||1874||Intact|
|Lawrence Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1834||Demolished|
|Limestone Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||c. 1860s||Intact (Park)|
|Logan Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1853||Demolished|
|Lonaconing Furnace||Maryland||1839||1855||Intact (Park)|
|Madison Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||Intact|
|Mammoth Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1845||1874||Intact|
|Marble Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1816||1836||Demolished|
|Mary Ann Furnace||Ohio||1815||1850||Demolished|
|Mill Creek Furnace||Ohio||1835||1855||Intact (Park)|
|Milton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1873||1923||Demolished|
|Monitor Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1868||Demolished|
|Monroe Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||1880s|
|Mt. Vernon Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1833|
|Mt. Savage Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1848||1880||Intact|
|Nelson Furnace||Rolling Fork||Kentucky||1834||Intact|
|New Hampshire Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1846||1854||Intact (Park)|
|Nolin Furnace||Green River||Kentucky||1848||1850||Intact|
|Norton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1873||1964||Demolished|
|Oak Ridge Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1857||1859||Intact|
|Oakland Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1834|
|Ohio Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1825||1882||Intact|
|Old Steam Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1825|
|Old Steam Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1816||1826||Demolished|
|Olive Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1846||1915||Intact (Park)|
|Ophir Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1874||Demolished|
|Orange Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1864||1873||Demolished|
|Pactolus Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1824||1833-34||Demolished|
|Paint Creek Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1812||Demolished|
|Pennsylvania Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1845||1881||Demolished|
|Pine Grove Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1828||1831||Demolished|
|Pine Grove Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||Intact|
|Pioneer Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1857||1870s|
|Pioneer Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1882||1884||Demolished|
|Princess Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1877||1878||Demolished|
|Racoon Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1833||1884||Intact|
|Richland Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||Intact|
|Roaring Run Furnace||Virginia||1832||1861||Intact|
|Salt Lick/Gideon/Diamond Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||1867||Demolished|
|Salt River Furnace||Rolling Fork||Kentucky||1832||1853/1870||Intact|
|Sandy Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1853||1854||Intact|
|Sarah Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1877||Demolished|
|Scioto Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1828||1892||Demolished|
|Slate Furnace||Red River||Kentucky||1791||1838||Intact (Park)|
|Stacker Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1846||1856||Demolished|
|Star Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1848||1874||Demolished|
|Star Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1866||1923||Demolished|
|Steam Furnace||Hanging Rock||Kentucky||1824||1860||Demolished|
|Steam Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1815||Demolished|
|Suwanee Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1851||1857||Demolished|
|Trigg Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1871||1878||Demolished|
|Triumph Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||Never Built|
|Tropic Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1873||1896||Demolished|
|Underwood Furnace||Between Rivers||Kentucky||1846-47||1848||Demolished|
|Union Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1826||1852||Demolished|
|Vesuvius Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1836||1905||Intact (Park)|
|Vinton Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1854||1880||Intact|
|Volcano Steam Furnace||Ohio||1855||Demolished|
|Washington Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1853|
|Wellston Furnaces||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1875||1923||Demolished|
|Young America Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1856||1860||Demolished|
|Zaleski Furnace||Hanging Rock||Ohio||1868||Demolished|
Aetna Furnace was constructed in 1816 by Charles Wilkins, Ruggles Whiting, and Jacob Holderman with 10,500 acres of landholdings in the Green River Iron Region near Magnolia in Hart County, Kentucky. 16 It was the first iron furnace established in the western half of the state The furnace operated under the partnership until 1826, when Holderman became the sole owner. Aetna Furnace’s last blast was in the 1850s.
Airdrie Furnace is located in the Green River Iron Region in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, and was built in 1855 or 1857 by Robert Alexander, a Kentucky-born descendant of a titled Scottish family. 16 51 Alexander had acquired 17,000 acres of land along the Green River, where a large deposit of iron ore had been discovered. He brought over a number of miners and furnace tenders from Scotland to help develop the area, and who built houses and erected an iron shell stack that was 48 feet high with a bosh 15½ feet wide, along with an adjoining three-story building to house the machinery for the furnace blast and rolling mills. Fueled by bituminous coal from the Airdrie bed, its air blast was powered by steam.
Despite its construction, the furnace was unable to produce any saleable iron. 16 51 The Scottish workers were unfamiliar with domestic metallurgical practices as the ore required a different treatment than that found in Scotland. After spending more than $300,000, Alexander abandoned the project and retired to a farm in Woodford County. The planned industrial city of Airdrie, named after Alexander’s Scottish hometown, soon fell into ruins.
Directions: Airdrie Furnace is located in Paradise in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
Akron Furnace was constructed by Tod, Rhodes, and others in 1840 near Rawson’s Mill in Summit County, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack 36 feet in height with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 1850, it produced 1,000 tons of iron.
Alice and Blanche Furnaces
The Etna Iron Works Company built the Alice and Blanche Furnaces in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Ironton, Ohio. 3 5 32 Alice Furnace was named for the daughter of George Willard while Blanche Furnace was named for Blanche McGovney. Blanche was alternately known as the Big Etna Furnace. The furnaces were also known as the Ferrie Patent Self-Coking Furnaces. Together, they were built with 3 million red bricks and lined with 1.5 million firebricks and boasted stacks that reached 86 feet in height. Together, they had a daily production capacity of 75 tons using locally sourced iron or 100 tons when using ore from the Lake Superior region.
Financial complications and a worn out hearth led to the idling of the Alice Furnace on February 28, 1878. 5 The furnace had produced over 30,000 tons of pig iron with its original hearth, far exceeding its original design capability. Pig iron was reportedly leaking out of the hearth. A new furnace was installed at Alice on June 9, 1887.
Blanche Furnace was left unlined and incomplete until December 7, 1888, when the hearth was lined with firebrick and a blast was performed after it was stocked. 5
By January 1896, both Alice and Blanche Furnces were idled, with work beginning on January 23 to tear down the furnaces. 5 The ovens were removed for potential reuse. The site was later the property of the Marting Iron & Steel Company, which had been incorporated in January 1899 by H. A. Marting, T. J. Gibert, and E. J. Bird, Jr. 32
Amanda Furnace was built in 1829 or 1831 by James E. McDowell, John Culver, John H., Edwin P., Robert C., and William L. Poage in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Russell in Greenup County, Kentucky. 16 52 It featured a stone stack 35 feet high and a bosh ten feet wide. The Paull family later owned the furnace.
In 1838, it produced 100 tons of iron in 196 days, and in 1854, its final year of operation, it produced 200 tons. 16 52 The stone stack was demolished in July 1864 and used to expand the retaining wall behind Bellefonte. The title stone was later moved to Armco’s Amanda Furnace office.
Amanda Furnace, whose name was adopted for a new furnace by Armco Steel’s Ashland Works in 1963, featured a 30.6-foot hearth, 48 which was later enlarged to 33.6 feet in 1968. 4 46 A pulverized coal injection system was installed in 1973. The furnace was idled on December 15, 2015, and the Ashland Works facility was permanently closed in November 2019. The furnace was imploded on February 8, 2021.
Arcole Furnace was constructed in 1825 by Root and Wheeler in Lake County, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack measuring 30 feet in height with a bosh nine feet wide, with a second identical stack added by Wilkeson & Company after it acquired the site in 1832. It had a weekly production capacity of 30 tons. The furnace ceased operations in 1851 after it was sold to the Geauga Furnace.
Richard Deering, a farmer along the Little Sandy River in Greenup County, Kentucky, was engaged in salt boiling as a side interest. 32 He noticed iron deposits in his fields and on the hillsides, and in 1815, he erected a crude cupola and charged it with a small quantity of iron stone. The result proved satisfactory, and he engaged four or five molders to run his iron into hollowware.
In 1818, Deering partnered with David and John Trimble and constructed Argillite Furnace six miles south of Greenupsburg. 32 It was the first blast furnace established in the Hanging Rock Iron Region. It comprised of a furnace cut into a cliff of black slate with only two sides for arches, and a stack 25 feet high with a bosh six feet wide. A dam was built diagonally across the river, including an undershot waterwheel to furnish power for the blast. With a cold blast capacity of one ton daily, the iron produced was made into hollowware on weekdays and pigs on Sundays.
After the furnace was abandoned in 1837, the stones were repurposed to construct a grist mill.
Ashland Furnace was built in 1869 by the Lexington & Big Sandy Railroad Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Ashland, Kentucky. 3
Beaver Dam Furnace
Beaver Dam Furnace, located in the Red River Iron Region near Scranton in Menifee County, Kentucky, was constructed in 1819 by J.T. Mason. 3 16 It was a large, truncated pyramid made of sandstone blocks, standing 35 feet in height with a base measuring 28 feet on each side. The furnace was initially operated by Robert Crockett, an ironmaster, and produced a range of iron goods, including flat irons, kettles, nails, plow plates, and skillets. These products were transported down the Licking River on packet boats to be sold in other markets. The Beaver Dam Furnace ceased operations sometime between 1870-73.
Directions: Only a few blocks of the Beaver Dam Furnace can be seen along KY Route 1274 near Scranton in Menifee County, Kentucky.
Belfont Iron Works
The Belfont Iron Works was established in 1867 in Ironton, Ohio, and was renowned as the largest plant of its kind in the Hanging Rock Iron Region. 32 At its center was the Belfont Furnace which featured a stack 70 feet tall and had a daily production capacity of 45 tons. The plant was also the first in the county to utilize bituminous coal as a fuel source.
L. T. Dean and Adam Owrey formed the Belfont Iron Works Company in June 1863 to produce cut nails. 32 In collaboration with the Norton Brothers, the company also constructed a furnace south of the nail mill. Over time, the plant grew to become one of the largest manufacturing facilities of its kind in the United States, spanning an area between Hecla and Vesuvius Streets and Second and Third. At its height, it featured 126 nail machines and employed 300 men, with a daily production capacity of 1,400 kegs of nails. 5
The stack was overhauled with a new hearth, in-wall, and lining in October 1885. 5 The hearth and top were reduced slightly but the bosh remained mostly the same. It made its first cast after the renovation on November 19 and soon had a daily production capacity of 50 tons daily.
In 1901, the cut nail department was partially replaced by a galvanized wire department. 32 By the 1910s, the plant’s iron works, and nail lines produced various products, including Bessemer pig iron, wire and cut nails, galvanized and plain wire, galvanized barbed wire, galvanized cut and wire nails, and polished and galvanized fencing.
By the time of its bankruptcy in March 1932, the Belfont Steel & Wire Company, had two furnaces, a nail mill, the former Kelly nail mill tract, 640 acres of land in Decatur Township, and 200 acres of land in Elizabeth Township. 5 Although the furnaces, Belfont and Sarah, had been modernized before the company went into receivership, the site had been mothballed and was in a state of disrepair. A public sale conducted on March 30 produced no buyers, even with a significantly reduced price below appraisal.
Bellefonte Furnace was completed in 1825-26 by Archibald Paull, George Poague, and others in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Bellefonte, Boyd County, Kentucky. 16 32 It was later owned and managed by John Russell of Means, Russell & Means. The furnace featured a stone stack 34 feet in height with a bosh 10½ feet wide.
For 32 weeks in 1857, Bellefonte produced 1,721 tons of iron, and for 1874, it produced 3,600 tons of iron. 16 32 It continued to operate until 1893, during which time it accumulated a slag heap of 300,000 tons. The Bellefonte Furnace is noted as being the most successful of the pioneer furnaces in the region.
Bellefonte was the name chosen for a blast furnace built at Armco Steel’s Ashland Works in 1942, which was the 96th blast furnace to be built in the Hanging Rock Iron Region. 16 This furnace was notable for its large hearth, which measured 25 feet in diameter, and had the capacity to produce 1,000 tons of iron daily. In later years, the production capacity of this furnace was increased to 2,600 tons per day through the expansion of the hearth to 28¾ inches.
Belmont Furnace was built in 1844 by J.B. Alexander & Company in the Rolling Fork Iron Region near Lebanon Junction in Bullitt County, Kentucky. 4 16 It featured a stack 33 feet in height with a bosh 10 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine. The furnace was rebuilt in 1853, and over a period of six months in 1857, it produced 1,140 tons of iron which were primarily shipped to Louisville for use in the production of nails.
Directions: Belmont Furnace is on private property near Lebanon Junction in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
Big Sand Furnace
Big Sand Furnace was built in 1854 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Vinton County, Ohio. 3 Owned by the Big Sand Iron Company and Bartlett, Danner & Company, and managed by S.J. Summinger, it featured a stack 36 feet high and a bosh 10½ wide. For 33 weeks in 1856, it produced 1,800 tons of soft grey iron.
Bloom Furnace was erected in 1830 or 1854 by Christian Benner and his sons John and Joshua in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Scioto County, Ohio. 3 6 Operated by G.S. Williams & Company of Portsmouth, It featured a stack 35 feet high with a bosh 9½ feet wide. For the year 1856, it produced 1,800 tons of soft grey iron. In 1874, the furnace went out of blast until acquired by Eugene H. Clare of the J.D. Clare & Company in 1879.
Boone Furnace, located within the Hanging Rock Iron Region on Grassy Creek in Carter County, Kentucky, was constructed by Col. Sebastian Eifort, Thomas Price, and John Eifort of Eifort, Watkins & Company in 1856-57. 29 The first blast was held on July 4. However, a fire on July 25 destroyed the coal house, bridge house, and cast house resulting in a loss of $4,000. Following this incident, Hy Pogue, Thad Bennett, L. Dodge, Eli Glover, and H.B. Smith joined the company, investing through their land holdings.
Between 1866 and 1871, Boone Furnace had a production rate of between 1,200 to 2,000 tons per year. 29 A combination of mismanagement and resource depletion forced the closure of the furnace on March 31, 1871. Attempts at refinancing the furnace continued until 1884, but it was ultimately never put back into production.
Directions: Boone Furnace is located along Grassy Creek-Smith Road in Carter County, Kentucky.
Briar Hill Furnace
Briar Hill Furnace was built in 1847 by David Tod near Eagle Furnace in Youngstown, Ohio. 3 Managed by W. Richards, it featured a stack 41 feet high with a bosh 14 feet wide. For 1857, it produced 3,161 tons of mill iron.
Brush Creek Furnace
Brush Creek Furnace was constructed by Ellison, James, and Colonel Paull in 1811 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Adams County, Ohio. 3 32 It was the first blast furnace to be erected in the state. In 1826, the Brush Creek Furnace Company transformed into James T. Claypoole & Company but the furnace was abandoned after the Ironton and Hanging Rock ores were discovered in that year.
Brush Creek Furnace was also the first furnace in the United States to operate on steam. 3 32 The steam engine was manufactured by the Pitts Steam Engine Company and installed by James Rodgers. While working on the installation, Rodgers had the opportunity to observe the local industry. After consulting with Means, John Sparks, and Valentine Fear, he founded Union Furnace at Hanging Rock on July 4, 1826, under the company name James Rodgers & Company. Rodgers later established the Etna Furnace in 1832 and operated it until his death in June 1860.
Buckeye Furnace, located within the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Keystone and Wellston, Ohio, was financed by Newkirk, Daniels & Company under the name Buckeye Furnace Company and constructed by Thomas Price 2 in 1851-52. 1 3 28 It was completed before the completion of the railroad in the county, with several hundred tons of iron being transported to Jackson in anticipation of the first freight train.
It initially featured a stack 34 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. 2 3 Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of 7½ tons operating 42 weeks out of the year. The stack was later raised to 34 feet in height which allowed for a daily capacity of 12 tons.
Buckeye Furnace changed ownership several times, being sold to H.S. Bundy in 1862, Perry Austin & Company in 1864, and Buckeye Furnace Company in 1867, 1 and remained in operation until 1894. 2 28
Directions: Buckeye Furnace is the centerpiece of Buckeye Furnace State Memorial near Wellston, Ohio.
Buckhorn Furnace, located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Lawrence County, Ohio, was built either by James and Findley in 1833 3 41 or by Seeley Willard & Company in 1833 or 1836 2 3 or by T. Price in 1833. 6 It was owned by William Naylor McGugin, the president of the McGugin Coal & Iron Company, and was managed by Boudinot Seeley. It featured a stack 38 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of 15 tons.
Between 1840 and 1843, the furnace was operated by John Peters, Sr., and J.O. Willard, who had leased it from McGugin. 3 5 For 1856, it produced 1,450 tons of iron. W.N. and W.H. McGugin purchased Campbell’s interest in the furnace which gave them control of Buckhorn and Olive Furnaces.
Buckhorn Furnace made its last blast in 1899. 3 5
Directions: Buckhorn Furnace is located along County Road 41 North (North Buckhorn-Superior Road) in Lawrence County, Ohio.
Buena Vista Furnace
The Buena Vista Furnace was built in 1847-48 by William Foster & Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Boyd County, Kentucky. 16 Named after the Battle of Buena Vista, which occurred during the Mexican-American War in the same year, it featured a stack 40 feet high and a bosh 10 feet wide. The furnace was later owned by H. Means & Company and managed by John Rhoads.
In 32 weeks of 1854, Buena Vista produced 1,649 tons of iron, and in 1874, it produced 4,113 tons of iron. The furnace was dismantled in 1876.
Buffalo Furnace, located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Greenup County, Kentucky, was built by H. Hollister and Ross in 1851. 16 21 It possessed a 36½-foot stack and could produce 15 tons of iron daily with 150 men employed. During the Civil War, the furnace was an important Union Army supplier. Buffalo Furnace closed in 1875.
Directions: Buffalo Furnace can be seen at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup County, Kentucky.
Burgess Steel & Iron Works
Burgess Steel & Iron Works was built by Charles Burgess, M.H. and T.B. Ball, B.F. Perregrin, Fred Thompson, and John R. and W.E. Williams in 1898-99 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region at 3rd and Madison Streets in Clay Township, Scioto County, Ohio. 3 The original furnace had been built in 1872 and had a yearly production capacity of 3,500 tons, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1898. Burgess built four new furnaces in their place, each with a daily production capacity of 30 tons, or a yearly production capacity of 50,000 tons.
In 1900, Burgess Steel & Iron Works was sold to the Crucible Steel Company, which closed the four furnaces. 3 The Portsmouth Steel Company acquired the site in 1902, and the furnaces were upgraded with a daily production capacity of 300 tons. In 1950, the Detroit Steel Corporation bought Portsmouth Steel which was sold to Cyclops in 1969. Facing a glut of business in the industry, Cyclops began a gradual shutdown of the mill in 1972, accumulating with the shutdown of its blast furnace and open-hearth furnaces in 1980. However, the coke plant remained operational until 2002.
Cambria Furnace, located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near the town of Samsonville, also known as Blackfork Station, in southern Jackson County, Ohio, was constructed in 1854 by David Lewis & Company. 1 3 6 20 31 It was officially established on March 1, 1854, with an initial capital of $60,000 with 60 Welsh stockholders. Some farmers donated land in exchange for shares, receiving $15 per acre. 2 3 4 The furnace featured a stack 30½ feet in height with a bosh 10½ feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of seven tons. It was later converted to coal.
Operations at the Cambria Furnace were impacted by the economic Panic of 1857, and it closed in 1878. 1 3 6 20 31
Camp Branch Furnace
Camp Branch Furnace, also known as Farewell Furnace, was located 14 miles south of Greenupsburg along the Little Sandy River in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Greenup County, Kentucky. Built by David and John Trimble, it was abandoned between 1819-29.
Caney Furnace was built in 1837-1838 by Harrison Connor and Joshua Ewing, Sr. in the Red River Iron Region of Midland, Bath County, Kentucky. 16 It was one of the first iron furnaces located west of the Allegheny Mountains to utilize a hot blast oven for preheating the air blown through the stack. The furnace operated until 1849, although it briefly resumed operations in 1857-1858 by R. and A.S. Carter.
Caroline Furnace was built by Henry, Blake & Company in 1833 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Raceland in Greenup County, Kentucky. 16 It featured a stone stack 35 feet high and a bosh 10 feet wide. For 1838, the Caroline Furnace had a production output of 750 tons of pig iron, using 2,062 tons of iron ore and 225,000 bushels of charcoal as inputs, and in 1857, the furnace’s output increased to 1,200 tons of iron. It remained in operation until 1890.
Center Furnace, or Centre Furnace, was constructed in 1836 by William Carpenter and other individuals along the Iron Railroad within the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Lawrence County, Ohio. 3 5 6 20 42 Owned by Robert B. Hamilton and managed by S. McGugin, it featured a stack 40 feet high with a bosh 9½ feet wide, and the site had a daily production capacity of 16 tons of iron. For 1855, it produced 2,400 tons of iron.
The furnace was ordered to be sold at a Sheriff’s Sale on September 26, 1867, and it was acquired by William D. Kelly in 1868. 5 By 1885, the furnace was idled until it was acquired by Lindsey Kelly for $19,700 at a trustee’s sale in June 1898. 3 5 Kelly then leased the property to a company comprised of W.C. Amos, H.L. Amos (President and Superintendent), L.D. Davis (Secretary), O. Ellison, H.B. Justice, and Wm. Laird. 5 It was managed by Nannie Kelly Wright in 1898, who assumed managerial responsibilities in 1903. 3 Wright was the first and only female Iron Furnace Master in the United States.
As the local pig iron industry began to decline, the surrounding area, which provided raw materials for the furnace, began to be utilized for its limestone deposits for cement production, leading to the establishment of the Superior Portland Cement Company. 20
Center Furnace, also known as Hematite Furnace, was built by Daniel Hillman in 1852 in Trigg County, Kentucky. 16 Owned by Empire Iron Works, who also owned the Empire and Fulton Furnaces, it featured a stack 35 feet high and a bosh 10 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine. In 46 weeks of 1856, it produced 2,139 tons of pig iron that were mostly shipped by steamboat to fabricators elsewhere and operated intermittently until 1912.
Clear Creek Furnace / Bath Furnace
Clear Creek Furnace, located within the Red River Iron Region near Salt Lick in Bath County, Kentucky, was constructed by W.A. Lane and W.S. Allen in 1839. 12 16 It featured a stack 40 feet high with a bosh 10½ feet wide. The iron produced at this furnace was primarily used to manufacture railway car wheels. The furnace ceased operations in 1857 due to a financial depression that impacted the railroad industry.
In 1873, the furnace was rebuilt and renamed Bath Furnace, and by 1874, it had produced over 1,339 tons of iron. 12 16 Financial concerns ultimately led to the closure of Bath Furnace in 1875.
Directions: Clear Creek Furnace can be seen at the Clear Creek Iron Furnace picnic area within the Daniel Boone National Forest along Clear Creek Road and the Zilpo Scenic Byway in Bath County, Kentucky.
Clinton Furnace was built by George, William Thomas H., and Hugh A. Poage in 1832 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Rockdale, Boyd County, Kentucky. 16 It featured a stack 35 feet high and a bosh 10 feet wide. For 270 days in 1838, the furnace consumed 2,992 tons of ore and 247,000 bushels of charcoal to produce 950 tons of iron. In 1857, it produced 1,500 tons of iron. Operations ceased before 1867.
Clinton Furnace was built in 1832 by General William Kendall for McCullum, John P. Perry, and others in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Scioto County, Ohio. 3 6 Owned by Gliddon, Crawford & Company and managed by S.S. Gliddon, it featured a stack 32 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 1854, it produced 2,920 tons of iron.
In 1867, George Crawford bought out his partners in the furnace and took in William J. Bell. 6 In 1870, Crawford sold out to Bell and moved to Portsmouth. Bell operated the furnace until 1873, when it was blown out. Crawford then engaged in a ten-year battle over the title of the furnace.
During its 41 years of operation, it produced approximately 50,000 tons of iron. 6
Cottage Furnace was constructed in 1854 by Mason and Wheeler in the Red River Iron Region in Estill County, Kentucky. It featured a stack 35 feet in height. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine. For 18 weeks in 1857, the furnace produced 725 tons of iron.
Cottage Furnace was sold in 1859 to the McKinney brothers (David, James, Joel, Matthew, and Thomas), and while the furnace initially used slave labor, the McKinney brothers were reported to be fair and honest. Ultimately, they became one of the first businesses to free their slaves after the Civil War.
After Joel McKinney received word that his son had died suddenly in 1879, he neglected to tap the furnace and it never operated again.
Directions: Cottage Furnace can be viewed from Forest Route 231 within the Daniel Boone National Forest in Estill County, Kentucky.
Crittenden Furnace, named after the newly established county, was built by Gideon D. Cobb in 1847 in the Between Rivers Iron Region near Dycusburg in Crittenden County, Kentucky. 16 It featured a stack 30 feet tall with a bosh nine feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by steam. In 1855, the furnace produced 1,300 tons of iron.
The Cobb and Lyon families, who coarrived in the area around 1800 upon the recommendation of Andrew Jackson regarding iron ore deposits, operated several ironworks before the establishment of the Crittenden Furnace. 16 It was the last ironwork to be built by the families.
Curtis Creek Furnace
Curtis Creek Furnace was constructed in 1759 near Glen Burnie, Maryland. A foundry was built in 1829. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine. The furnace operated until 1851.
Dillon Furnace was built between 1819 and 1829 by Buckingham of Zanesville at the Falls of Licking in Muskingum County, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack 30 feet high with a bosh six feet wide which was later expanded with a stack 45 feet high with a bosh 12 feet wide. It had a yearly production capacity of 1,000 tons of iron a year. The furnace was abandoned in 1850.
Dover Furnace was constructed by the Tuscarawas Iron Company in Dover, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack 45 feet high with a bosh 12 feet wide. For 1856, it produced 900 tons of iron. The furnace was abandoned by 1859.
Dresden Furnace was constructed in 1847 near Hopewell Falls of the Licking River in Ohio. 3 Owned by Spaulding & Company, it featured a stack 45 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. The furnace was abandoned in 1850.
Eagle Furnace is located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Vinton County, Ohio, and was constructed in 1852 by A. Bentley, Benner, Bundy, and others. It featured a bosh 11 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of eight tons. For 28 weeks in 1856, it produced 1,725 tons of iron.
Directions: Eagle Furnace is located 6½ miles east of Hamden, Ohio along OH Route 160.
Eagle Furnace, also known as Philpot Furnace, was built in 1854 by Crowford and Murrary near Youngstown, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack 49 feet high with a bosh 12 feet wide. Fueled by stone coal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine. For 1857, it produced 3,284 tons of rolling mill iron.
The Eddyville Furnace, known also as the Jim & I.A., was constructed in 1832 by John and Samuel Stacker, and Thomas Tennessee Watson in the Between Rivers Iron Region near Eddyville, Kentucky. 16 Ownership of the furnace later passed to the Cobb family and then to William Kelly. It featured a brick stack and used charcoal as fuel and a significant portion of the iron produced at the Eddyville Furnace was forged in Kuttawa. The furnace’s last recorded blast occurred around 1850.
The development of the pneumatic process for steelmaking by William Kelly at Eddyville Furnace revolutionized the industry. 50 This process, which involved blowing air through molten pig iron to oxidize and remove impurities, was the result of research into more efficient methods of refining pig iron due to the depletion of timberland and carbon-free iron deposits. Kelly’s process, which was also patented by Sir Henry Bessemer in Great Britain, was developed in experimental furnaces between 1851-1856, with the secrecy surrounding the work as Kelly was concerned that customers would not trust the metal produced through this new process.
At the time, iron was available in three forms, each distinguished by the amount of carbon present in the iron. 50 Cast iron contained the highest levels of carbon, with some of it being converted into wrought iron, which contained no carbon, through forging processes. Steel, the strongest form of iron, was made by slowly heating iron to high temperatures, but this was an expensive and time-consuming process that was not widely used. Kelly’s process allowed for air drafts that caused the molten iron to glow white hot, thereby removing carbon and raising the temperature of the molten mass, making further heating unnecessary.
Following his objection to Bessemer’s patent application for the process in the United States, Kelly was granted his own patent in 1857. 50 He subsequently continued his experiments at the Cambria Iron Works in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and was eventually able to secure financial support to establish a steel mill in Wyandotte, Michigan, by 1862. In 1863, Kelly formed the Kelly Pneumatic Process Company, and in 1864, he successfully produced the first commercial steel using his process. However, both Kelly’s company and a rival company using Bessemer’s patents in Troy, New York, experienced limited commercial success, leading to the merger of the two companies.
Eliza Furnace was built in 1877 by Harvey Wells in the Hanging Rock Iron Region on East 10th Street in Wellston, Ohio. 3 Named after Well’s wife, Eliza, it went into blast that October. In July 1878, the furnace was leased to John C.H. Cobb, but it was forced to close in October. It was then purchased by H.S. Bundy in 1881 and was operated until 1890 and dismantled in 1891.
Empire Furnace was constructed in 1843 by Thomas Tennessee Watson in the Between Rivers Iron Region in Trigg County, Kentucky.16 It featured a brick stack 35 feet high with a bosh 9½ feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine.
Operations were sold to Daniel Hillman in 1849. In 45 weeks of 1856, it produced 1,836 tons of pig iron. The tunnel heads at the Center, Empire, and Fulton Furnaces were enlarged to four feet in April 1859 in preparation for the introduction of a conical bottom filler. Empire Furnace closed in 1861 because of repeated floods and Civil War military actions.
Empire Furnace was built in 1847 by Gliddon, Murfin & Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region along Poplar Fork of Pine Creek in Scioto County, Ohio. 3 Managed by O.H. Gliddon, it featured a stack 31 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 31 weeks of 1856, it produced 2,078 tons of iron.
Enterprise Furnace was built in 1826 or 1832 by Richard Deering, James McCoy, and Jacob Clinghan in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near South Shore, Kentucky. 16 It was on the site of an earlier bloomery forge that had been established in 1824. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by water which allowed for a daily capacity of six tons. Most of the pig iron was forged into utensils. Enterprise Furnace ceased operations in 1833.
Estill Furnace was constructed in 1830 by Thomas Dye Owings in the Red River Iron Region in Estill County, Kentucky. It featured a stack 34 feet high with a bosh ten feet wide which allowed for a daily capacity of seven tons per day. 2
Owings sold the furnace to Resin H. Gist and James Mason after it was built, which operated it until 1832 or 1833 when it was sold to a group of investors, including Samuel G. Jackson, Samuel Wheeler, Luther Mason, and his brother John C. Mason who later sold it to another set of investors, including Andrew Laywell, Josiah A. Jackson, W.G. Jackson, and Weeden Smith. 2
Estill Furnace was rebuilt in 1849. After Smith died, the partnership was dissolved, and the furnace was sold to Josiah, who then sold it to the Red River Iron Manufacturing Company in 1863. 2 It reopened in 1865 for rebuilding and went into blast in 1868, operating until 1874.
Directions: Estill Furnace can be viewed along KY Routes 213 and 1057 in Estill County, Kentucky.
Etna Furnace, also known as Aetna Furnace, was constructed by James Rodgers in 1832 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Lawrence County, Ohio. 3 5 6 20 43 The land was formerly owned by Joseph and Kitty Dollarhide Kelly who sold the land to Rodgers in 1832. The company also owned several other furnaces, including Alice, Blanche, Big Etna, and Vesuvius, as well as 16,000 acres of land surrounding the Etna and Vesuvius furnaces. It featured a bosh 10½ wide. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of 16 tons.
In 1826, Rodgers, along with Meaks, John Sparks, and Valentine Fear, built the first furnace on the Ohio side of the river. 3 20 43 Rodgers had acquired land from Joseph and Kitty Dollarhide Kelly who had moved to the area in 1820. 5 Joseph became a partner in the company. Rodgers remained the owner and operator of Etna Furnace until a few weeks before his death in June 1860. In addition to his role at the furnace, Rodgers served as the president of the Iron Bank and Lawrence Rolling Mill, represented Lawrence, Athens, Gallia, and Meigs counties as a state senator in 1837, and held various other public offices.
While financial difficulties ultimately led to the closure of the “Little” Etna Furnace in April 1887, 250 workers were kept to extract ore and lime for the Alice Furnace. 5 “Big” Etna Furnace was offered at public sale on September 25, 1897. It was reported to be in good working order by mid-1899, with a daily production capacity of 240 tons.
Directions: Etna Furnace can be viewed along Etna-Waterloo Road in Lawrence County, Ohio.
Etna, Ironton, and Lawrence Furnaces
The Marting Iron & Steel Company, led by Col. H. A. Marting as President and General Manager, owned and operated the Etna, Lawrence, and Ironton Iron furnaces located in Ironton, Ohio. 32 Etna Furnace became a part of the company when it was incorporated in January 1899. The Ironton Iron Company was established in May 1907, with its namesake furnace completed in the spring of 1908, although it did not begin operations until November. The Lawrence Iron Company was incorporated in February 1910, with its namesake furnace opening within the year.
Prior to July 1912, the three furnaces were operated independently by their respective corporations until July 1912, when the Ironton Iron and Lawrence Iron companies consolidated with the Marting Iron & Steel Company. 32 From this point forward, the Etna Furnace was utilized for the production of foundry iron, the Ironton Furnace for the production of malleable Bessemer, and the Lawrence Furnace for the production of basic. The combined capacity of the three furnaces allowed for the production of approximately 800 to 850 tons daily.
Falcon Furnace was constructed in 1856 by Howard in Youngstown, Ohio. 3 It featured a stack 47 feet high with a bosh 14 feet wide.
Fitchburg Furnace, located in the Red River Iron Region along Millers Fork in Estill County, Kentucky, 2 17 was designed by Fred Fitch and constructed by masons from Ravenna, Italy 18 in 1869 at the cost of $160,000. 2 17 It opened under the supervision of Sam Worthley and the Red River Iron Manufacturing Company. 17 18 The furnace, which was the largest of its type in the world, was built purely on speculation by local businessmen during the western railroad construction boom.
Fitchburg Furnace featured two stacks, Blackstone and Chandler, each 60 feet high with a bosh 12½ feet wide. 2 It employed over 1,000 workers and had a daily tonnage output of 25 tons. 2 17 18 However, the economic Panic of 1873 and the discovery of rich iron ore in the Birmingham, Alabama region led to the closure of furnace after producing 16,000 tons of iron. 2 17 The former industrial site was donated by Joyce Russell Broaddus and Toska Russell Middleton to the United States Forest Service on April 6, 1973. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1974.
Directions: Fitchburg Furnace is located along KY Route 975 within the Daniel Boone National Forest in Estill County, Kentucky.
Five Mile Furnace
Five Mile Furnace was built in 1855 by the Five Mile Furnace Company, headed by R. Adcock, in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Hocking County, Ohio. 3 Leased to Webster & Company and managed by William M. Bowen, it featured a stack 33 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 21 weeks in 1856, it produced 1,035 tons of foundry iron.
Franklin Furnace was constructed in 1826-27 by a group of individuals from New Hampshire, including Daniel and John Young, Jesse Y. Whitcomb, Josiah Merrill, John Hurd, and Martin Ruter in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Green Township, Scioto County, Ohio. 2 3 Daniel Young had previously founded the Ohio Iron Company, which was later sold to John Young and Van Horn in 1831.
The furnace featured a stack 28 feet high with a bosh 9½ wide, and was capable of producing ten tons of iron daily. 2 3 In 1836, the furnace converted to hot blast technology, but it partially burned down shortly afterward and had to be rebuilt. It was subsequently sold to A.J. Rogers & Company and then to Jefferson W. Glidden and John Blair in 1841, with Glidden eventually becoming the sole owner. John Gould and Jesse and Jacob Hurd later acquired Glidden’s interest, and Gould eventually bought the furnace outright, profiting significantly during the Mexican War. 2 3 6 In 1850, Gould sold his stake in the operation to his brother, Orin B. Gould Sr.
For 26 weeks in 1856, the furnace produced 2,277 tons of iron.
At its peak, Franklin Furnace shipped pig iron to Portsmouth via steamboats on the Ohio River, as well as to other markets through the Ohio & Erie Canal. 2 3 6 The furnace was in operation until 1860, producing approximately 60,000 tons of pig iron worth $1.5 million. In 1888, Charles Goddard removed numerous sandstone blocks from the furnace to repair locks at Three Locks on the Ohio & Erie Canal. Only a few stones were left and used as the foundation for a schoolhouse later built on the furnace site.
Fulton Furnace was constructed in 1845 by Watson & Hillman in the Between Rivers Iron Region near Eddyville in Lyon County, Kentucky. 2 Owned by Empire Iron Works, who also owned the Center and Empire Furnaces, it featured a stack 33 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. The furnace was converted to a hot blast in 1856. For 22 weeks in 1857, it produced 1,400 tons of pig iron for the Tennessee Rolling Mill and the Lower Mississippi and St. Louis markets.
Fulton Furnace was built in 1865 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region at Main and South Streets in Jackson, Ohio. 3 31 Lewis Davis acquired the land after he departed from Orange Furnace. At the time of its organization, Fulton was headed by Samuel McCormick (President), J.E. Ferree (Secretary), who were joined by J.H. Bunn, G.W. and Ezekial Cavett, Lewis Dungan, and John D. Jones.
Fulton Furnace was fueled by stone coal from the former Globe slope on West Main Street, as the coal from the Fulton site was of inferior quality. 3 31 By December 1868, it had a daily production capacity of 16 tons.
In 1873, the Fulton and Globe Furnaces were consolidated under the Globe Iron Company. 3 After the original Globe Furnace burned in 1876, the Fulton Furnace was remodeled and served as the second iteration of Globe.
Gallia Furnace was constructed in 1847 by John Campbell and John Peters in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Gallia County, Ohio. 3 32 It featured a tack 30 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 1857, it produced 2,300 tons of iron.
Gerard Furnace was built in 1854 by Browder, Kentucky & Company in the Between Rivers Iron Region in New Concord, Calloway County, Kentucky. 16 It featured a stack measuring 24 feet high with a bosh 10½ feet wide. 2 Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine. For 34 weeks in 1857, it produced 1,595 tons of pig iron, which was primarily transported via steamboat on the Tennessee River. Gerard Furnace ceased operations in 1858.
Globe Furnace was constructed by the Tygarts Creek Manufacturing Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region along Tygarts Creek in northern Greenup County, Kentucky. 49 It operated between 1832 and 1841. In 1855, Benjamin Franklin Bennett and William Parmoley Bennett built a grist mill at the same location, leading the community to be renamed Bennetts Mill. A covered bridge built adjacent to the mill utilized dressed sandstone from the abandoned Globe Furnace as abutments.
Globe Furnace was erected in 1872 by Watts, Hoop & Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Furnace on West Main Street in Jackson, Ohio. 3 31 The company was owned by J.M. Watts, Peter Hoop, Jr., C.S. Dickason, and T.P. Sutherland, and the construction project was headed by Henry Hossman. Fueled by stone coal mined at the site, its hot air blast was powered by steam-powered boilers.
In December 1873, Thomas T. Jones formed the Globe Iron Company to purchase both the Fulton and Globe Furnaces. 3 31 Jones had emigrated from Wales in 1837 and was the first president of the Jefferson Furance in 1854.
Globe Furnace burned down in 1876, after which time the Fulton Furnace was remodeled and became the site of the Globe Iron Company. 3 31 The company was purchased by the Interlake Iron Company of Cleveland in July 1956. On September 3, 1960, an explosion rocked the furnace. The molten metal broke out of the hearth and pushed into the wet fill under the furnace floor. The resulting steam pressure caused an explosion. The furnace never operated afterward.
Grand Rivers Furnace
Grand Rivers Furnace was built in 1890-91 by Grand Rivers Coal, Iron & Railroad Company in the Between Rivers Iron Region in Grand River, Livingston County, Kentucky. 16 It was equipped with two stacks, each standing 60 feet high with a bosh 13½ feet wide. 2 Initially fueled by coal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a yearly production of 45,000 tons. It switched to utilizing coke after 1901. The furnaces were operated intermittently until they were dismantled in 1921.
Grant Furnace was built in 1869 by W.D. Kelly & Sons in the Hanging Rock Iron Region on Front Street between Monroe and Quincy Streets in Ironton, Ohio. 5 Ground was broken in late March, with construction underway by April 5. The stack was finished on June 10, with the brickwork laid by August 1. Fueled by charcoal, its cold air blast was powered by a steam engine.
During the construction of the Ironton-Russell Bridge in 1922, bricks, melted iron remnants, and slag from the Grant Furnace site were uncovered. 5
Greenup Furnace, also known as Honeywell Furnace, was constructed in 1844 or 1845-46 by John Campbell, John Peters, and Culbertson in the Hanging Rock Iron Region on the Little Fork of the Little Sandy River in Greenup County, Kentucky. 2 32 Owned by Wilson, Baird & Company and managed by A.J. Bell, it featured a stack 37 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. For 1856, it produced 2,600 tons of iron.
Hamden Furnace was constructed in 1851 by L.C. Damarin and others in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Vinton County, Ohio. 3 Owned by Damarin, Tarr & Company and managed by McKean, it featured a stack 33 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. Its cold and hot air blasts were powered by a steam engine. For the year 1856, it produced 2,157 tons of iron.
Hamilton Furnace, built by the Hanging Rock Iron Company, which succeeded Means, Kyle & Company in 1884-85, was the last furnace to be established in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Lawrence County, Ohio. 5 32 It had a daily production capacity of 60 tons of iron. 5 In 1897, parts of the former Pine Grove Furnace were melted and used in the ironmaking process at Hamilton.
Harrison Furnace was erected in 1853 by the Eifort, Spellman & Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Scioto County, Ohio. 3 Owned by Henry Spellman, S.R. Ross, and others, and managed by Spellman, it featured a stack 38 feet high with a bosh 10¼ feet wide. For 30 weeks in 1857, it produced 2,300 tons of iron.
The furnace was purchased in 1860 by Daniel Sommers and Samuel McConnel and operated until 1872. 3
Hecla Furnace was built by R.B. Hamilton & McCoy in 1833 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Kitts Hill, Lawrence County, Ohio. 3 34 It featured a stack 36 feet high with a bosh 10½ feet wide. 3 5 32 Fueled by charcoal, its cold blast was powered by a steam engine, and it had a daily production capacity of ten tons. 5 For 30 weeks in 1857, the furnace produced 1,760 tons of iron. 3
In October 1852, Hecla was sold at an estate sale to John Campbell, C. Briggs, and E.H. Griswold, which took possession on January 1, 1853. 5
The furnace was reconstructed in the 1890s, at which point it was fitted with an iron jacket that measured 53 feet high with a bosh 21 feet wide, along with a smokestack 124 feet tall. It allowed for a daily capacity of 100 tons. 3 34
During the American Civil War, Hecla Furnace provided armor for the gunboats that were used in the attacks on Forts Henry and Donelson, as well as for the production of ordnance at Pittsburgh. 32 Many of the guns used in the siege of Charleston, South Carolina, were made from metal from the Hecla Furnace, including the “Swamp Angel,” which was capable of launching 100-pound shells a distance of 5½ miles.
Hecla Furnace was idled in 1900 but resumed operations in July 1902. 5 It ceased operations in 1905. 32
Henry Clay Furnace
Henry Clay Furnace was built in 1832 by Aylette Hartswell Buckner, S.V. Leedom, and Cadwallader Churchill in the Green River Iron Region near Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky. 16 It featured a stack built of stone with a height of 35 feet and a bosh nine feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a water wheel. The furnace ceased operations in 1837.
Hocking Furnace was constructed in 1852 by the Hocking Iron Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Hocking County, Ohio. 3 Managed by W.H. Haydn, it featured a stack 32 feet high with a bosh nine feet high. For 21 weeks in 1857, it produced 1,000 tons of iron.
Hope Furnace is located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Vinton County, Ohio, and was built in 1854 by Col. Putman and others. 3 Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine, which allowed for a daily capacity of 15 tons. For 1870, the furnace produced 2,827 tons of iron which required 1,150 to 1,225 pounds of iron ore, 70 pounds of limestone, and 35 bushels of charcoal.
Hope Furnace’s last blast was in 1875.
Directions: Hope Furnace is located in Lake Hope State Park in Ohio.
Hopewell Furnace, also known as Camp Branch Furnace, was built in 1824 by Ward as a bloomery forge in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Hopewell, Greenup County, Kentucky. 16 32 In 1832-33, it underwent conversion into a blast furnace fueled by charcoal with an air blast that was powered by a water wheel. In 1838, the furnace produced 600 tons of ore while consuming 165,000 bushels of charcoal as fuel. Its operations ceased in 1844.
Hopewell Furnace, also known as Ozeoro Furnace, was erected in 1848 by William L. Hiter, William Lewis, and Henry F. Given in the Between Rivers Iron Region in Tiline, Livingston County, Kentucky. 2 16 It featured a brick stack with a height of 30 feet and a bosh nine feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, it was operated by a steam engine. For 33 weeks in 1856, it produced 1,096 tons of pig iron. In 1857, the furnace underwent reconstruction and ceased operations in 1859.
Hopewell Furnace, also known as Poland Furance, is located in Poland, Ohio, and was constructed circa 1804 by Daniel and James Eaton. 3 It featured a stack 30 feet high with a bosh seven feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its cold air blast was powered by a water mill which allowed for a daily capacity of one to three tons.
The original furnace was not a commercial success and closed circa 1808. 3 It was rebuilt in 1809, 1816, and 1837 after which the site was abandoned after making two blasts.
Directions: Hopewell Furnace can be viewed in Lake Hamilton in Poland, Ohio.
Howard Furnace is located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Scioto County, Ohio, and was constructed in 1853 by John Campbell. 3 32 Managed by H.A. Webb, it featured a stack 38 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of nine tons.
Directions: Howard Furnace can be viewed along Howard Furnace Road in Scioto County, Ohio.
Hurricane Furance, also known as Jackson Furnace, was built in 1853 by Andrew Jackson on the Little Fork of the Little Sandy River in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Carter County, Kentucky. 2 It featured a stack 34 feet high and a bosh 10 feet wide. The furnace was rebuilt in 1856, and for 26 weeks in 1857, it produced 1,200 tons of pig iron for rolling mills. As of 1859, the furnace was owned by John W. Walker of Nashville and J.R. Hassell of Marion, Ohio.
Hunnewell Furnace was constructed in 1845 by John Campbell, John Peters, and John Culbertson within the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Hunnewell, Greenup County, Kentucky, 2 23 a town named after the prominent businessman Walter Hunnewell. 22 Initially, pig iron was transported via ox carts to boats on the Ohio River in Greenupsburg, but once the Eastern Kentucky Railway was established, the furnace was acquired by the proprietors of the railroad. 23 In 1870, the Hunnewell Furnace was reconstructed to a height of 47 feet which allowed for a yearly production capacity of 6,000 tons of iron. It remained in operation until either 1885 or 1889. 22 23
Directions: Hunnewell Furnace is located on private property at the junction of KY Route 207 and 3306 in Greenup County, Kentucky.
Huron Furnace was constructed in 1873 by the Huron Iron Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region southwest of Jackson, Ohio. 3 31 Utilizing equipment from the failed Triumph Furnace, it was financed by Lot Davis (President), Moses Jones (Secretary and Manager), J.D. Clare, Thomas H. Jones, A.F. McCarley, Moses Sternberger, and William Vaugh. The coal shaft was started on January 29, 1874, and by February 19, 61 feet of the shaft had been completed.
The furnace went into blast in April 1875 but closed in 1876 because of a lack of profitability. 3 31 It was operational again between November 1879 and 1883. The First National Bank of Jackson and the First National Bank of Portsmouth then purchased Huron Furnace. They leased it to the Globe Iron Company for a short time before abandoning operations.
Iron Hills Furnace
Iron Hills furnace was built om 1873 in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Carter County, Kentucky, and was the last furnace erected in the county. 2 29 It featured an outer shell made of iron and a system of hot-blast ovens separate from the main furnace. The iron shell stack was supported by iron pillars and included a fire brick hearth, closed top with bell and hopper charging apparatus, and a gas flue for waste gas to be transported to the boilers. An inclined plane elevator was utilized to lift charges from the stock bank to the furnace throat.
Iron Hills could produce 18 to 20 tons of pig iron per day by late 1873, but faced both financial and technical difficulties that ultimately led to the closure of the plant in the spring of 1874 after only 962 tons of pig iron had been produced. 2 29 The furnace struggled to reach a sufficient temperature for a successful blast.
The company’s assets were sold on November 3, and it was reorganized as Charlotte Furnce, resuming operations in late 1875. 2 29 However, the furnace went into receivership in 1878. A third financial crisis resulted in the sale of the furnace to Edward Avery and H.W. Brum for $25,000 on November 8, and it was never operated again before being scrapped.
Iron Valley/Lincoln/Cornelia Furnace
Iron Valley Furnace was constructed in 1853/1854/1855 along a natural crack on a stone cliff in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Jackson, Ohio. 2 3 6 31 Built by Thompson, Laslie & Company, it featured a stack 38 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide which allowed for a daily capacity of 12 tons.
In 1858, ownership of the furnace was transferred to the Iron Valley Furnace Company, and in 1861 it was leased to William McGhee and William Ratcliff. 3 6 McGhee eventually acquired Ratcliff’s share in 1863 and renamed the furnace after Abraham Lincoln. It was later rechristened as the Cornelia Furnace, named in honor of McGhee’s daughter. The Cornelia Furnace ceased operations in 1885.
Ironton Furnace was constructed in 1871 or 1875 at the cost of $100,000 by the Iron & Steel Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Lawrence County, Ohio. 3 5 32 Fueled by a combination of coal and coke, it had a daily production capacity of 40 tons. 5 32 It originally had four tuyeres but was expanded to seven tuyeres in September 1885.
A slumping iron business led to the bankruptcy of the Iron & Steel Company. 5 The worn-out and dilapidated Ironton Furnace was sold at a sheriff’s sale to Col. H.A. Marting for $2,000 on September 18, 1897. 5 The plant was later transferred to the Union Iron & Steel Company.
Jackson Furnace was built in 1836 by J. Hurd, Young, and others in Hanging Rock Iron Region in Jackson County, Ohio. 1 2 3 It featured a stack 40 feet high and a bosh 9½ feet wide. 7 Fueled by charcoal, its air blast was powered by a steam engine, the first to be used on a furnace in the county. 1 3 Due to the economic Panic of 1837, the owners were compelled to sell the complex to Ellison, Tewksberry & Company. For 1857, it produced 2,700 tons of iron. The furnace remained in operation until 1874.
Jefferson Furnace was built in 1854 by the Jefferson Furnace Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region near Oak Hill, Ohio. 3 31 It featured a stack 37 feet high with a bosh 11 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its cold air blast was powered by a steam engine and had a daily production capacity of 14 tons. It was later converted to a hot air blast which increased its daily production capacity. The last cast was on December 26, 1916.
The Jackson Iron & Steel Company (JISCO) was incorporated in August 1906 by David D. Davis, Henry Hossman, Moses and John F. Morgan, and John J. Thomas in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Jackson, Ohio. 3 Morgan was the former secretary of the Tropic Furnace and associated with the Aetna Fire Brick Company, while Hossman was a structural engineer from Portsmouth and had built both the Globe and Star Furnaces. A furnace with one metal stack and three hot blast ovens was completed in 1908 and was originally fed a combination of Sharon No. 1 coal that was mined on site, although in later years a mixture of local coal, coke from West Virginia, and ores from the Lake Superior region were used.
During World War I, JISCO added a fourth hot blast stove, two boilers, and a second steam engine. 3 The original furnace was dismantled in 1942 and replaced with a larger furnace and hot blast stove which was completed in 70 days by the William Pollock Company of Youngstown, Ohio. JISCO was purchased in 1947 by Fred Jones of Columbus, Ohio, and between 1952-53, capacity was increased by 15%. To ensure an adequate supply of water, a 70 acre lake was built.
JISCO closed on May 20, 1969. 3 The site was purchased by Banner Induistries of Cleveland. After a failed attempt to implement an electric arc furnace, the site was dismantled in 1983.
Junior Furnace was built in 1828 by Young Brothers and others in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Scioto County, Ohio. 3 Owned by Gliddon, Murfin & Company, the same owners of Franklin Furnace, and managed by James Murfin, it featured a stack 33 feet high and a bosh 9½ feet wide.
The furnace was sold to Jefferson W. Glidden in 1832, and in 1836, the stack collapsed and was rebuilt. 3 In the 1840s, Jefferson’s brother Obadiah Glidden was brought on as a partner and the firm name was changed to Glidden & Company.
For 44 weeks of 1857, it produced 3,016 tons of iron. 3 The furnace blew out in 1876.
Kenton Furnace was constructed in 1854 or 1856 by John Warring & Sons in the Hanging Rock Iron Region along Big White Oak Creek in Greenup County, Kentucky. 2 It featured a stack 36 feet high and a bosh 11 feet wide. For 1856, the furnace produced 1,500 tons of pig iron.
Keystone Furnace was constructed in 1848 31 by John Campbell and S. McConnel in the Hanging Rock Iron Region along Little Raccoon Creek south of Jackson, Ohio. 1 3 32 The furnace, named after a riverboat owned by the proprietors, featured a stack 33 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide which allowed for a daily capacity of 12 tons. 2 3 However, early efforts by A.F. and P.M. McCarley to transport 55 tons of pig iron by boat down Raccoon Creek to the Ohio River were unsuccessful.
In 1853, Green Benner & Company acquired Keystone Furnace 1 3 and increased the stack to 36 feet in height, which allowed for a daily capacity of 24 tons. 2 Operations were temporarily halted between 1861 and 1863 due to the owners being elected to form the 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry for the Civil War. In 1871, Keystone Furnace was purchased by Hezekiah Sanford Bundy and operated until 1885.
Directions: Keystone Furnace is located on private property along County Route 9 (Keystone Furnace Road) near Jackson, Ohio.
LaGrange Furnace was erected in 1836 by the Hurd, Gould & Company in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Lawrence County, Ohio. 2 3 5 It featured a stack 32 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide which allowed for a daily capacity of seven tons. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine. From 1851 to 1854, William Dollarhide Kelly leased the furnace, which was later operated by the Ohio Iron & Coal Company under the leadership of John Campbell.
For the year 1854, the LaGrange Furnace produced 1,000 tons of iron out of lower coal measure limestone ore mixed with some block ore. 5 It ceased operations in 1856 because of a lack of available timber for charcoal. 2 3 5
Directions: LaGrange Furnace is located on private property near the junction of County Routes 21 and 180 in Lawrence County, Ohio.
Latrobe Furnace was built in 1854 31 by H.F. Austin, H.S. Bundy, R.C. Hoffman, Valentine B. Horton, and W. McGhee along the never-finished Cincinnati & Hillsboro Railroad in the Hanging Rock Iron Region six miles east of Jackson, Ohio. 1 3 Owned by Bundy, Austin & Company and managed by Drew Ricker, the furnace featured a stack 35 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. For 44 weeks in 1857, it produced 2,025 tons of iron. The furnace blew out in 1885.
Laura Furnace was built in 1855 by the Gentry, Gunn & Company at the cost of $40,000 in the Between Rivers Iron Region in Golden Pond, Kentucky. 2 16 Owned by J.J. Tomlinson and managed by J.F. Gentry, it featured a stack 40 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. It employed as many as 130 men until the outbreak of the Civil War forced its closure. For 44 weeks in 1857, it produced 1,637 tons of pig iron. After the war, it was in blast intermittently but did not make sufficient profits and closed in 1872.
Laurel Furnace is located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Greenup County, Kentucky, and was constructed in 1849 by George and Samuel Wurts. 2 16 Built partly into a stone cliff, it featured a stack 39 feet high and a bosh 10½ feet wide. For 31 weeks in 1855, the furnace produced 2,150 tons of iron using 376,250 bushels of charcoal. The final blast at the furnace occurred in 1874.
Directions: Laurel Furnace can be viewed along Cooper Road in Greenup County, Kentucky.
Lawrence Furnace, also referred to as Crane’s Nest Furnace, was constructed in 1834 by the J. Riggs & Company, comprised of Joseph Riggs, Andrew Ellison, Robert Hamilton, James Rodgers, and Dyer Burgess, in the Hanging Rock Iron Region in Lawrence County, Ohio. 3 5 35 The construction of the furnace was overseen by John Campbell, who also provided a loan of $1,500. It featured a stack 35 feet high with a bosh 10 feet wide. Fueled by charcoal, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for a daily capacity of 15 tons. For 1856, the furnace produced 2,434 tons of iron.
Licking Furnace was constructed in 1859 by Swift’s Iron & Steel Works in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky. 2 16 It was later rebuilt in 1869, featuring a stack that measured 65 feet in height with a bosh 16 feet wide. Fueled by Connellsville coke, its hot air blast was powered by a steam engine which allowed for an annual capacity of 17,000 tons which was primarily converted into steel at the same facility. Licking Furnace ceased its operations in 1888.
Limestone Furnace is located in the Hanging Rock Iron Region along Grassy Fork of Symmes Creek in Jackson County, Ohio, and was constructed in 1854-55 by the Evans, Walterhouse & Company. 1 2 31 In 1856, Riley Corn, a wealthy farmer, acquired a significant number of shares from the company’s stockholders. The furnace passed into the hands of a receiver in 1858 and closed by 1860.
Directions: Limestone Furnace is located at the junction of County Route 2 (C H and D Road) and County Route 135 (Rempel Road) in Jackson County, Ohio.