DATA REGARDING THE FURNACES OF THE HANGING ROCK IRON REGION
Sharon M. Kouns
Last update: May 17, 1998
Ironton Register, Thursday, June 1, 1865 - The boundaries of
the Hanging Rock iron region extend between the mouth of Kinnekanick,
in Lewis County, Kentucky, to Ironton, Ohio, including Lawrence,
Jackson, and part of Vinton, Scioto and Gallia Counties, Ohio, and
Greenup, Boyd, Carter and Lewis Counties, Kentucky. There are over
sixty blast furnaces in operation within this district of Cincinnati
and Pittsburgh afford a market for the manufactured pig iron.
Ironton Register, February 03, 1870 - (Iron Intelligences)
Workmen are busy at the Old Mill getting things ready for operation.
Mr. John R. Williams manages matters. He is an iron worker of
experience and knows exactly what to do in a rolling mill.
Ironton Journal, Jan. 18, 1871- Attention has just been
called by Dr. Percey, an eminent metallurgist to the danger of using
the waste gas from the blast furnaces. A principal ingredient of the
gas, consists of carbonic oxide, which is sufficient to destroy life.
The employment of the waste gas of blast furnaces for heating of steam
boilers, etc., is extending daily and Dr. Percey fears that death from
its inhalation, may be frequent unless those who use it are fully
aware of it's physiological action. Numerous cases of poisoning of
this kind are already on record, one of which took place in Ironton
last week. [Ironton Journal, Jan. 11, 1871 - One Randolph McDonald,
from about Center Furnace, wandered intoxicated into Belfont Furnace
last Monday night and was found yesterday morning near one of the gas
conductors, dead. Jury was called and rendered the following verdict:
"That we, do find the deceased, Randolph McDonald, came to his death
by intemperance, exposure and inhaling gas escaping from the ground
conductor at Belfont Furnace."]
I.R. August 4, 1881 - There is some talk of putting post
offices at some of the furnaces. Years ago, Olive and Mt. Vernon were
post offices, the latter under the name of Campbell. W. N. McGugin was
postmaster at Olive, and Robert Scott, at Mt. Vernon. They resigned
and the post offices were discontinued during the war when Mr. Amlin
was P.M. at Ironton. They agreed to have the offices discontinued and
buy their stamps, &c., all at Ironton, if Mr. Amlin would put the mail
on the cars daily. They thus got a daily mail and the Ironton P.O. did
more business. Previous to (do not have end of this).
I.R. August 13, 1891 - THE LAND DEAL - The pending
propositions for the sale of vast furnace properties in this and
Jackson and Gallia counties, of which the REGISTER spoke last week,
are still pending. No step in advance of last week's situation has
transpired. Mr. Clutts, the genial ambassador of the Syndicate, has
however, received instructions from the principals to hold the
propositions open and they, or some of them would be on this week, to
close up the deal. They have not yet appeared, according to our latest
accounts. It is explained that this is one of those off seasons, when
men of money seek the soft allurements of the ocean beach or cool
mountain summit, to gather anew those physical energies so necessary
in the turmoil of trade and finance. It is highly possible that when a
few more surfs are shot and a few more mountain zephyrs are inhaled
that the capitalists will realize the importance of striking when the
iron is hot.
Among the promises of this deal if it finally materializes, is the
building of two large furnaces at Mt. Vernon and Gallia, a fire brick
works at Texas Hollow and the opening and pushing of ore and coal
mines all over the property, for which plans the lands are splendidly
adapted. If the affair comes to a head at all, it is likely to do so
in the next ten days.
Ironton Register, April 28, 1892 - Mr. W. H. Hawkins, the
gentleman who owned the "old mill," and sold it to the home company,
was in town this week, hoping to make some arrangement for the
disposal of the Ironton furnace. He offers some fair inducements but
no conclusions were attained.
Ironton Register, March 03, 1870 - (Iron Intelligences) The
fall in quotations at Cincinnati and Louisville, has of course
weakened the market here, and a fall of two dollars per ton on foundry
grades is necessary before sales can be made. The quantity of iron is
decreasing rapidly, and continued bad weather prevents any
considerable quantity from being brought from the furnaces. As yet
there is no decline in mill irons, and as the Pittsburg market has
opened quite firm, there is no fall anticipated here. .... A long
article in the IRON AGE, shows the cost of stone coal at Youngstown to
be about $31 per ton. We think we can beat that a little.
Ironton Register, March 31, 1870 - (Iron Intelligences) -
The market for all kinds of iron is still declining slowly. Forced
sales of large quantities, in different cities, have so weakened the
market that good foundry iron can be bo't for $40. At this point the
furnacemen will insist upon it staying, and it is doubtful whether it
can be forced lower. So few sales have been made that it is useless to
give any quotations.
-The furnace managers throughout the county are engaged in putting in
new hearts and repairing hot blasts.
-Several furnaces up the Hocking Valley Road are putting in firebrick
hearths. They are said to work well, cost the same as a sandstone
heart, and will do service for three or four years. They are made at
the Sciotoville Firebrick Works, of any size.
-We learn that the question of wages attracts the attention of the
Mill companies, and that any continued operation under the present
rates is not probable, after the first of April.
-The tariff discussion in the House of Representatives, has improved
the prospects of the bill offered by the commission.
-An extensive coal miner's strike is anticipated in the Mahoning
Valley. The coal operators have determined to reduce the wages or stop
-The Indiana State Fair offers $100 premium for the best collection of
pig metal produced in that state.
Ironton Register, January 30, 1879 - Col. Gray has returned
from a trip to the West. He judges from general appearances and from
conversation with men in the iron business, that trade will be much
better the coming Spring and Summer, than for five years past. He
observed a tone of hopefulness among the consumers of metal, and a
disposition to talk, in regard to the supplies of metal on hand, the
kind, quality, &c. at present prices in larger quantities than usual.
Ironton Register, November 19, 1885 - Of the iron furnaces
in the United States, 437 are out of blast and 233 in blast. The
weekly capacity of those in blast is 76,723 tons; of those out of
blast, 96,252. So the capacity of our furnaces is 9,000,000 annually,
and we are making at the rate of 4,000,000 tons.
Ironton Register, November 26, 1885 - (Iron News) - Every
iron firm in this county is, at present, employing men and paying
wages, except perhaps one, the Old Mill Co., but they have rented
their furnace to a company that is paying wages.
Ironton Register, November 24, 1887 - It takes lots of corn
to run a furnace. 12,500 bushels passed through Hecla cribs in eight
months, from March 1 to November 1. Mr. Clark Henry was the crib
tender and kept careful account of every pound.
Ironton Register, January 5, 1888
A GLANCE AT THE PAST YEAR
The Furnaces. - Never did the furnaces of this county make as much pig
metal as they did in 1887. This is because the coke furnaces have been
in blast a great portion of the time. The charcoal production was
nearly an average, but seems quite small by the side of the coke iron
output. There were 98,254 tons of metal made in the county in the
year, and of this, only 12, 341 tons were charcoal; the rest coke or
coal. We subjoin a list of the furnaces in this county and the tons of
metal produced in the year:
IRON & STEEL
The last five are charcoal furnaces. The production of Hecla was
only a five months' run; the remainder of the year the furnace was
idle. The Iron & Steel furnace was banked up 47 days, and so does not
show a full product. The large output of the furnaces of the county
indicate a general employment of labor and a large movement of
Ironton Register, March 3, 1887 - Sunday, April 3, is the
time fixed now for widening the Narrow Gauge. This is, also, said to
be reliable. Also same date: It is time to widen the Narrow Gauge. We
heard a furnaceman remark that it was dangerous to ship pig iron over
Ironton Register, June 28, 1888 - We understand that the ore
miners at Etna, Vesuvius, Lawrence, Bartles and Center Furnaces have
gone out on a demand for $1.25 per ton for digging, and the
enforcement of the law requiring semi-monthly pays. They have been
getting various prices, ranging from 80 cents to $1.20 per ton, with
the law enforced in some instances. A meeting of the miners is to be
held this Wednesday afternoon, when the matter may be adjusted.
Ironton Register, April 28, 1892 - IRON. - The New York Mail
thus speaks of the market: Stocks of pig iron in hands of mills and
commission agents are unusually large and prices are at bottom, yet
there is no business doing. A number of furnaces went out of blast
during the past six weeks in eastern Pennsylvania and Ohio, but trade
has not been appreciably bettered by it. Leading dealers here say that
before July 1 many other furnaces will blow out, and that then there
will be a better outlook for the stocks now held.
Semi-Weekly Irontonian, November 8, 1907 - It did not take
very much money to erect one of the very early furnaces. The Hot Blast
had not been invented. A small engine at the base of the stack, with
boiler fired by stone coal, furnished the blast for one to two tons of
the rich red outdrop ore and about 250 bushels charcoal. The latter
was made next to the furnace, in clearing ground for houses and
farming. Two ox-carts would haul all the fuel ore and limestone. These
remarks apply to furnace conditions 75 to 80 years ago when Union,
Pine Grove, Lawrence, Mt. Vernon , Hecla and Vesuvius Furnaces were
built. After 1840 furnaces expanded, made more iron with Hot Blast,
and lands costs more.
Morning Irontonian, November 18, 1915 - OLD OLIVE FURNACE SOLD. -
Salle Bros., have bought of Mr. E. Beman, receiver for the Olive
Furnace the old furnace and will begin in a few days to dismantle it
for scrap iron.