Clay Furnace, Mercer County, Pennsylvania
Clay is on Margargee Run in Jefferson Township. Vincent and Himrod built this furnace in 1845. It was a charcoal furnace at first but the short supply of charcoal caused a change to coke. However coke from local coal was disappointing so splint coal was used(jp/s&t). This coal was a semi-cannel, slatey type of block coal, free from sulphur(jp). This was the first time raw coal was used successfully in a blast furnace. In 1853 Lake Superior ore was used in Clay Furnace and in the Blanche (Sharpsville) Furnace, and that was the beginning of the end for charcoal furnaces and local ore(s&t/jp). Clay furnace was 37' high, with 8.5' bosh and 3 tuyeres. It was abandoned in 1860(jp). Only a few piles of furnace stone indicated the site of the furnace in 1978. Ian Straffin visited this site in 2005, confirmed the location, and found a pile of rubble, a few pieces of the inner stack, and a depression in the ground downhill from the furnace.(P)(V)(rp-1977, is-2005).
Drive west from Mercer on US62 for 8 miles to an historical marker on the right side of the road. Turn north on T496, Clay Furnace Road 2.2 miles. The furnace ruins are against the hillside in an apple orchard to the right. A road (T547?) starts opposite the furnace and goes west.
GPS coordinates 41º 16.090'N - 80º 23.061'W.(is-2005)
Inner Linig Chunk
Inner Lining Piece
Clay Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Ian Straffin, Maedville, Pa., Clay, Iron City (is)
Copyright © Richard Parks, Last updatred January 29, 2009