Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crittenden Furnace - Iron Ore

Crittenden's Iron Furnace Historical Marker

The picture on the right is a marker erected by the Kentucky Historical Society between Dycusburg and Frances. It sits at the junction of Axel Creek Road and S. R. 70. It was erected in 1969. The inscription reads - Crittenden Furnace built 1 mile west of this marker by G. D. Cobb in 1847. Inside dimensions of the furnace were 9 feet across and 30 feet in height. Charcoal fuel was used to generate steam power for the machinery, which in 1855 produced 1300 tons of iron.

The furnace was named for the, then newly formed county of Crittenden (1842), and was one of the last of several iron furnaces built by the Cobb and Lyon families who came to this area in about 1800. The Cobb and Lyon and other families of iron masters came to this part of the country as a result of President Andrew Jackson telling them of the rich iron ore deposits in this area.

On the back side: Iron Made In Kentucky - A major producer since 1791. KY. ranked 3rd in US in 1830's, 11th in 1965. Charcoal timber, native ore,and limestone supplied material for numerous furnaces making pig iron. The old charcoal furnace era ended by depletion of ore and timber and the growth of railroads.

These old iron furnaces were always constructed on a hillside and near a creek. The picture on the right at the top of the page, shows the colorful pieces of slag, a by-produce of producing the iron ore. When iron ore is heated in the blast furnace, the impurities or slag, which contain large quantities of calcium and silica, become molten and are separated from the raw iron. These pieces of slag are very beautiful in color. All shades of blue from this furnace. The Patty's Creek that runs at the foot of the hill were the old furnace used to be still has many pieces of this slag in it's creek bottom. Imagine, after 160 years there are still traces of the slag from the Crittenden Furnace.

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