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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Snow Hill in Worcester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark

Nassawango Iron Furnace

 

—ca. 1828 - 1850 —

 
National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
1. National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark Marker
Inscription. Nassawango is structurally typical of its period while distinctive in several ways: it smelted bog ore; it is principally of brick rather than stone; and of greatest significance, it probably is the earliest surviving American furnace that employed the “hot blast.” By this means--now universally used--the production of pig iron was greatly increased. The cast-iron blast-air “stove” at the top of the furnace stack was installed here ca. 1835, less than a decade after introduction of the process, in England.
 
Erected 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
 
Location. 38° 12.233′ N, 75° 28.15′ W. Marker is near Snow Hill, Maryland, in Worcester County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Old Furnace Road and Millville Road. Click for map. Located within the Furnace-Town Living History Museum. Entrance fees apply. Closed during off-season. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3816 Old Furnace Road, Snow Hill MD 21863, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nassawango Iron Furnace (approx. 1.1 miles away); Askiminokonson Indian Town (approx. 3.5 miles away); Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church
At the top of the Iron Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
2. At the top of the Iron Furnace
Historic marker at the bottom right corner.
(approx. 4.5 miles away); Worcester County Courthouse (approx. 4.5 miles away); 1917      1918 (approx. 4.5 miles away); 1941      1946 (approx. 4.5 miles away); Snow Hill Town (approx. 4.5 miles away); Vietnam War Memorial Marker (approx. 4.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Snow Hill.
 
More about this marker. Located at the top of the iron furnace
 
Also see . . .  Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum. (Submitted on May 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
The remains of the Iron Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
3. The remains of the Iron Furnace
Charging the Furnace & Hot Blast image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
4. Charging the Furnace & Hot Blast
Charging the Furnace
Carts laden with bog ore, charcoal and shells went up the charging ramp to the loaded into the furnace. Piles of these were placed near the opening at the top of the furnace (also called the tunnel head). About every two hours men would shovel and dump measured quantities of these raw materials into the furnace following proportions set by the manager. This was called charging the furnace. A typical charge consisted of 500 pounds of bog ore, 40 pounds of shells, and 25 bushels of charcoal. A baffle, no longer present, was located over the tunnel head and was removed to charge the furnace. The first manager at Furnace Town was Lewis Walker, brought by the Maryland Iron Company to this furnace from a furnace in New Jersey.

Hot Blast
When constructed c. 1828, the Nassawango Iron Furnace used cold blast: a waterwheel powered a set of bellows which forced air-temperature air into the furnace. The cast iron recirculating pipes (or retorts) were placed on the furnace about 1837. They preheated the air which the bellows pumped into the furnace. These pipes were connected by means of intake and downcomer pipes to the bellows chamber. This system of pipes made this a hot blast furnace, more efficient and state-of-the-art for its time.

Two 10-14 foot chimneys rose from the top of the hot blast stove (which was completely covered with brick) to take off noxious gases produced by combustion. Residents of Furnace Town remarked of the constant brilliant orange flame, said to be visible for miles, at the tops of these chimneys.
Mill Race & Overview image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
5. Mill Race & Overview
Below is the depression remaining from the mill race. In the 1840's water from a 300 acre pond (now woodland) flowed through a gate in the dam (now Old Furnace Road) into the mill race. This water provided power for the water wheel.

From this position ironworkers could easily view the warehouses, the Ironmaster's Mansion, and the various town buildings. Some 5000 acres of trees had been cut for the furnace project: to make room for the 25-acre town area: to supply wood for lumber for the town, and to make the charcoal needed to fuel the furnace.
Mill Race from top of Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Nate Davidson, August 2, 2010
6. Mill Race from top of Furnace
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. This page has been viewed 483 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Nate Davidson of Salisbury, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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