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Coplay in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Coplay Made Cement: Cement Made Coplay

Saylor Cement Museum

 

ó1894-1904 ó

 
Coplay Made Cement: Cement Made Coplay Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 5, 2015
1. Coplay Made Cement: Cement Made Coplay Marker
Inscription. In 1900, the scene before you was a smelly, dirty, noisy inferno. Trains roared in, carrying coal from the nearby northern anthracite fields and local cement rock, a form of limestone. Day and night smoke and dust belched from the towering kilns. Originally these kilns, taller than they are today, were enclosed in a huge building. Only their tops emerged from an industrial plant that produced vast quantities of cement supplying the demands of a growing nation.

The inventive genius behind the industry was David Saylor (1827-1884). In 1871 Saylor received the first American patent for high-quality Portland cement. By 1894 Saylorís Coplay Cement Company built these kilns. During the plantís heyday, workers loaded endless numbers of bricks made from ground cement rock into the doors at the tops of the kilns. On the second level down, laborers shoveled in coal as fuel. Kiln temperatures above 2000 degrees Fahrenheit transferred the cement rock into chunks of clinker. Carts of clinker clattered into the growing mill to be ground into cement.

By 1900, the Lehigh Valley produced ĺ of all Portland cement used in this country. Despite long hours, hard labor, and clinging cement dust, Eastern European immigrants and local residents flocked to work in local cement mills. Ethnic social clubs and churches helped groups create their own communities.

Coplay Made Cement: Cement Made Coplay Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 5, 2015
2. Coplay Made Cement: Cement Made Coplay Marker
The great size of the kilns could not save them from becoming swiftly obsolete. Across the Lehigh River to Northampton, the Atlas Cement Company built Americaís first rotary kiln, an invention that saved both money and labor. In 1904, the fires these Coplay kilns went out forever. Their ruins survive today because of cooperative efforts among local government, community members, and preservation organizations.

“I saw a great dust flying out of the mills and the men who carried the ground cement away in bags, to load the wagons were covered with dust.”

(Inscription below the image in the upper right)
Blockhouses, a brick factory, grinding mills and other long-gone factory structures live on in this photograph of the cement plant taken about 1900. Today only the kilns remain.
 
Location. 40° 40.589′ N, 75° 29.777′ W. Marker is in Coplay, Pennsylvania, in Lehigh County. Marker is on North 2nd Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 245 North 2nd Street, Coplay PA 18037, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lehigh Valley Rock Suitable for Hydraulic Cement (a few steps from this marker); Saylor Park-Welcome (within shouting distance of this marker); Discovery of Portland Cement

Coplay Cement Kilns image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 5, 2015
3. Coplay Cement Kilns
(within shouting distance of this marker); The Schoefer Kilns (within shouting distance of this marker); First Cement (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Deshler (approx. 1.1 miles away); Walking Purchase (approx. 1.6 miles away); Bryden Horse Shoe Works (approx. 1.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Coplay.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Sign at the entrance to the Saylor Cement Museum image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 5, 2015
4. Sign at the entrance to the Saylor Cement Museum
First Cement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 5, 2015
5. First Cement Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 170 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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