“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Eliza Furnace

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Eliza Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, December 9, 2016
1. Eliza Furnace Marker
Inscription.  James Laughlin, one of the founders of Jones & Laughlin, constructed the first Eliza Furnace, a stone blast furnace for smelting iron. Built in 1858 before the Civil War, Eliza marked the city's emerging iron and steel industry and was the first iron furnace built in Pittsburgh since 1794. By Victorian tradition, the furnaces were named after women because they were considered temperamental.

With new technology, Jones & Laughlin rebuilt the Eliza furnace, eventually adding new furnaces.

Molten iron from Eliza was first transported across the river by boat and later by rail cars over the Hot Metal Bridge. There, on the south side of the river, were the Bessemer Converters and open hearths. Steel ingots went back across the river to be rolled or fabricated into sheets, wire, rails, and other products.

Eliza and the other blast furnaces posed an ever-present danger for workers. In 1907, without warning, the No. 2 furnace exploded and burned 14 workers to death.

The tragedy brought steel men from all over the nation to examine Eliza for flaws. None were found.

As Big Steel change, the last Eliza
Eliza Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, December 9, 2016
2. Eliza Furnace Marker
Click or scan to see
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Furnace was shut down on June 22, 1979, and replaced with two electric furnaces across the river on the South Side. These furnaces closed in 1987.
Erected by PA DCNR, Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, City of PIttsburgh, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Appalachian Iron Furnaces, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is June 22, 1979.
Location. 40° 25.577′ N, 79° 57.229′ W. Marker is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County. Marker can be reached from Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Marker is located on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsburgh PA 15213, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Iron and Steel Workers (here, next to this marker); Jones and Laughlin (here, next to this marker); Hazelwood: A Rivertown Rich in History (approx. 0.3 miles away); Materials Handling (approx. half a mile away); The MonCon Railroad (approx. half a mile away); Open Hearth Steel (approx. 0.6 miles
Eliza Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa 1950
3. Eliza Furnace
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
away); Rivers of Steel (approx. 0.6 miles away); Cast Iron Columns (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsburgh.
Also see . . .  Friends of the Riverfront - Three Rivers Heritage Trail. (Submitted on December 9, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 9, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 471 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 9, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Sep. 21, 2021