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Full text of "The Mount Savage Iron Works / [H. Redford Aldridge]"

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"'ilk, u-uni" £a,y*G& iaoK "orks. 

It is not commonly known to the people liv- 
ing in this rightfully named Iron Age, that the slate 
of dryland 7aE one of the first and in fact, a leading 
producer of iron during her early history. From Colon- 
ial days on up to the Civil 7ar, Maryland it on ranked 
high among that produced by the various elates. Scatter- 
ed throughout the state were a number of email furnace e 
capable of producing an average of .iGGC tons of iron 
annually, a pitifully Email amount when compared with 
the furnace e of the present day; yet a wonderful feat 
when the arudeness of operation is considered. Severaj. 
factors combined to clause the death of the iron industry 
in this state. 

In the first place, these furnaces depended on 
email deposits of ore located at many points in tne state 
for their supply. These ores were, for the most part, poor 
in iUality anjf of on insufficient quantity to sue Lai., any 
large scale operations. With the discovery of the ore 
deposits around Lake Superior, earce the death of the "the 
struggling industry and the end of a dream, a dream of 
successful manufacture in the face of overpowering odds. 
Poor transportation, slow and tedious operation, and small 

mtlty production ail ailed in this downfall. It Is 
with one of the larger and perhaps the most historic of 
these industries that this paper deals, 



history of the iron industry at Mount 
. . hieh is located in a.llegany County, must 

be divided between t~'o branches, eaoh en . ',e 

und lletinct in its operation; but both being oper- 
ated 1 company, -hose two iivisione 
Blast Furnaces, und the Rolling Mill, 

It was in the year 19,34 that the firi 
the furnaces was erected, a. second followed almost 

ediately and a r e- years later construction on ^ 
third "as started. These furnaces "'ere originally 
owned un a ed by an 3 Lsh concern but It 

a . the proprty of the ' tvage Iron ''cr„ ' 

an n.'nei. .- company- It as 

ho alsc ted tin .^iing Mill, it, too, 

ing taken over by the ~ 
the oper Ln 1947 upon the 'a of r- 

. - n. r J.he hist peration c 

ill be ' 
. b^sis of the i . -y. 

The two older fuma □ r he 

SOUlh " i tV lit: Of 

Uqz iva the opp< iist- 

iBt, the third us ltua . he ru : 
of the old- ' . ire still ut c r 

' , nc : - . and . I .. 




in ihe me-i - 'acti of 

fire-brick, buried tfceee ruin? under a dump of lay. 
It the last , alone, that ex- 

ne have brou< ' _ ' • . 

ine photogra - rhow the ruins cf the fu*- 

lc ation as they are at 

of gritH*"" 



I &2 



Locurion J/re^* 


I older fur: "e ceirpleted in 194C und 

operated intermittently frcin I ■ iire until about 

19" • :. .3 ft .. rted in 1945 but -"as never 

lined and* at the presen' , - p o is : 

irk it: ■_ ion. 


intent! . 
of nsj rte of the Goal Basin, i 

ay, bi 
"fossil** on .£e itself, ^"r their 

supply. Evi I en f thi 

. ■ ' he furmi 


•oris avail 
, in 1844, A f pig iron en u. forty 's 

in 1846, . <i.^° tona 

for ' these t-^c fur- 

ee in thi .s of the la fc in the- Un ' 

first '' 
and 'vere conside: ultra in bluet furnace c< 


the tivil "-- P - 

run ttounl ; en th< 

for tht. bhey 

- ° *' ■ i f 


umi ••as never p, ' Lnterei 

tii-' .. ters 

in 1849, in ELlt ; .r;;ore , it "as reported thut previous 

to the passage of the I iriff in 18*6, 

furn. wad 5 rolling mills in Haryland, 

11 furn.-. J ; rolling mills had closed . 

rj Lai ' luction thrown in by t- 

urcrs. Ihii ore entering intc 

of the original operatives and sub; 
erution by the Mount S^v^ge Iron *orks. Previous 
this tin.t , snij for is higJ ': . 

per ten while the corl F refininj i - ely, exoeeu- 
ed $24. OC per ton. * decline in profile or in ed 

ofits in the brick business are the ily reasons 
offered for the final shi m an^i these reasons are 

not authentic;. 

IThese furnaa e s were of the rt ate an , h ot - ul 

coke" type, constructed entirely of stone and rectangu- 
lar in shape. The inside of the original furnaces were 
lined with fire-brick which mat imported from .j. 

The two older *u built in one unit with 

ire cenr Lon reenforced by i ' ay-rods on the 

end) were bolted circular iiscs 18" in diam- 

eter and weighing about EC poui oh, Tbfl rugpednese 

of construction can be peen from the preceding pict- 
ures -hiob <r f taken nearly one hundred ye.,n later. 


The baete of the -unit wae built against a hill. his 
*-^s the customary method during that period eince it 
facilitated charging the furnace, .he furnaces were 
generally located at some jirtance from the ore sup- 
ply, the ore being transported in the familiar dump- 
cart, a vae built from the hill to the 
top of the stack oni the ore hauled across and lump- 
ed. II 0.3 furnace "as different from the others In that 
it was built in the open and "as intended for derrick 

In shape and eiae, the three ^ere nearly 
alike, ri rt furnace prop*-. . > ire in shape 

I built in the form of a itack which fcaj i to- 

rd the top. The furnaoes at Mouat Savage -.'ere I 
t high and 15 feet wi te at the bosh. Material 
covering the exa<jt size of the older group cannot be ■ 
found; but from the area covered by the ruins it 
grafl approximately 50 ft. by . trea and the 

iler stack some distance higher th<*n t b. 
at the front brick lined, cavern shaped rcom, 

out SO feet high, the width and 3C or 40 fe« 
deep. This was the combined engine and boiler room, 
either, were located the "gs to the fnn 

i adjoining rooxm . Similar openings occurei on the 
outside. Through Iron 

and slag. Runninj g one ride of this 
h iron . | 


*" et«ttia 1 .et. 411 
rc ' - La t] Thich 

show the ports • the 1 


Dir 3 ' ■' the 

boiler draft, in U the fornucee, 

BUtol] It£ to 

P ht£ ro< -e 


t in 



• records of the p 

ion toe the prcceee of the 

iron rae La ume at tJu.t of the j it 

time, it is qo1 Ba,ry to gc into that ph^ee of 

the Euh. . it to p.ay I ; 

not of the :uulJ &e,in u 

ltirge meaeiwe, due ta th r 

Ic of r- bine, 



Statement of Wouk and Cost of Iron for A^^^A, aiding Jv ^Se^u, 




Limes to sw 



J* charges a /'^y J "" 

It*, t-a. 


Tons /fl- 60 

Fossil Tend /#>. *^ 2/f" f# 
Cross Cut a//"" «* ^ 

South Branch .... 
.«/^i?<i^^s<Cindur " " • • *& Z ' 0*7 

Clear Spring 
Sera j) Iron 

. $/#,,*# 

t\& Iron mode • •.«■«»•• 
il - nil tore pfOrefl ^/^lOO per conl, or ^ 100 tone Ore per ton Iron 



Cokn used per ton Iron £ • 23 tor.s a ? */-"^"# 


Fossil / ^/ tons s$ /-^? 

Cross Cut - 
South Brsnun 
^y.'rao IrSti 



- zt 



tVnges, ptr linui list, inclusive of tnlnrj- of Manager, 


8 JJ/-ff&iil&c& hy /^ totis 

tfek^a Coa.1 to Engine /^/^?ytO!is a £ /' 2 divided by / > ^/ 





Hatcriate, per Store and oljier accounts, vfi; Oil, Wk'', Hemp, Packing Tarn, Steel, Leather, Shovels, Buck ets, 

;d otji.. 

Cost of onfr tQtf Fig Iroli 


& I w\ 


2/ \ft 

original record zaynn from only remaining records, 
All other records of the company were lost in the irnut 
3a It in ore fire. 

tf'i. SaVag. Iron Works, V 

0^ c/«^ 



Statement of Work and Cost of Ikon for y^t^-^y^ ending J V' 



Li cues tone 



charges a 


Cross Cut - 

South Branch 

.y/i-t Cinder 

Clear Spring 
Scrap Iron 

lbs. ea. 

To™ /4/-Jff 

Tons 6 Jttf ■ J<J " 

J 85 

Fig Iron made .■•••»••• 
T i k i)ti of above mixture of Orca J^ 100 per Pent. Or ^/ 100 tons Ore per ton Iron 

Tons J t 

I Jp 

Coke wed por ton Iron ^'J/ tons a $ e/-"^- 

Limefltona " " " /■/$ " a • ^//^* ' 

Ores u " " Fossil J 1 -^ tons a $ J-#V 




CrossCut tf-2j' 
South Branch 
Cinder tf -Jg/ 

Si; ran Iron 


Wage?, per time list, inclusive of enlary of Manager, 
f //?/• /? divided by *^ 2 toes ,-.......-.. 

Teal to Engine J'jo Vlons a 8 /'$# divided by J 3% I Tuna 

iTnii'itftls, per Store and other account?, viz; Oil, Tallow, Hemp, Packing Yarn, Steel, Leather, Shovels, Buckets, 

p </ Coot ofCne ton Fig Iron - $ 





tape Iron Works, J 
1SS S 


- s- 

ere In turn 
die; - ._ - 

the present day. 

... ..... 

Old R^il Mill, f 

iH ia43. IN This Mill Was RpLLED> 1844 /The FjRST 50UP" 

TF\AOt^R/*IL Made IH The United 5TATE5 of America.- 

of the p 
r of i-iii Lli eriod 



On tha Sight of the oresen'' 
Fire Brick Torke «ae located the Count lavage RolU 

il, erected by t. 1 . i York Iron and Goal Company. 

It .ith the blast furnaces operated 

by the Fame company, to the Ii-ount lavage Iron Comp- 
any, later knovn as the Union Liinir:_ pany, 
has been previously mentioned in connect ' ith the 
furnacee. The initial step? tc-"'ard the erection of 
the mill *"ere taken in 1839; but it was not until 
1843 thut 1 .. completed. During ' arly oper- 

ion, it achieved a i • ie fame for the nuality 

of the railroad rails it product 

Ti l1 over it? claim to historical 

recognition because of th< fact that, in 1044, the 
first solid iron rai-road rail irade In tL 

rolled . ,j.ll rails, up to this tir 

.1 e of wood, -ith strap-iron facing, 
rail 'at . " lity, not solid being of the inverted 


"U" type, and hollo v In the center. It ^eighod 42 
pounds to the yard . as in ^ales as + . 

.atent of the" 3o.vlais Iron 7orke" located at 

rthyr Tydvil. This rail was intended to be laid on 
u longitudinal Tooden sill to which it faster 
by means of un iron clump device which keyed under the 
sill and thus did a.vay 7ith the numerous outside 

.-■teninge used in the old type. The following sket- 
ch shove a ore it ion of the rail and sill and a 
▼ lew of the clamp dra~ - n from written data on the same, 
.i. portion of the original rail can be seen in the 
J&ltimore office of the Union fining Co., located in 
the equitable Building of the sa- 
in honor of this event, the Franklin Insti- 
tute of Philadelphia, Pa., awarded the company a 
silver medal. This w«b in Ge toner if the same year. \o^\ 
The medal is no.; a part of the collection in the 
museum of Ince Blundell of Lancashire England. 

rly in 1844, nearly 5GC tons of these rails 


,<?ere rolled and laid as u part of the tracks of the 
Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad, the> being 
built from Cumberland to Mount Savage. Later in the 
Paine year, the Kill produced a "T" rail .?hich .veigh- 
ed 50 pounds to the yard uni which were supplied for 
a special order of Colonel Borlen of Fall River, 

"acbus setts. They iere used on the railroad from 
Full River tc Boston. During the years of 1945 and 
1946, through the firm of iianning and Lee of Balti- 
more, these rails were also sold to other Boston 
purchasers. The mill continued in operation until 
1956. a report of the company for 1955 showed a 
production of 8350 tons of rails. The mill was- dis- 
mantled in 19^5 to rr.ake room for enlargements to the 

present brick plant. 

It is a peculiar thing In the business 

world that one industry often tends to absorb another. 

This happened to the iron industry at Mount Savage. 

Fire -brick lining for the furnaces und mill were 


imported from Knglund by the original operators. 
7hile searching for better deposits of ore, they 
iiscovered the Savape Mountaic vein of fire clay. 
.». small plant vae erected for the manufacture of fire 
brick to supply the needs of the company, and, as tests 
proved this clay to be of a superior quality for blast 
furnace usage, the ranufacture of fire brick gradually 
came to the front with a correspond ig deoline of the 
iron industry ending with complete in-cperation. 

The mill contained 37 heating furnaces and 
2 trains of steam driven rolls. The furnaces were of 
the Clemen's typg, using coal gas for fuel. The gas 
producer used the seci- bituminous coal of the George's 
Creek fields and the gae produced was stored in a 
receiver known to the populace as 'The big egg", be- 
cause of its Ehape. 

Ihe manufacture of coal gas was at that time 
an innovation. It consisted primarily of the same 


prooess in use at the present time, namely; the comb- 
uEtion of the coal in a limited Eupply of air. <t re- 
port on one of these producers published in 1975, 
commented on the fact that operation iT "ae continuous 
for months at a time if proper care w&t used in firing. 

Since this mill ^as built before the "steel 
era 1 , its product ^-us in the nature of a semi- stec j i 
in vhich one half of the material was pig-iron and the 
remaining half old scrap rails, Ihie necessitated the 
process of "' puddling'' which was done by hand. For this 
purpose a number of men were employed to stir the iron, 
as it ^as heated in the puddling furnace, -.7ith long 
rods. This procedure brought the Elag una other impur- 
ities to the surface from which it was remcved. Mr, 
Samuel Banks, superintendent of the mill, invented 
a rotary mechanical 'puddler" ^hich was in all prob- 
ability used at this mill, although no authentic in- 
formation can be founi on the subject other than the 
fact that it was developed there. 


Ih« following from "Hunt's & ere twits' 
Aiiga2ine"for the year 1349, will probably give a 
more interesting account than any present lay ln- 
fo?i»atlc>n d«»«14 d"t- 

* iisi Bnglieh Company was formed about 15 

years ago to manufacture iron, at kount Savage, but 

owing partly to mistaken mismanagement, and partly to 

the alterationof the tariff, they failed in business 

and about two years ago were soli out by the Sheriff, 

'Jhcir works consist of three blast furnaces, among the 

largest in the United States, the blast of which is 

carried on by a minster Bteaa engine, erected at a cost 

of $72,000, a puddling furnace and a rolling mill large 

enough to employ 600 men, a foundry, a fire-brick y^ri, 

a store, 580 houses for workmen, etc. **f*llZ*ltliti^* 

besiiee iron and coal mines. From the balance sheets of 

the company, the works appear to have cost $1,600,000. 

She whole "? u s soli to a company consisting of citizens 

of Albany, Hew York and Boston for a little over $2l0,G0C, 


Thie company is now busy malting arrangements to open 
as soon ae the price of railroad iron Ehall be su«h aB 
admit of successful competition with the hnglish ^rt- 

. , ****** 4***************** 

The iiount S^v^ge establishment -hen in op- 
eration employs nearly four thousand workmen, mostly 
foreigners. These men are so banded together umong 

themselves, an! i ". f ith workmen of other establishments 
that they will remain idle or work at other businesses 
at one half what the company couIj. afford to give them, 
rather than abate one cent from iheir wages, Puadiers, 
vho formerly received $3.CC to $6.00 per ton could t 

earn *2.50 per ton, but they prefer to work in the 
mines or on 'he canal for one half the amount. It is 
to be hoped that before long a peace in lurope, an 
alteration of the tariff, or a return of reaEon on the 
part of the workmen, will bring the superior artiole 
made at Kount Savage into pMieral use on railroads. " 


Thie company is now busy making arrangements to open 
ue eoon as the price of railroad iron shall be sueh ae 
admit of successful competition with the English art- 


The Mount Savage establishment -hen in op- 
eration employs nearly four thousand workmen, mostly 
foreigners. These men are so banded together among 

themselves, and <vith workmen of other establishments 
that they will remain idle or work at other businesses 
at one half ""hat the company coal -i afford to givt then;, 
rather than abate one cent from their ?ages. Puudiers, 
.7ho formerly received $3.CL to JB.OC per ton could now 

earn *3.50 per ton, but they prefer to work in the 
mines or on I he canal for one half the amount. It is 
to be hoped that before long u peuce in i-urope, an 
alteration of the tariff, or a return of reaEon on the 
part of the workmen, will bring the superior article 
made at Kount Eavage into general use on railroads. rt 


This extract completes the history of the 
birthplace of an industry which is, to-day, world wide. 
Born to aid the progress of the railroad, it e . its 

rpose und.ufter a useless struggle, surrendered to 
the forces of centralized industry. 


Very little written material has been preser- 
ved, especially that relating to the actual construction 
c ** these works una this paper is, for the most part, 
b.^sed on the knowledge of those people who '•■•ere con- 
nected in some way with them. Brief articles are to 
be found in several books o.nj>. papers relating to the 
early ircn Indus 1 ;ry, most of t] uteriul being 

found at the Congressional Library in "ashington, D. . 
There iB still sufficlen" lining portions of the 

blast furnaces to substantiate records and information 
earning them; but that relating to the Hoi ling Kill 
found from written records. 
Li1 Pol b of the information in this 

er mast be given to the following authors and pub- 

"iley': * *n Iron Trade Manual 91874), rt 

Information ing the Blast Furnace?. 

Refers . anks. 


'Iron oree of Maryland ' . 
.rial covering the entire industry. 

tlB* 'Maryland Directory"' (1979). 
Authentic info r ma of the first rail. 

. Char lee Qc md. 

Original sketch of U 33 u. 
11 phot 


Supplementary Material, 

Extracts from deeds recorded in the State of Maryland 
as a basis for the material in the preceding paper. 

Act of 1837 - chap. £18. A n act to incorporate the ''Hew 
ifork Iron & Coal Company.- Passed Tar eh 12, 1838. 

"3e it enacted by the General assembly of Maryland, that 
Lewis Powell, ^enj. B. Howell and Henry *. . Howell, and all and 
every person who shall become associated with them in the 
manner herinafter described, shall be, and they are, hereby in- 
corporated by the name of the .'"aryland & Hew York Iron & Coal 
C om pa ny- . 

.&nd be it enacted that the eapital .:toch of said company 
shall consist of 5000 shares of $100.00 each, of which the land" 
and mines of the said Lev/is Lowell in Allegany County, shall 
constitute a part, at such price as may be agreed upon between 
him on the one part, and those who may associate with him and 
constitute the aforesaid corporation, etc'.' 

Ehe amount of capital stock shall be at no time in etcesa 
of 600,000 shares of ;100.00 each'.' 

Transact. iona snowing the first signs of approach - 

intr failure. 

M. J. Y. Sron & Coal com. any to Samuel genomes, Liber No.-l 
folio 778 - June -9, 1846. 

"Ufa 3 standing in need of $$0,000 and the President and Board 
of Directors thereof, having passed a resolution authorising the 

President to negotiate said, loan with interest 

Said mortgage included 9 miles of Railroad from Mt. ravage 
to Cumberland, Lid., mines, furnaces, all equipment, horses, rules, 
all personal property, etc'.' 

-»ec. 3, 1846. 

Liber 2, folio 212. 
Said company to Joseph Veld, Jhomas Weld, -- Blundell, 

John holliott Powell i. n d Kobt. S. palmer, 

all of the 3072 7/8 acres of land known as Mount Favaere, etc 

Jan. 8, 1848. 
liber 4, folio 19. 
Moses iiawlin^s, sheriff 

John F- V. ins low and Erastus Corning. 

"Wheras on the 26th day of July. 1847, a certain writ 

of fieri facias etc. 

All lands, mills, furnaces, brick yard, etc., except 

the property to Harriett Weld. (Ilote: The was the wife of H.T. 
..eld one of the original owners whom it is said, took the oppor- 
tunity to transfer some property to lis wife before the failures) 

First sheriff's sale on 0ct T 7, 1847. no bidders. 
Sold to bidder on Hot. 11, 1847 for $ 29,512.00. 

J'.i". 8, 1848. 
Liber 4'. folio 26. 


Moses Hav/linrs, sheriff 

John If* Forbes 

Same as above except the }irice was fill, 710. 00. 

Act of 1846'. Sec em'b er a e s s 1 on Chap. 297. 

"An act to Incor orate the Lulworth Iron Company. 
Passea March 1, 1847. 

Samuel ^mnna, John G. Lynn, S. Palmer, H. 2. Weld, 
Jonathan Guest etc. 

Capital stock $600,000.00-- - Limit of |l t 000,000.00 

Act of lB37~^C"hap. 57. 

^An act to change the name of the lulworth Iron Co. 
to the Mount ! ; avage Iron Company passed Feb. 7, 1048. 

(author's note: The following extracts list the final 
stage of the evolution of the Iron industry at Mt- ravage and 
its subsequent cessation.) 

Act of 1864 Chap. 337. 

"An act to incorporate the Union Mining Company of 

allege ny County. Passed March 10, 1864. 

Ca. itsl ^1,600,000.00 

Feb. 28, 1870. 
liber 30, folio 561. 

"Consolidation Coal Company to the Mt- lavage Fire BricF 
and Mining Co. (Uote: This was the original firebrick works) all 
of described d«ed from the Mount ravage Iron Company. 

The two companies above mentioned then convey same to 
the Union Mining Comijany." 

author's Note: The above records may be found in the f tate 
House at Annapolis, Maryland and serve to validify the statements 
made in the body of thin paper. 

H. Eeford ^ldridge. 

Union Mining* Company 


Mount Savage,Md. 

"Mount Savage" 
Fike Kick k Works 


Ootober 13th, 1926. 


Dean A. V, Johnson, 
University of Maryland, 
College Park, Md. 

Dear Sir:- 

I enclose yon herewith, 
paper which you do kindly sent my son, 
Reford Aldridge, several weeks ago. 

I trust this will reaoh 
you promptly, and wish to thank you 
for your kindness in mailing this to 

Yours very truly,