Hopewell Furnace National Park
In about days the pit “comes to foot,” meaning that the wood has been turned into charcoal. Thousands of trees were cut annually to produce the fuel that fired Hopewell’s furnace. View Online Films.
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NPS Illustration. For centuries charcoal was one of three resources that went into making Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt. The other two resources were iron ore and a flux, usually limestone.
It could not simply be mined, but was created through a time-consuming, delicate process. An immense amount of charcoal was required to keep a furnace the size of Hopewell’s running. When it was “in blast,” the furnace would consume as much as bushels of charcoal per day.
Using charcoal to make iron was a processes that came to America from England. By the s, when Hopewell Furnace began making iron, charcoal was the only fuel available. The 19th Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt, however, brought experiments in the process through the use of anthracite or “hard” coal in place of charcoal.
In a Pennsylvania furnace was successful in producing iron using anthracite coal with the use of a hot air blast.
Though iron production with anthracite coal was briefly tried at Hopewell during the s, it did not prove to be economically viable due to the added expense of hauling it to the furnace. A wood chopper cutting down a tree. Thousands of trees were cut annually to produce the fuel that fired Hopewell’s furnace. Hopewell Furnace National Park the furnace’s history, woodcutters were the largest group of furnace employees. Using only axes, saws and splitting tools, woodcutters could produce an average of two cords of wood per day.
The annual requirement for charcoal at Hopewell consumed to cords of wood, or acres of woodlands each year. Despite popular myths, charcoal making did not lead to the deforestation of the area.
The best kind of wood for making charcoal was hardwood trees that were 25 – 30 years old. A furnace with about acres of forest could create a system in which woodcutters would cut what they needed from a specific area, then take measures to prevent livestock from eating the new growth, and decades later, woodcutters would work their way back around to this area and cut again.
Colliers building a charcoal mound. The notched log is an improvised ladder, used to access the top of the mound. Making charcoal Hopewell Furnace National Park constant attention to the charcoal pits, or hearths, which averaged in size from feet in diameter.
From May through October, a collier would live in a makeshift hut with one or two helpers who would tend up to 8 or 9 pits at one time. There could be no break in the vigilant watching of the pits from the moment they were lit until the moment the teamster drove away with the final load of charcoal. The process includes numerous steps: The pit, or hearth, is cleared of vegetation and made as Hopewell Furnace National Park as possible.
An foot long pole of green wood called a “fagan” is driven into the ground at the center of the hearth. A three-cornered chimney with an 8-inch opening is built around the fagan. Wood is added around this chimney in three layered tiers that spread out around the chimney to the edge of the hearth.
The bottom tier is referred to as the “foot,” followed by the “waist” and then the “head” at the top. All possible air holes and spaces are filled in with the remaining pieces of wood. The pit is covered with a layer of leaves and dust. The chimney is filled to Hopewell Furnace National Park a foot of the top with kindling. Red coals from the collier’s cooking fire Hopewell Furnace National Park shoveled into…
Please follow suit: keep social distancing to 6 feet apart and wear a face mask. In the mid 19th century changes in iron making, including a shift from charcoal-fueled furnaces to anthracite -fueled steel mills rendered smaller furnaces like Hopewell obsolete. It could not simply be mined, but was created through a time-consuming, delicate process.