CHRONOLOGY OF IRON AND STEEL
NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE AREA
The first Catalan forge in Plattsburg, N. Y. was built.
Levi Highbey and George Throop erected an iron works at Wilisboro Falls, on Lake Champlain, N. Y.
In the same year, Liberty Newman erected iron works at the upper falls in Ticonderoga, N. Y.
During this same period, we find records indicating the erection of a rolling mill on the Boquet River near Essex, N. Y. These plates were shipped to a nail factory in Vermont.
One of the oldest iron works in Essex County was established at New Russia, N. Y. It was repeatedly rebuilt and operated until about 1866. The ore used here was obtained from the New Russia mine, situated a half mile from the works. A part of the ore was also obtained from the Fisher Hill Ore Bed.
William Bailey erected a forge on the Chateaugay River about five miles below the outlet of Lower Chateaugay Lake, N. Y. which was operated for a few years. He probably obtained his ore from an old opening known as the Prall Vein. Its location and description are identical with 81 mine, Chateaugay Ore Bed.
At Ferronia, N. Y., in the Town of Ausable, what is known as the Arnold Iron Mine was discovered by Samuel Baker.
Archibald Mclntire erected iron works within the limits of the present town of North Elba, Essex County, N. Y. The ore used in the beginning was found nearby, but was soon abandoned in favor of ore from the Arnold bed in Clinton County.
Subsequent to the year 1809 extensive iron works were established in Wilmington on the west branch of the Ausable River. Ore, transported from the Palmer Hill mine, was used in the forges.
We also find some small forges located at Lower Jay, N. Y. The ore used here was also obtained from the Palmer Hill mine.
A rolling mill was constructed and operations commenced in 1816 by the Keeseville Rolling and Slitting Mill Company of Keeseville, N. Y. The principal product of the company was the manufacture of nail-plate which was subsequently cut into strips for the manufacture of horse shoe nails.
Major James Dalliba, in connection with John D. Dickenson of Troy, erected the first furnace at Port Henry. The ore used was obtained from a vein near the furnace. The iron made was shipped to Troy, N. Y., until 1827 when the production of pig iron was abandoned and the works turned to the manufacture of stoves and hollow-ware.
The Chateaugay Ore Body, at what is now Lyon Mountain, N. Y.. was supposed to have been discovered by a trapper named Collins.
The Peru Iron Company, located in the Ausable Valley of New York, was organized with a capital of $200,000.00, operating forges and rolling mills along the river.
About this same time, Zephaniah Palmer, a surveyor from the vicinity of Ausable Forks, N. Y., discovered iron ore outcroppings. Ore from this mine was sold mainly to the Peru Iron Company; however, being lower in metallic iron than the Arnold ore, it required concentration. In 1837 a separator was built on the Ausable River at Clintonville, N. Y.
The first forge in the town of Saranac, N. Y., on the Saranac River, was built by Hull, Hopper and Baker. The ore was obtained from the Arnold Ore Bed, located about fourteen miles away.
In the subsequent years it was rebuilt, new machinery installed and it became one of the largest and most efficient forges in the Adirondacks. The ore used was obtained from the Tremblay mine, near Redford, N. Y.
Two blast furnaces were finished and put in operation at Clintonville, N. Y. They were charged with wood and charcoal, and blown by cold blast. Ironware as well as pig iron was made here, the castings being poured direct from the furnace. In January, 1828, a cable factory, manufacturing large ship anchors and iron cables, was erected.
Approximately three miles west of Essex Village, N. Y., Gould, Ross and Low erected and operated a rolling mill for the fabrication of bars and iron plates from blooms.
A four-fire forge was built six miles west of the Lake on Putnams Creek, near Crown Point, N. Y. A good grade of iron was evidently manufactured at this plant, for records indicate an order received from the government for a large quantity of this iron, which was to be fabricated into chain cables.
The first forge at Morrisonville, N. Y. was built by Herman Smith and Josiah Wilcox. However, the freshet of 1830 destroyed it, ending the iron business at Morrisonville.
Burt and Vanderwalker erected a four-fire forge at Ausable Forks, N. Y. They procured their ore from the Palmer Hill mine, located two miles north of the village.
J. & J. Rogers began making iron at Black Brook, N. Y., hauling the ore for their forges from Arnold Hill.
A mining company of ten men was formed and purchased what is known as the Averill ore beds, located in the vicinity of Dannemora, N. Y.; but the Company did nothing to develop them at this time.
Herman and Cyrus Cady built a forge at Cadyville, N. Y., located a few miles above Morrisonville on the Saranac River.
Sailly & Averill erected a forge on the Saranac River between the villages of Morrisonville and Cadyville, N. Y. In 1837 Sailly & Averills forge was destroyed by fire. In its stead they erected a forge consisting of two fires and a hammer in one end, run by Mr. Sailly, and two fires and a hammer in the other end, run by Mr. Averill. In connection with this four-fire forge, they had a large rolling mill for making wagon axles, etc.
The Rogers began making iron at Ausable Forks, N. Y. During this same period, iron manufacture flourished throughout this valley at Wilmington, New Sweden and Clintonville. Near the Arnold ore bed was the two-fire Batty forge, and above that the Etna blast furnace, operated under the name of the Peru Smelting Company.
During this period, Goulding and Peabody erected a foundry, employing about sixty men, casting the principal machinery for all the forges, saw mills, grist mills, in the valleys of Ausable and Saranac, at Keeseville, N. Y. They used the Port Henry, N. Y. pig iron.
In subsequent years the iron-workers in this valley manufactured such things as wire and horseshoe nails. One Daniel Dodge invented, received a patent for, and manufactured the first machine for turning out, mechanically, forged horseshoe nails.
The Merriams, father and son, erected and operated the Stower forge at Lewis, N. Y., located about five miles from Elizabethtown, N. Y. The forge contained three fires, and used ore procured from Moriah.
The CaIdwell mine, the first mine opened in the Saranac Valley, was operated by Cashman. During the period between 1841 and 1844 the owners of the property erected a separator and a four-fire forge. This mine is located at Clayburg, N. Y., and is now owned by the Chateaugay Ore and Iron Company.
Peter Tremblay discovered and opened the Tremblay mine. This mine, which produced a good grade of ore, was located one mile south of Redford, on the south side of the Saranac River, and is now owned by the Chateaugay Ore and Iron Company.
Charles K. Averill and F. L. C. Sailly bought up the interests of the Averill ore beds at Dannemora, N. Y. They opened the mine, built a separator, and did a lively business for a number of years. The business was subsequently conducted by Burton, Chittenden & Company and finally abandoned.
The first iron ore separator using water jigs in the town of Moriah, near Mineville, N. Y., was built by Eliphalet Hall.
The first forge at Russia, N. Y. was established by Spaulding & Parsons.
Hammond & Bogue erected a furnace at Crown Point, N. Y. The ore was obtained from the bed owned by the firm, located about a mile from the works. The product was shipped to the Bessemer Steel Works at Troy, N.Y.
On the north side of the Saranac River, at Plattsburg, N. Y., Hobart & Hedges built a six-fire Catalan forge, which in 1873 was replaced by a six-fire Catalan forge, erected by Mr. Christopher Norton.
A forge was built at Russia, N. Y., by Jackson & Stearns. The ownership of this forge subsequently changed hands many times. Among the owners we find in 1856, the Company of Lee, Sherman & Witherbee of Port Henry, N. Y. In 1864, it came under control of Parsons & Company of Saranac, N. Y. In 1872, it was obtained by Andrew Williams and C. F. Norton; and in 1878 it became the possession of the firm of Williams & Moffitt.
A six-fire forge was erected at Valley Forge, N. Y., a half mile south of Elizabethtown and about eight and one-half miles from Westport, N. Y. This forge obtained its ore from the Burt mine, a distance of about ten miles.
The Westport forge, located about four miles from Westport on the Boquet river, contained three fires and one hammer. It worked Moriah ore, transported by land from Westport. It was owned by W. P. and P. D. Merriam.
The original Port Henry furnace was demolished and a larger one built. The ore was obtained from the Cheever bed, located nearby.
Francis H. Jackson erected, at a cost exceeding $100,000.00, the Westport Furnace. It was located in the North West bay, about one mile from Westport village. Its product was pig iron and was made from ore from the Cheever bed.
Messrs. McIntyre, Robertson and Henderson built a blast furnace at Tahawus, Essex County, N. Y., for smelting titaniferous iron ore from the immense deposits located there. The old furnace still stands.
A forge was built at Elsinore, N. Y., by Moore and Gillman.
Witherbee, Sherman & Company, of Mineville, N. Y., began experiments with magnetic separation in this year. but it was not until the 80s that magnetic separation became commercial.
It is interesting to note that, at Port Henry, the old charcoal furnaces were repaired and anthracite was substituted for charcoal as fuel. The ores used were obtained from both the Cheever and Barton beds.
One of the blast furnaces completed in this year at Port Henry, N. Y., is said to have been the first furnace ever made completely incased in an iron shell. It was 46 feet high with a 15 foot bosh.
The Fairbanks Mine, on top of the mountain back of Dannemora, N. Y., was opened by Jason Fairbanks. It was worked some by him, and subsequently by Andrew Williams and by the State: but it proved too lean and inaccessible, finally being abandoned.
A new forge was built at Plattsburg, N. Y., to replace the Sailly & Averill plant. They manufactured slabs for boiler plates, blooms, and refined billets.
The Ausable Horse-Nail Company was formed, with a capital of $40,000.00, at Ausable Forks, N. Y. They began operations with ten machines and sold during the first year one hundred tons of nails.
At Irondale, about one mile above the Forks of the Saranac River, Peter Tremblay built a forge and separator. He used ore from the mine bearing his name.
The Ticonderoga Iron Company, under the direction of W. E. Calkins, erected a six-fire forge at the Lower Falls, about two miles from the steamboat landing at Ticonderoga, N. Y. The ore used was shipped from Port Henry, N.Y.
The Fletcherville furnace was blown in. It was located about eight miles northwest of Port Henry. It was owned by S. H. and J. G. Witherbee and F. P. Fletcher. The ore was obtained from the companys mines located nearby. A large proportion of the iron produced here was used in the Bessemer works at Troy, N. Y.
Thomas F. Witherbee was one of the first furnace managers in the United States to use the chemical laboratory in connection with the regular operation of the furnace. He started this practice when operating the Fletcherville charcoal blast furnace, about this year, near Mineville, N. Y.
At Irona, in the town of Altona, N. Y., Asa Reynolds built a four-fire forge. The ore used at first was transported from the Port Henry and Arnold Hill mines, but later brought from the vicinity of Lower Chateaugay Lake.
Foot, Mead, Waldo and Weed made a contract with Edmund Rogers, son of Lloyd N. Rogers, for the working of the Chateaugay ore beds, and began the development of the properties.
Frank Palmer erected a five-fire forge at Altona, N. Y. Like the Reynolds forge, Palmer at first obtained his ore from Port Henry and Arnold Hill, subsequently changing to that of the Chateaugay Ore Bed.
The top of the Fletcherville blast furnace near Mineville, N. Y., was closed with a four-foot bell and hopper. This was one of the first furnaces in the United States to adopt a closed top. Anthracite was tried because of a shortage of charcoal The furnace was raised to a height of 60 feet and the tunnel head increased to eight feet diameter.
Bowen and Signor obtained ownership of the Hull, Hopper and Baker forge in Saranac Lake, N. Y. on the Saranac River. The forge was improved and enlarged, making it one of the most up-to-date in the Valley.
A new rolling mill, nail factory and foundry were built at Ausable Forks, N. Y., by J. & J. Rogers.
Operations of a ten-fire Catalan forge were begun by Pope, Williams & Company of Plattsburg, N. Y., at Belmont, N. Y., on the Chateaugay River, just below the outlet of Lower Chateaugay Lake. Ore was obtained for the forges from the famous Chateaugay ore beds.
A dam was built at the outlet of Lower Chateaugay Lake, furnishing water power for operating the Catalan forges at Belmont, N. Y.
The first set of Siemens-Cowper-Cochrane fire brick hot blast stoves erected in this country was built at one of the Crown Point furnaces in Essex County, N. Y.
On March 15th, the iron works at Belmont, N. Y. were bought and operated by the Chateaugay Ore and Iron Company, of Lyon Mountain, N. Y., which was also the owner of the Chateaugay Ore Bed.
At this time there were about 277 forges in the Champlain district, Northern New York. They included 11 71 forge fires, and produced nearly 44,000 tons in this calendar year. In 1890, the number of forges had been reduced to 14, with 102 fires. Their production in 1889 was only 12,397 net tons of blooms.
The McIntyre Iron Company engaged in an extensive series of experiments to determine the feasibility of smelting titaniferous ores of the Sanford district in Essex County, N. Y.
At Port Henry, N. Y., Witherbee, Sherman & Company completed a new concentrating plant with a capacity for treating 1400 tons of crude ore in nine hours, the largest iron ore concentrator of its type in the world.