Charcoal iron furnace 1837 - 1862, Springfield Furnace, early iron industry in Mercer County, PA.

This conjecture illustrates the Springfield Iron Furnace ca. 1850. It was the first Iron Furnace of Mercer County Pennsylvania and operated from 1837-1862. Click HERE to view a detailed version. 160 years later Bruno's new jewelry store will sit about right in the center of this drawing on the high shelf on solid bedrock.... AND WHAT A VIEW!

This early industrial site was located in a now overgrown area of sylvan loveliness alongside the beautiful Springfield waterfall. Excavation has revealed various aspects of the ironmaking operation to be of interest to historians, archaeologists, and the casual visitor to Mercer County with an interest in cultural and industrial heritage.

In the spring of 2007 archaeologist Dr. John R. White of Youngstown State University and Associates began a dig which continues today. The remains and relics have exposed some incredible 19th century industrial techniques, raw materials and local history, as well as presented countless untold riddles which we plan to present on this website.

Points of Interest

A large portion of the actual Springfield Furnace remains after 5 years of debris removal.

Intact blacksmith’s fireplace/forge used for making product and tools..

Stone water wheel pit that supported a 38 foot diameter wooden wheel (second tallest in the United States). The giant wheel produced 150 horse power to drive blowing tubs (bellows), thus forcing air into the furnace to produce temperatures of 2500 degrees needed to melt iron.

Very visible quarrying marks show that furnace builders quarried the giant stones from the gorge walls to build the furnace.

The original Ironmaster’s House is one of the few west of the Allegheny Mountains. The restored 1850's vintage home will be a Museum/Art Gallery displaying rare artifacts discovered in the archaeological dig.

Mercer County played a significant (and relatively early) role in the growth of the Iron and steel industry of Western Pennsylvania. Of the fifteen 19th century Mercer County iron furnaces very little structural evidence remains. The rare archaeological discoveries being made at Springfield Furnace helps unravel an important chapter in our rugged pioneering history.

Here is a useful and entertaining video, a primer on early iron making in America!  "Steel and America"

The Diggers Part 1 - 2008

iron furnace dig western pa
The Diggers Part 2 - 2008

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