Thanks for the reply.
So once war was declared all the production would have stayed
in-country. So you seem to be saying that there was significant
American production available no matter how it was previously accounted
Where was the ore coming from for the iron production in the Chesapeake
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: Falling Creek IW side question
I think that the situation so long as the American colonies were under
British control was that colonists were banned from keeping or selling
locally produced iron; cast iron was just being produced in America, and
it all had to be shipped straight to Britain where it could be taxed and
some of it perhaps sold back to the colonists. This was one of the
points of contention at the time of the Revolution. Of course by then,
colonists were regularly flouting the laws and casting cannons and all
sorts to use against the British Army.
Supposedly by the mid-18th century, the Chesapeake region (Maryland and
Virginia) had been the worlds third biggest iron producer, after Russia
and Sweden, but colonial iron would have counted as "British" production
rather than "American" per se.
The English settlers from Jamestown, who built that blast furnace at
Falling Creek just twelve years after arriving, were presumably being
pushed by the Virginia Company back in London to establish some sort of
profitable industry as soon as possible... they had started out looking
for gold of course, and when that didn't pan out as it were, they
decided to go after the iron ore. Even though work at Falling Creek came
to an abrupt end with the massacre of 1622, iron remained Virginia's
second big 'cash crop', alongside tobacco, up until the late 18th C, and
the blast furnaces were organised according to the plantation system,
just like the tobacco growing, i.e. with slave labour (sadly, slaves
continued to make up the bulk of the workforce in the Virginia iron
industry right up until 1864).
This discussion brings up a side question.
What was the iron production in pre-Revolutionary America? The
question is relative to the Americans ability to provide war needs from
-------------- Original message ----------------------
The precursors of the furnaces are more likely to be Welsh rather
from such counties as Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan and Gwent.
Yours Steve Gray
----- Original Message -----
From: Peter King
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: Falling Creek IW
The precursors of the furnace would inevitably be English. I
cannot think of
evidence from 1620s or earlier, but later English furnaces had
draining water from below the furnace, but I think the foundations
been in stone. However, at that period, timber-framing of buildings
common in England, with lath and plaster between the timbers. It is
possible that other parts of the furnace buildings would be of
timber, not to
mention the waterwheel.
The traditional view is that furnaces went into blast in the autumn
until the early summer. While this was not invariably done in places
water-supply was good enough, it almost certainly has an element of
truth in it.
I would have expected May to be the anticipated end of the first
blast, not its
start. On the other hand, if the furnace was in blast at the time of
massacre, I would expect it still to be (or have been) there and full
This is of course all speculation.
49, Stourbridge Road,
Sent: 23 January 2007 02:47
To: Peter King
Subject: Falling Creek IW
Lyle Browning, the Falling Creek IW archaeologist, has proposed a
possible explanations for the timbers recently discovered at the
much of the equipment at an ironworks (e.g. wheel, bellows, anvil,
rested on substantial timber structures, is there evidence elsewhere
wood foundations for blast furnaces? Or is this more likely to be
part of the
wheel support/foundation or some other part of the water power
system? Or is
there another possibility that hasn't been thought of yet? If
Cathedral could be built on a raft, why not a blast furnace?
James Brothers, RPA