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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution : and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

The great iron works of the United States,   pp. 475-495


Page 478

478       GREAT IRON WORKS IN THE UNITED STATES.
The Phonix Iron Works,
At Phmnixville, Chester county, twenty-seven and a half miles from
Philadelphia, are one o'f the oldest and largest establishments for manu-
facturing iron in the United States. The works originally consisted
of a Rolling-mill and Nail Factory, the power for driving which was
derived from the damming of French Creek, just above the present
foundry, the old site of the Rolling-mill, and date their operations as
far back as May 3, 1783.
In the year 1827, they came into the possession of Reeves and Whit-
aker, and during the period of their ownership a new Rolling-mill was
built on the site of the present North Mill, and puddling introduced as
a process in the manufacture of iron. The old Rolling-mill was pulled
down, and on its site a charcoal furnace was built in 1838, which again,
in 1841, was converted into an Anthracite furnace. This was one of
the earliest of the experimental Anthracite furnaces which marked the
era of the introduction of Anthracite coal as a fuel in the process of
smelting iron. The nail factory of the firm was burned down in 1847,
and on its site was erected one of the extensive machine shops now
belonging to the Phonix Iron Company.
In the year 1846, Reeves, Buck & Co. became proprietors of the
Phwnix Iron Works, and, during their proprietorship, very extensive
improvements were made. They built, in 1846, the present Rail mill,
the dimensions of which are two hundred and sixty feet by one hun-
dred and sixty feet. Also, a new puddling and re-heating mill, one
hundred and eighty-five feet by one hundred and ninety-two feet, with
a wing thirty-two feet by one hundred and thirty feet. Besides these,
they erected new Smith shops, Pattern shops, Foundry, machine shop,
offices, and warehouses. The offices, pattern and drawing rooms of the
company are probably the most complete of any in the country, and
cost, we understand, $26,000. In 1855, the firm of Reeves, Buck &
Co. procured an Act cf the Legislature incorporating them as The
Phmnix Iron Company, and under this name the present extensive
operations of the Works are managed.
During the last four years, the Company have spent a large sum of
money in remodelling and readjusting their Works, and in increasing
their capacity, which, at this time, amounts to twenty thousand tons of
railroad iron and fifteen thousand tons of bar iron, iron beams and gird-
ers, angle iron, wrought-iron columns, rolled railroad chairs and spikes,
axles, and many other shapes. Rounds have been turned out of the
Merchant Mill of twelve inches in diameter, and squares up to eight


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