Scenic USA - Maryland

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of attractions, points of interest, historic sites, state parks and
national parks found throughout the United States. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
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Catoctin's Isabella

Catoctin's Isabella - Maryland iron furnace

Photo by Ben Prepelka

     The cornerstone of the New World's industrial success was the manufacture of raw iron, called pig iron. The final wrought iron products where worked by the local smithy or in rolling and slitting mills. The town of Catoctin, Maryland, grew up around an iron furnace. The first one built in 1773. The vintage 1858 furnace, pictured here, is a second generation model, dubbed Isabella.
     Hundreds of workers were needed for iron production as the blast furnace roared 24 hours a day for months at a time. Miners worked the area's iron ore, limestone and coal mines. Woodcutters cleared huge tracts of timber, used in charcoal production. The charcoal makers could never keep up with demand and imports were needed. Founders operated the furnace, applying a newer method that used coal, rather than charcoal. A local stream provided waterpower for the piston driven blast air bellows, creating temperatures of 3000 degrees. Accountants kept track with financial matters and ran the company store. At the top, the iron master was responsible for overseeing the entire operation. It was his management skills that could make or break the company.



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