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Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works

Digital Iron Furnace Research Library
The 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Links to:
Pennsylvania Furnaces Every Name Index
Cambria County Iron Furnace & Iron Works Index
Indiana County Iron Furnace Index
Pennsylvania Furnaces County Index
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Cited References for Pennsylvania Iron Works & Iron Furnaces

Iron Furnaces of Cambria / Indiana Counties Pennsylvania
Eliza Iron Furnace
(Ritter Furnace),
Blacklick Twp.,
Cambria County &

Buffington Twp.,
Indiana County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Pennsylvania Iron Furnace Sourcebook
Cambria County Iron Furnaces

A Tribute to the Iron Masters and Iron Workers
that built and keep in-blast
the old Stone Blast Furnaces of Pennsylvania.

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Archaeologist, Editor & Web Master,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Advisor.

Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works
A Publication of the 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Updated Dec. 7, 2004

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Eliza Furnace, located on the North Branch of Blacklick Creek near the Forks of the North and South Branches of Blacklick Creek between Rexis and Vintondale, near the Junction of PA SR2013 and PA SR3045, Buffington Township, Indiana County, and Black Lick Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (The County line passes through the furnace stack.)
Date Built: ca. 1845/1846
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1849

Other names Eliza Furnace was known by:
Ritter Furnace;

Ritter & Irvin Furnace;
Ritter & Nevin Furnace;

Ritter & Rodgers Furnace;
Ritter's Lower Furnace;
Ritter's Upper Furnace.

Eliza Furnace & Iron Works
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works

LOCATION: Junction of the north & south Branches of Blacklick Creek, .75mi northwest on PA SR3045, between Rexis, Buffington Twp., Indiana Co. & Vintondale, Blacklick Twp., Cambria Co.  The county line runs thrugh the furnace stack. U.S.G.S. Quad Map: Vintondale (1:24000) UTM: 17 E.676600 N.4483500

Eliza Furnace.
The rear and side of the furnace stack showing bridge connection to the top of the furnace stack and the hot blast heat exchanger on the top of the furnace stack with the down blast tube on the side of the furnace.
(Photo by Jet Lowe, courtesy of the Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record, America's Industrial Heritage Project, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.)
Eliza Furnace ca.1905.
Showing the overgrown furnace stack, along with, what is presumed to be the iron master's house on the hill behind the furnace.
(Photo source unknown.)

Eliza Furnace
(Photo courtesy of "The Dispatch," Blairsville, PA, ca.1996)

Historical Marker at Eliza Furnace

DESCRIPTION:  The Eliza Iron Furnace is located on the Indiana-Cambria county line near Vintondale.  The furnace is a pyramid-shaped structure, made of cut stone and approximately 30 feet high.  The furnace has an interior opening, or bosh, of 9 feet.  The bosh was loaded with iron ore, charcoal and limestone through an opening at the top of the furnace stack which was accessed via a wooden bridge connecting the furnace stack with the nearby hillside.  This bridge no longer exists.

Eliza Furnace is an early example of a "hot-blast" iron furnace.  In both "cold-blast" and "hot blast" furnaces, a blast of air was forced into the furnace by a water-driven bellows.  In this example, hot air was collected at the base of the furnace and carried to the coils or heat-exchanger on top bny a vent pipe.  This hot air was mixed with the cold air from the bellows and recirculated through the furnace.  This method did not work very well.  The coil pipes and vent pipes still remain.

[The above statement on the operation of the hot blast equipment at Eliza Furnace is more than likely in error, as no study of the remaining blast equipment nor archaeological work at the furnace has been done, to date ca.2002.  Also various parts and structures associated with the hot-blast equipment have been removed over the years, with no records showing just what was in place at the time of the furnace operation. (ed.)]

The furnace, having been cleared of brush and debris, is in good condition.  Although the bridge and cast house have long been removed, the furnace possesses god integrity.  Since the furnace is located at the forks of Blaclick Creek, it is conceivably threatened by high floodwaters.
(The above statement courtesy of the Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. America's Industrial Heritage Project, Historica American Building Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.);  (Quin,1993:94)

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

If you have pictures or know of where pictures of the furnace are located or additional information on Eliza Furnace, Cambria Co., please contact the Ironmaster

RETURN to Cambria County Iron Furnace Index

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