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Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works

Digital Iron Furnace Research Library
The 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
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The Iron Furnaces of Clarion County Pennsylvania
Black Fox Furnace & Iron Works
(Perry Furnace)
Village of West Freedom,
Perry Twp.,
Clarion County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Pennsylvania Iron Furnace Sourcebook
Clarion 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 & 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 Nov. 1, 2002

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Black Fox Furnace & Iron Works:  Located on Black Fox Run, 1mi. north of Allegheny River, near the Village of West Freedom, Perry Twp., Clarion County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca. 1844
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1860

Other names Black Fox Furnace was known by:
Perry Furnace;

Red Fox Furnace

Black Fox Furnace & Iron Works
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
Owners: Lawson & Company (ca.1844)
             Welsh & Company (ca.1844)
              Adams & Varnum Company (ca.1848)
              Vernum & Adams Company
              Jones & Company
              Thompson, Boyd & Company
              Painter & Graff Company (ca.1850)
              Jacob Painter & Company (ca.1850-1860)

Short History of Black Fox Furnace:
Documents Relating to the Manufacture of Iron in Pennsylvania, 1850
A Detailed Statement of all the Charcoal Cold Blast Furnaces in Western Pennsylvania in the year 1850
Published on behalf of the Convention of Iron Masters,
Which met in Philadelphia, on the Twentierth of December, 1849
Philadelphia: Published by the General Committee. 1850
Name of Works date of Sheriff's
sale or failure
in-blast 1849
out-of-blast 1849
date of construction Capacity in Tons
Black Fox Furnace    1849 S       1        1844   1,350 Tons
        Owners  Post Office      Kind of ore used  No. of Men &
Boys Employed
 No. of horses &
mules Employed
Adams & Vernon Company Brady's Bend Argillareous Carbonate       66         40
No. Tuyeres
 Kind of
Power used
Kind of Metal Made  Largest product Actual Product
in 1849
  1 8 feet 6 inches 30 feet Steam Close Gray Iron    950 Tons   950 Tons

                                                                                                           (Iron Masters Association,1850:n.p.)

From "History of Clarion County" 1887.
Black Fox Furnace, 1844, steam hot blast; one mile from Allegheny River on Black Fox Run, Perry township; nine foot bosh, thirty feet high; built by Welsh & Co., subsequently owned by Adams & Varnum (1848), Jones & Co., Joseph M. Thompson, I. M. Boyd and others. They failing in 1850, the furnace was bought at sheriff sale by Jacob Painter and others; Samuel Barr, superintendent. Production, 1845, 1,000 tons; 1856, 2,000 tons. About 1858 the boiler exploded, killing one man and severely injuring several others. The furnace never resumed.

Perry Township  Along in the forties a company began the erection of a furnace in the southern part called Red Fox. This company sold to a Welsh firm, who finished the work and called it Black Fox Furnace. This firm sold out to Vernum & Adams, who became involved, and a disputed title threw the property into the sheriff's hands, who sold it, and it was bought by Painter & Graff. This company made iron here till 1859. In the summer of 1860 William Moore tried to start the furnace to use up some stock he had on hand, but in attempting to get up steam, the boiler exploded, killing two men named William Kortz and Benjamin Kogan. Thus it has been truly said that "Black Fox Furnace blowed out in 1860," at least it blew up. It never made iron after that event. In its best days it made from fifteen to twenty tons of charcoal, or cold blast metal daily. (Davis,1887:118)

Black Fox Furnace.  Located on Black Fox Run, about 1 mile from the Allegheny River in Perry Township.   Height 30 feet, 9 foot bosh.  Built by Welsh & Company. Bought by Adams & Varnum in 1848.  Failed in 1850. Purchased by Jacob Painter,, at Sheriff's sale ca.1850.  Samuel Barr was Superintendent.  Steam, hot blast. Production in 1845 was 1,000 tons; in 1856 was 2,000 tons.  Boiler exploded about 1858, one man killed; several others critically injured. Abandoned following explosion. (Caldwell,1877:   )

From: "A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnace in Western Pennsylvania" 1966.
Black Fox Furnace.  Built in 1844 on Black Fox Run, this was a hot blast charcoal furnace 30 feet high with a 9 foot bosh.  It was powered by steam.  Adams and Vernon were the owners in 1850.

Location:  From Callensburg, Clarion Co., to locate the Black Fox Furnace Site, proceed west from Callensburg on PA Rt.368  approx. 3.5 mi. to West Freedom.  In west Freedom turn right unto PA SR3001, go south on PA SR3001 for 2.4mi.

Black Fox Furnace, Perry Township, Clarion Co.
1872 Map of Perry Township, Clarion, showing the location of Black Fox Furnace and the settlement around the furnace.
(from "Atlas of the County of Lawrence & The State of Pennsylvania,"  Published by G.M.Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, PA, ca.1872)

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

[no pictures are presently available for Black Fox Furnace, Clarion Co., Pa.]
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